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February 23, 2007

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ZUMBOMANIA, PART II: David E. Petzal responds to your comments

As has been pointed out by those of you with long memories, I wrote a piece 13 years ago about the then-looming assault rifle ban. The story was unpopular with a lot of people, but nowhere in it did I endorse the ban, as some are claiming. I note that none of you have seen fit to haul up the many, many times I’ve said critical things about Senators Clinton, Schumer, Feinstein, and of course our beloved former President Bubba. But then it seems that most of you who are visiting here don't read this blog, or Field & Stream, or what I've written to defend the Second Amendment over the years.

Here’s some other relevant information: When I wrote it, black guns were not nearly as important a part of shooting as they are now. We can’t afford to sacrifice them, just as we can’t afford to sacrifice .50-caliber rifles (which I wrote about positively a couple of issues ago in a story called “Way Out There”).

In case you’re wondering, I’ve been using black rifles since 1965, when I hunted woodchucks with one of the very first AR-15s sold commercially by Colt. I’ve worked over many a prairie dog town with one AR variant or another, and if Les Baer were to send me one of his rifles (a heavy barrel flattop in .223, please), I would not send it back. I currently own an M1A. I don’t know if that qualifies or not.

Most important, you shouldn’t construe any of this as an apology. It isn’t. But it is the last thing I’m going to say in this space about the Zumbo matter.


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What exactly is an EBR? I read Arfcom but not that often and don't follow a lot of these terms.


You sir are a disingenuous hypocrite… You supported the 94 ban the facts are on the record you cannot run from that now.

Would someone at Field & Stream please stop Mr. Petzal before he does any more damage to the magazine?

Lemuel Calhoon

Enlighten us oh mighty Elmer. What firearms can we "afford to sacrifice"?


Speak for yourself John. And under no circumstances to I consider all hunters "Fudds". In fact, I never use the term, though I find it mildly amusing. I guess a "Fudd" would be a hunter who is unable to see that ALL gun owners's gun ownership rights are protected by the Second Amendment. A "Fudd" does not understand the importance of the Second Amendment, I doubt they even care, and they most certainly don't see "Scary Black Rifles" being confiscated as a threat to their own right to be able to own their hunting rifles.

Revisionist history, Dave? Your words in support of banning semi-autos are pretty clear, Dave. Maybe you did criticize Feinstein, Schumer, et al, but when it came time to support a gun ban, you goosestepped right in line with Feinstein.


The 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting. It isn't mentioned, it wasn't the intention, period.

Pat in PA

I own black rifles...and I hunt.

We are all in the 2A fight together, what is so hard to understand?

If you aren't with us you are against us. Petzal you are dangerously close to "crossing the Rubicon".

J. Nemeth

EBR = Evil Black Rifle

F&S: What do you do with an editor caught lying again?

Petzal said today "but nowhere in it did I endorse the ban, as some are claiming."

On page 26 of the June 1994 issue Petzal said: [quote]If you are a gun owner who is looking for the middle ground, it is very hard to argue against legislation such as this. Senator Feinstein, it seems, has made every effort to prescribe "assault weapons" and protect "legitimate firearms."[/quote]

"Very hard to argue against" IS an endorsement to anyone who understands politicalspeak (as David surely does).

In 1994 Petzal was spouting HCI's propaganda. Today he's lying about it to save his job. He still doesn't get it.

Are you going to buy the coverup?
I'm not. Neither am I going to buy another copy of F&S off the magazine rack at Barnes and Noble.


EBR = Evil Black Rifle I don't know which anti coined the phrase.

And John the VAST majority of the folks on EBR sites are current, former or retired Mil or LEO. The dressup guys you talk about tend to lurk and STFU. But that's the big difference btwn the EBR guys and the dyed in wool guys. Anybody can come on to one of our forums and say "I'm a colledge student, never served but I like black guns and would like to know more about them. They're welcomed with open arms as long as they obey the rules. You guys think this is a roasting you should see what happens to a poser that comes on to a tactical site trying to talk smack but hasn't done anything to merit an opinion. We take care of our own and protect the 2A way more than anyone else in the community. Some friends of mine needed some help at the last shot show and had 15 guys we never met face to face before show up in orlando from all over the country to work for free. They wouldn't take money! They just wanted a chance to link up w/ their buddies they've been bloggin with.

