Another interesting and rational discussion and analysis by Tom Gresham on the firestorm started by Jim Zumbo’s comments.
Archive for February, 2007
The Jim Zumbo kafuffle has been interesting to follow. For anyone not involved with firearm politics, Zumbo, the hunting editor for Outdoor Life magazine made a statement on his Outdoor Life blog that military style semi-auto rifles – black guns or ARs as some like to call them – should not be used for hunting. If he had stopped there he probably would have taken flack but survived. There would have been lots of commentary pro and con, but he wouldn’t have been permanently damaged. But then he made a cardinal error. He called these firearms “terrorist guns”. Much stuff hit the fan.
In the U.S. as in Canada these guns have been demonized by anti-gunners, politicians and the press and owners and gun rights proponents are rightfully paranoid about any attacks on their legitimacy. In Canada, through legislation, many specific makes and models have been classed as “prohibited” and are unavailable for purchase by most licensed gun owners. In the U.S. the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, was removed from legislation as recently as 2004 through a sunset clause. Thus to have a respected and prominent outdoor writer – someone the firearms community considered a friend and supporter – come out publicly and call them terrorist guns, was in their eyes tantamount to complete and total betrayal.
Although it’s hard to believe, Zumbo didn’t seem to understand the politics of the issue nor did he seem to know that there are countless shooters in the U.S. who shoot these guns, in competition, for hunting and just for the sheer fun of it, and that they are passionate about their right to own these guns.
For those interested in the story, The Shooting Wire has a good a review of how it has all played out to date.
Needless to say, Zumbo has been destroyed by the firestorm that arose in the wake of his comments.
The interesting aspect of this nuclear explosion has been the sense of betrayal being shown by the AR owners and shooters. That’s probably because they are most aware of the fact that if the ‘gun-banners’ ever get into power, their guns will be the first to go. They believe strongly in
Benjamin Franklin’s statement: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately.” Unfortunately for the gun rights cause, whether in Canada or the U.S. that truism isn’t that obvious to all gun owners.
We see it everywhere. Longbow aficionados look down on the compound bow users and they both disavow the crossbow shooter to the point where in many places it is illegal to use a crossbow in a bowhunting season.
But mostly you see it within the firearms community. In Britain the side-by-side and over/under shotgun owners were willing to sell out those who shot with pump guns or self-loaders. Rifle shooters are often all too willing to turn a blind eye to increased legislation against handgun ownership. Even while the emails rolled in skewering Zumbo, there were comments that ARs shouldn’t be used for hunting and that the writer wouldn’t hunt with someone using an AR. So you can figure that if push came to shove there are those amongst us who would sleep with the enemy if they thought it might save their personal shooting style.
And that’s why Zumbo got torched. He gave those AR owners a glimpse of their possible future.
It’s hard to believe that gun owners in general, who are under attack from all directions, can’t understand Mr. Franklin’s statement of fact. If we let them isolate us into separate groups, they will pick us off one by one.
Spent this past Tuesday in the provincial government budget lock-up in Victoria. I was mostly looking at what was being planned and budgeted in the Ministry of Environment and particularly the Wildlife Branch.
Nothing too exciting. The overall Ministry budget increased by about 9.7%, but the Environmental Stewardship branch, which houses the Wildlife section only increased by 7.7 % while specifically the Wildlife section eked out a budget increase of a mere 1.1%.
Although there was lip service within the budget documents about the value of our wildlife and fisheries resources and a statement that their intent was to increase the number of hunters and anglers by 2014 and that they were going to revise the Wildlife Act, there was no money allocated specifically for wildlife inventory work, nor would I think within that enormous 1.1% budget increase for the Wildlife section any money for staff to spend the time re-writing legislation. Once again the Wildlife section gets in the ear.
On top of that, the Compliance section (read Conservation Officer Service) only got a 1.5% increase.
Just curious as to how they intend to allocate the wildlife resource to all of these new hunters and anglers that they intend to put into the system without doing inventory work to find out just what’s out there.
Politics is a wonderful game. You don’t have to really do anything. You just have to sound like you might do something.
Of course the big banana clips used in the video are illegal in Canada. Clips for rifles in Canada are limited to 5 rounds.
The stock conversion on the Ruger Mini-14 was quite dramatic. It shows just how shallow the media reporting is.
The Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building has been postponed due to inclement weather. The hearing is entitled “Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?”
The Federal Liberals have withdrawn Resolution #42 passed at their Leadership convention in early December, admitting that the resolution was factually incorrect. The resolution read as follows:
WHEREAS automatic and semi-automatic weapons are illegal for hunting purposes; and
WHEREAS automatic and semi-automatic weapons do not support the hunting culture found in all parts of Canada;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to support legislation to eliminate the personal use of automatic and semi-automatic weapons.
