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February 22, 2007

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ZUMBOMANIA: David E. Petzal’s take on the Jim Zumbo fiasco

In case you just emerged from a coma and have not heard, the shooting world is agog over a blog posted by Jim Zumbo, former contributing editor at Outdoor Life, over the weekend of February 17. In it, Jim stated that any semiauto rifle with an AR or AK prefix was a terrorist rifle, had no place in hunting, and should be outlawed for that purpose. Then, courtesy of the Internet and all its blogs and chatrooms, the roof fell in.

The speed with which Zumbomania spread, the number of comments it drew, and the rabid nature of same were a revelation. Overnight, this thing became as big as Janet Jackson’s clothing failure or—dare I say it?—Britney Spears’ shaved head. Jim Zumbo is now as employable as the Unabomber, and Sarah Brady will no doubt adopt his comments to her own gun-control purposes.

For the last several days I’ve been visiting all manner of blogs and chatrooms, which has reminded me of when I used to deliver used clothing to the local mental hospital. I’ve tried to make some sense of it all, but because the waters are still full of blood and body parts continue to rain from the sky, I haven’t come up with any Great Truths. Lacking that, here are some Lesser Truths.

What Jim said was ill-considered. He’s entitled to his beliefs, but when a writer of his stature comes out against black guns, it sure as hell does not help our cause.

Even so, Jim made an immediate apology. He did not equivocate, or qualify, or make excuses. He acted like a gentleman and said he was wrong, and he was sorry. Apparently this is not enough anymore. We now live in the era of one strike and you're out.

For 40 years, Jim has been a spokesman and ambassador of good will for hunting. Through his tireless efforts as a teacher and lecturer on hunting and hunting skills, he has done more for the sport than any 250 of the yahoos who called for his blood.

Jim has paid dearly for what he said. He has lost his blog and his association with Remington. Cabela’s has suspended its sponsorship of his TV show; and Outdoor Life has accepted his offer to sever ties. To all the chatroom heroes who made him unemployable, I have a word of warning: You’ve been swinging a two-edged sword. A United States in which someone can be ruined for voicing an unpopular opinion is a dangerous place. Today it was Jim’s turn. Tomorrow it may be yours.

If Sarah Brady is smart—and she is very smart—she will comb through the same blogs and chatrooms I’ve been reading, excerpt some of the most vicious and foul-mouthed entries, print them up, and distribute them to Congress. Then it will be interesting to see how the men and women who wrote that stuff enjoy seeing their efforts being put to use by every anti-gunner in America.

Stay tuned.

Editor's Note: Read Dave's response to your comments here


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Bye, Zumbo. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. And Petzal...it doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind's blowing.

You Fudds are unbelievable.


Well, you'll just have to forgive all us EBR owners for being a tad upset with being equated with terrorists by one of our own.

That wasn't a mistake. It was pure ignorance in action. He got what he deserved.

Dave from Iowa

Wow, so folks in a mental hospital are fodder for your commentary? Not surprising that you were in laundry delivery. Those of us in the medical profession have a little more respect for clients. Of course as a journalist, throw away comments are de rigeur.

As for Mr. Zumbo, check out a few of the anti-gun sites who have embraced his ill-chosen commentary, "even Remington's top writer thinks black rifles should be banned".

In the next paragraph, they go after your scoped bolt actions, Mr. Petzal. Or should I say, Mr. Fudd.

Looks like you are wanting to lose your job as well.

Are you saying that "us" gun owners are mental patients? Nice.

We all know what you said about assault weapons back before the 94 ban. You thought you might feed us to the wolves in the vain atempt to save your "bolt" guns.

Shame on you, YOU don't get it either.

Zumbo ATTACKED US and doesn't get that the 2nd Amendment isn't about "hunting" Rights.

Seems you don't get it either.

Keep pushing it ______ and you will go down just as fast as Zumbo.

A Reader

"Even if the comments stated his beliefs truly, shouldn't he have the right to express HIS OPINIONS?"

Please show me anyone saying that he doesn't have the right. You can't.

Unfortunately, what too many people seem to have forgotten in their zeal for the 1st Amendment is that no one has the right to be HEARD nor to have what they say be met with only agreement.

He opened his mouth and went far beyond a simple "error". FAR beyond. No, he is facing the consequences of his actions. Imagine that; being held accountable! SHOCKING, I tell you!