So like Zumbo and Pretzal I would humbly suggest the best COA when you know not of which you speak is to STFU

Alston I. Rutledge

Dear sirs:

It is quite obvious that we have embarked on a virtual revolution concerning gun ownership in America. The grassroots involvement to protect the Constitution during the past week appears unprecedented in an industry that is typically a tight knit family. Anger, resentment, frustration, pity, misunderstanding and hatred are all feelings that have been displayed throughout the Web, letters and phone calls. Some responses have been well drafted and thoughtful. While others have been more sophmoric in nature.

I appeal to the editors at Time4 to reflect on one question. What has made so many good people so angry? I think you'll find the answer to be...language. And, how that language is used. Language in the form of written expression is powerful because reading produces emotion.

Offensive language is easy to detect. And, when it is coated with a layer of arrogance, it is even more provoking.

What lies at the heart of the debate is a feeling of elitism. "We know what's best for you" seems to be a culturally popular expression these days in American politics. Currently, that is the perceived view of Outdoor Life and Field & Stream by American gun owners.

I can't recall when the last time the pubs issued a reader survey on design and content, but it appears it's overdue.

Magazines, much like other products, sometimes need to go through a makeover. I am not just referring to a redesign of the entire layout but sometimes the philosophy of the magazine needs some fine tuning. It appears that the magazines in question have lost touch with many readers despite their rather high circulation numbers. This is disheartning because F&S and OL are American icons.

I urge both Todd Smith and Sid Evans to post letters on the main pages of their respective Web sites, appealing to all, that they will look into how to improve their pubs.

Gents...please lay it out for us, and we that are dismayed will in time resubscribe with vigor and optimism creating even higher circ numbers for you.

I hope you find my advice helpful. And, I thank you for your kind consideration.

Best regards,
A. I. Rutledge

Jamie Rullestad

"If Sarah Brady is smart...she will comb through the same blogs and chatrooms I’ve been reading, ..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."

Feeling a little Holy, Mr. Zum...I mean Petzal?

This type of arrogance is what turned me away from F&S long ago.

Petzal logic

Petzal, you were the original Zumbo that tried to split up gunowners in 1994. You're even quoted in the media:


To wit:

But apart from mismanagement, much of the criticism also has to do with the NRA's ardent defense of the Second Amendment. On this point, the gun-owning community that the NRA claims to represent is now split wide open. And some hunters, a potentially large group, believe that it's time the NRA returned to its sporting purpose -- promoting marksmanship, collecting, and other forms of gun-related recreation.

David E. Petzal, for one, thinks the present radicalization of the NRA is hurting the interests of gun owners. Petzal, who has given thousands of dollars to the NRA, writes the "Endangered Tradition" column in Field and Stream, another centenarian institution, many of whose 2 million readers are also in the NRA. This June, the magazine made a landmark decision to break with the NRA. "it took tremendous courage," says executive editor Petzal.

"The bugle call known as reveille is a cheerful, energetic tune that, when I was in the Army, few soldiers actually got to hear," he writes in an editorial. "Real-world reveille came for gun owners this February," in the form of the assault weapons ban. Petzall like the NRA, believes that this legislation is too broad. This is partly because it would ban weapons like "the AR-15/M-16, and the MIA in modified [semiautomatic] form, which are highly accurate, and have a legitimate place in organized target competition."

Luke Sheppard

Wow...maybe they should hire A.I. Rutledge! That's the best thing I've read over the past 3 days. He, I assume that Alston is a man's name, has hit the nail on the head. Let's see if they take his advice.



We could care less what you shoot.
It's your support we care about.

I appreciate your public statement that we cannot afford to lose the right to own military rifles or 50BMGs.

