Zumbo ‘Proud’ of Gun Owners, Vows to Lead Charge for Right
by Dave Workman
“I’m an idiot. I’m ignorant. My words obviously have come back to destroy my career.”
Thus was the observation of outdoor legend Jim Zumbo, who told Gun Week in an exclusive interview that he harbors no ill feelings toward the legions of angry gun owners whose backlash has possibly cost him his livelihood, and perhaps his reputation.
“I did it to myself,” he said. “I have nobody to blame.”
But in a candid conversation from his home in Wyoming, Zumbo said that the most important lesson he learned—and that he hopes will translate into action in defense of the Second Amendment in this country—is that “When the gun community acts and decides to take on an issue, this is proof positive they can make it work. I am proud of them.”
Stunning words from a man whose 42-year career came to a crashing halt within days of his ill-advised remarks against AR-15 rifles on an Outdoor Life Internet blog. Zumbo said his assignment was to write three of those columns each week, and on Feb. 16 when he came back from a long, grueling coyote hunt and had a spirited discussion about semi-auto rifles with the guide, he sat down and wondered, “What can I write for these guys? What the hell is controversial?”
He found out the hard way.
“They got me,” he said. “I used the word ‘ban’ which I should never have used, and I used the word ‘terrorist’ which I should never have used.”
He has publicly apologized on Ted Nugent’s Internet forum, and he offered the same apology to Gun Week and its readers. The experience has humbled him.
But the disaster to his career has not made Zumbo want to run and hide, though many of his critics say he should. Instead, Zumbo is going to use this experience to become what he hopes will be the worst nightmare that gun-grabbing politicians and gun control activists could imagine.
“I want to join the fight, do whatever it takes,” he said in earnest. “Let’s educate the other dumb people like me who didn’t know about AR-15s. I will lead that charge.
“I’m stupid,” he added, admitting that he has never had what some people might call a “fascination” with firearms. “From my ignorance, let’s enlighten everyone else.”
Zumbo said he could have retired a year ago, and he could do likewise today, but in his heart, he feels a responsibility to square himself, and use his energies to unite the hunting and shooting fraternities, which do not always see eye-to-eye, even in this controversy.
“I want to come out of this and make our gun and hunting community a better place, a more understanding place,” he said. “Within our community, some hunters don’t understand shooters, and some shooters don’t understand hunters…I have got to fix this.”