Oh, and one more thing.

Petzal, don't think that after they pick us off, your blue steel and walnut beauties aren't next on the list. You may disapprove of us, but we AR shooters are the canary in your coal mine. When we die, you're about to.

We hang together or we will all hang separately. Would that you Huntin' Fudds all understood that.


Here goes the devisive nasty talk starting to show up again. The name calling (Mr.Fudd), the rants about the second amendment, the how the ar crowd will take down the hunting crowd if they don't get their way. This is what will cause the end of the second amendment and hunting, this fighting amongst each other. Zumbo's gone, an old man who voiced an opinion in a way that wasn't very smart, but it was his opinion. His sponsors have turned tail and ran like the cowards they are. His employers threw him under the bus. And still we all fight amongst ourselves. The liberals don't need to kill gun ownership, we're doing it ourselves.

Eric Austin

Seriously, you guys need to just stick to talking about hunting because you seem to be completely ignorant about the second ammendment and firearms in general.

Please tell us about JZ's 2A activism. I would not be suprised to find that he, much like you think it has something to do with securing your right to get paid big bucks to travel the country getting special treatment to hunt big game that the rest of us have to pray we get drawn for. And that just like you he supported the "94" assualt weapons ban (which I know you did) in order to make sure your fancy hunting sticks were safe.

We are tired of the elitist Sportsmen mentality that claim's they for 2A but have no idea what 2A is. John Kerry was one of you and he would gladly sign the newest incarnetion of an AWB if given a chance.

We don't want you speaking for us any more, you are not gun activists, you are not 2A supporters, you are hunters. Stay in your lane and you won't get bumped around.

Bartholomew Roberts

I find it odd that those here who think Jim Zumbo is entitled to his opinion are upset at those who are merely expressing their opinion. I didn't imply Mr. Zumbo was a "terrorist" either in public or private. I certainly didn't publish it to my widely read blog. Why is it that he is merely "expressing an opinion" and I am "squashing his freedom of speech" when I take offense at the slur?

You would think such an "inordinately nice" guy might give better consideration to his words before he publishes them for a worldwide audience. I guess that is a lesson that both his critics and Mr. Zumbo can take from this whole debacle.

I can see why Mr. Petzal is concerned though given his past support for banning firearms based on how they look.

Dave from Iowa

Just an off-comment (since Petzal can toss them around, we might as well also)

It's pretty common these days in media for people to take a hot button subject, and throw out a few incendiary comments. Shock jocks and the like are well-known for it. It breeds controversy, but more importantly, it creates a buzz, and anyone in the business knows there is no such thing as bad advertising.

In other words, it is media's equivalent of being a message board troll. Say something to inflame, then sit back and watch the fireworks. Of course in the case of editors, it's sit back and watch the website traffic. Anything to drive people to your site.

Journalism? Nope. Marketing & Advertising.

I suspect this particular column will generate more traffic than the rest of Mr. Petzal's put together. One supposes that's what Field & Stream pays him for.
So well done Dave, you got people to post to your blog. You may wish to change the title of your column from "gun nut" to "elitist troll" or something more germane. Now run along and cut a deal with the Brady's, oh great journalist cum Chamberlain.


When I heard the news about an outdoor writer being fired for attacking tactical rifles I remembered your Blog titled "Land of the Black Rifle." Imagine my surprise when I found out it was Jim Zumbo. I guess the only difference between you and Jim is that you still have your job - for now anyway...

(Nice 180 save with "Zumbomania")


The Second Amendment IS NOT about hunting..GET IT???
As for Jim'd apology..IT WASN'T.
He's sorry he got caught, not for what he said.

Oblivious Neutron Bomb

So Zumbo equates us with terrorists,so you equate us with mental patients....very nice indeed!

And all this from a man who cheerleaded the last "assault weapons" ban! I have some news for you Mr.Snooty, they want your evil "scoped sniper rifles" too, and they are going to get them with your help.

Lists of your sponsors are already going up on those same insane asylum web boards right now for action by their members.

Have a nice day, twatwaffle.


Zumbo called myself and every other AR15 owner terrorist, plain and simple.

That is why he is now un employed.

Bin Laden is a terrorest and I dont care much for Zumbo or anyone else tossing me in with the likes of bin laden.