Still, a little honesty would be nice.


The moment is upon us to purge our ranks of the Quislings. Either you support the Second Amendment as our Founders intended, or you do not. As the TRUE supporters of the Second Amendment have demonstrated this week, there will no longer be appeasement and compromise on this front. Those of you only concerned about your ‘hunting’ rifles can either join with us to promote and support the Right to Keep and Bear Arms for all, or step aside. But understand this, your numbers are dwindling, while ours continue to grow. We will fight for your privilege to hunt, as we always have, but we expect our efforts to be reciprocated. If the ‘hunters’ will not join with us now, don’t expect us to expend energy supporting your privilege in the future.


He voted for it before he voted against it.

Yuri Orlov

EBR = Evil Black Rifle

...and now you know, the rest of the story!

Ryan N Van

Mr. Petzal,

I would respect you a lot more if you would just be honest instead of trying to make a bunch of BS up about what you meant. What you meant was printed and is widely available in print. I nor anyone else made up your words , you did.
The fact is no one respects a liar or somone that waffles on thier position. No one is going to like you any more for anti gun position if you were to just go head and be up front like you have been in the past , but they would respect you for it in the end. Your trying to CYA now and it ain't gonna work. The shooting community is going to ensure that you do not get away clean like you did in 1994. This is a different time as you are well aware. Your 15 minutes are here and very soon they will be over.Enjoy the ride cause it will be a fastone. To the editors of F&S allowing this man to continue writing for you is a serious mistake.

Daniel D.

I'm not a hunter. After hearing the Fudds come out of the woodwork the past few days. Do you think I'm more or less likely to take action against proposed legislation in my state, to ban lead ammo for big game hunting use?


We clearly don't need another "friend of the hunters in the mold of Zumbo" like Petzal. When the s starts hitting the fan, its clear the man will jump to the other side in a New York Minute, like he did in 1994. The man has no virtues or credibility whatsoever.


John, John, John. Who cares how civilians dress? Does it matter if they wear Pendleton plaid or military surplus? Would you have them all wearing pink T shirts and denims to go shoot? Sure, the tacticools are silly, but so what? Your feelings on the matter smack of elitism, different from the fudds but elitism just the same. As a group, we'd best stay as far away from the concept as possible.
Don't forget: Hang together or hand separately. Something you should've been remembering, Dave, you simpering fence-sitter.



David E. Petzal, for one, thinks the present radicalization of the NRA is hurting the interests of gun owners...

This June, the magazine made a landmark decision to break with the NRA. "it took tremendous courage," says executive editor Petzal.

"The bugle call known as reveille is a cheerful, energetic tune that, when I was in the Army, few soldiers actually got to hear," he writes in an editorial. "Real-world reveille came for gun owners this February," in the form of the assault weapons ban.

"Gun owners -- all gun owners -- pay a heavy price for having to defend the availability of these weapons," writes Petzal. "The American public -- and the gun-owning public; especially the gun-owning public -- would be better off without the hardcore military arms, which puts the average sportsman in a real dilemma"

Petzal concludes by advocating compromise, something that Knox and other members of his regime say they will never accept.


Quote: "Most important, you shouldn’t construe any of this as an apology. It isn’t."

Rather patronizing of you Mr Petzal.

Qoute "But it is the last thing I’m going to say in this space about the Zumbo matter."

That, Sir, is the smartest thing you've said in the last two days!

Ryan N Van

David ;

You did not write the paragraph below in an article in 1994 ???? Strange that I happen to that issue in my library. Hmm I guess that must have been the evil writing fairies making up articles and using your by line. Boy O Boy if that is an example of your being a friend to the gun owner I would hate to see you being an enemy.

David Petzal Said in 1994 :

"For at some point we must face the fact that an Uzi or an AKM or an Ak-47 should no more be generally available than a Claymore mine or a block of C4 explosive. It is time for these guns to be limited to people with Treasury Department licenses, just as with fully automatic arms. I doubt if anyone would suffer much without assault weapons. Surely, we will suffer with them."

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