National Women’s Liberal Commission
Liberal Party of Nova Scotia
Although this was pointed out to them prior to their convention, it wasn’t until pressure was applied by a number of shooting and outdoors organizations across Canada, along with the assistance of a couple of Liberal MPs, that the resolution was rescinded.
Although this was hailed as a victory, it ignored the fact that Resolution #47 was also passed at the convention, which said in part:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada take the necessary steps:
1. to counter the efforts by the Conservative government to end or reduce the scope of the current gun registry that was enacted by parliament several years ago;
2. to review the classification of guns so that semi-automatic weapons be classified as an illegal weapons; and
3. to enact more severe laws to better control the possession and use of guns.
The withdrawal of Resolution #42 means nothing as the intent of the Federal Liberals is still plain in #47. They not only want a ban on self-loading firearms, they want to make the firearms laws even more stringent. You can’t be any plainer than that.
This is what it comes down to. If you think that by convincing the Liberal Party to rescind Resolution #42 we have scored any kind of a victory, you should give your head several severe shakes and get a firm grip on reality.
Last night I caught the last part of Boston Legal and one of the lawyers was summing up his case to the jury on an environmental issue. One of the points he made to drive home his argument was that Polar bears are heading to extinction.
Whoa! It must be true if it’s on Boston Legal.
But not according to key researchers in the Arctic. Researcher Dr. Mitchell Taylor says:
One polar bear population (western
Hudson Bay ) has declined since the 1980s and the reproductive success of females in that area seems to have decreased. We are not certain why, but it appears that ecological conditions in the mid-1980s were exceptionally good.Climate change is having an effect on the west
Hudson population of polar bears, but really, there is no need to panic. Of the 13 populations of polar bears in
Canada , 11 are stable or increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present.
It is noteworthy that the neighbouring population of southern Hudson Bay does not appear to have declined, and another southern population (
Davis Strait ) may actually be over-abundant.
I understand that people who do not live in the north generally have difficulty grasping the concept of too many polar bears in an area. People who live here have a pretty good grasp of what that is like to have too many polar bears around.This complexity is why so many people find the truth less entertaining than a good story. It is entirely appropriate to be concerned about climate change, but it is just silly to predict the demise of polar bears in 25 years based on media-assisted hysteria.
But everywhere you turn now you hear that Polar bears are a goner.
Where has this environmental ‘truth’ come from? Well, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal (subscribers only, but copied in part here) it comes from a single source.
It also turns out that most of the alarm over the polar bear’s future stems from a single, peer-reviewed study, which found that the bear population had declined by some 250, or 25%, in Western Hudson Bay in the last decade. But the polar bear’s range is far more extensive than
Hudson Bay. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain concluded that the ice bear populations “may now
be near historic highs.” One of the leading experts on the polar bear, Mitchell Taylor, the manager of wildlife resources for the Nunavut territory in Canada, has found that the Canadian polar bear population has actually increased by 25% — to 15,000 from 12,000 over the past decade.
This “comprehensive study” was then used to sue the US government to list the Polar bear as endangered, which would then force them to deal with global warming.
All of which suggests that the real story here is a human one, namely about the politics of global warming. Once a plant or animal is listed under the Endangered Species Act, the government must also come up with an elaborate plan to protect its habitat. If the polar bear is endangered by warmer temperatures, then the environmentalist demand will be that the government do something to address that climate
change. Faster than you can say Al Gore, this would lead to lawsuits and cries in Congress demanding federal mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Think we’re exaggerating? No sooner had Mr. Kempthorne announced his study than Kassie Siegel of something called the Center for Biological Diversity told the New York Times that “even this Administration” would not be able to “write this proposal without acknowledging that the primary threat to polar bears is global warming and without acknowledging the science of global warming.” Her outfit was one of those who had sued the feds in the first place over the polar bears, notwithstanding its location in the frozen tundra of Arizona. But no matter. For want of a few hundred polar bears, the entire U.S. economy could be vulnerable to judicial dictation.
So the limited study from the Western Arctic was used as a lever to force the US government to deal with global warming and the Polar bears were just a tool to obtain that goal.
In the meantime the world believes that Polar bears are rapidly disappearing from our world. No wonder it’s so easy to become cynical about scientific pronouncements and environmental calls to save the world.
It appears that the IPCC report on global warming has not chased off the contrarians.
Rarely mentioned is the global warming threat is not anchored in scientific fact or research, it is a hypothesis, a theory, that has yet to be proven.
Yet unlike most scientific theories, it is politically incorrect (and in cases politically prohibited) to question its validity or demand deeper research.