I will be contacting F&S as I did OL and cancel my subscription.

You go ahead Petzal and bow the knee to brady, hillery and the like in the vain hope of saving your "bolt action deer rifles". Alot of good it will do you.

I suggest you go and read once more the 2nd amendment to the constitution, no where in it is the word "hunting" to be found.


The kings think they are untouchable.

David E.(Every gun but mine) Petzal.

supported the 94 ban, he threw 2A under the bus because his classic hunting arm was safe.

This man feel he can quantify another Fudd (Zumbo) as a 2A warrior?


We don't need your kind. You are no help to us, and in fact an albatros around our necks.

We have not forgoten that you backed the first AWB.

Do you back this one as well. If you do not see the error of Mr. Z's ways, you may be soon to follow. What he said was wrong. He paid for it.

I think you may well be starting a similar storm.


The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with your precious fudd guns or your hunting. It pertains to protecting us from an opressive government.

Your antiquated bolt and lever rifles (though I own them too) are not protected by the 2nd as they serve "no legitimate milita purpose" as stated by the supreme court in the 30s.

You and your sponsors, and every enemy to our bill of rights, are next.

Jay in Oh

Nice read to see anti black gun consistency



Wow Dave,

Seems like the blog world has brought the best of people. It also seems like the regulars in this room are out numbed today. Where were they on the Hillary rant? Isn’t she more dangerous than Jim Zumbo?

I think most people know the hunting community has different echelons of class and education and this argument will never end. When “waging war on prairie dogs” some people like a good ole’ Stolle action……..and some want an assault rifle. Each person goes the range with whatever they want.

It seems like the majority of people commenting here (today) are ignorant. See you next week when we get back to talking about booth babes, hunts and great guns (not necessarily in that order).

"We are tired of the elitist Sportsmen mentality that claim's they for 2A but have no idea what 2A is. John Kerry was one of you and he would gladly sign the newest incarnetion of an AWB if given a chance.

We don't want you speaking for us any more, you are not gun activists, you are not 2A supporters, you are hunters. Stay in your lane and you won't get bumped around."


Mr. Petzal, you seem to have not learned much since the last time you tried to sell your fellow firearm owners down the river.

I wonder what you truly think if your post on this blog is a toned down versaion of your beliefs.

I would like to point out that there was a poster on this blog stating thet the AR15 platform is not accurate as "the chamber is too big"
You sir know nothing of gunsmithing nor are you doing any justice when you dispel lies or untrue statements.

The AR15 DOMINATES the Camp Perry 1000yard matches, it is possibly the most inherently accurate firearm ever produced.

The AR15 comes in so many chamberings it would simply make your head spin.

Please learn the truth and quit dispensing lies.

Mr. Petzal you sir are on thin ice and can suffer the same fate as Mr. Zumbo, hey you may not like that fact, but ponder that thought as you lie there at night sleepless.


What a sad commentary for this country, when somone can't offer a differing opinion. Those that disagreed with Jim Zumbo go climb in your made elsewhere vehicles, and tow your made elsewhere four-wheelers, and don't forget to take your made elsewhere semi-auto's, and then spend your day in the woods, never getting your fat, lazy behinds off your four-wheelers for the entire hunt and continue to think, I just can't believe what this country is coming to. Jim Zumbo spent the better part of his life hunting, shooting, and defending both, how many of us can say the same? Jim, your welcome at my house anytime, and by the way, I agree with you, semi-auto's have no place in the hunting woods, whether they are referred to as Assault rifles or not.

Posted by: Mike | February 22, 2007 at 06:38 PM

HEY MIKE! What about Remingtons 740/7400/750? Those are all SEMIAUTO rifles. They happen to have 5 rd mags and wood stocks instead of synthetic. Oh wait! They are available with synthetic stocks, does that and being semiauto makes them "terrorist rifles"? I guess you only use NEF, TC Contenders or 5 shot bolt actions?

Do you make it a habit of throwing babes off the sled to hold off the wolves?


I guess the beers are starting to take hold.

Anyone have a link to the text of Dave's article supporting the AWB?


Well, well, another "Fudd" that does not get Gun Control..are you really that stupid to think that once they get AR's and the other "Black rifles" that they will not come for your hunting guns?

If you think that, then you are no better than Zumbo...

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