The NRA’s jack-booted thugs

I’m a longtime gun-owner, a lifelong hunter and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment that protects the right of Americans to own and bear arms.

I also was, until recently, a member of the National Rifle Association. I turned in my membership card after the midterm elections because of the organization’s unabashed support of crooked Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) and racist Senator George Allen (R-VA).

Fortunately, both DeLay and Allen are gone from the halls of Congress. DeLay quit amid his mounting ethical problems and investigations into his criminal behavior. Allen lost his re-election bid to Jim Webb, also an NRA member.

NRA’s support of both men showed me the organization cared more about protecting elected officials they had in the bag than about morality, ethics or doing the right thing.

So I quit – tossing out back issues of American Rifleman, scraping the NRA decal off the windshield of my Jeep and sending my membership card back in the mail with a two-page letter explaining my reasons for quitting.

No one at NRA responded. I didn’t expect them do. I’ve known Wayne LaPierre, the head honcho at NRA, for more than 20 years. His arrogance exemplifies the NRA and its attitude towards anyone who disagrees with their lockstep mentality.

I also know Jim Zumbo, a gregarious outdoorsman who wrote for Outdoor Life magazine and hosted a popular show on the Outdoor Channel. Zumbo is both a straight shooter and a straight talker who says what he thinks – an admirable trait in most circles but not in the blinders-driven world of the NRA and gun fanatics.

On Feb. 16, Zumbo wrote on his blog on the Outdoor Life Web Site that he didn’t see any reason for hunters to need assault weapons.

“Excuse me, maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity,” Zumbo said. “As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles.”

Zumbo put into words what many hunters, me included, believe. I own enough weapons to start a small war but my collection does not include an assault weapon nor will one ever find a place in my gun safe. I don’t need an AR-15 to hunt deer, squirrel, quail or turkey in the mountains around my home. No real hunter has a legitimate need for such weaponry. While I’m sure many owners of assault-style weapons are law-abiding gun enthusiasts like myself and Jim Zumbo, too many of the clowns I’ve seen waving assault-style weapons around are para-military wannabes — just like the ones who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killed innocent men, women and children.

Zumbo didn’t advocate banning the weapons. He simply said real hunters don’t have any need for one and suggested states not allow them to be used for hunting. But that didn’t stop the NRA and its members from coming down on him with guns blazing. Assault gun owners, and the companies that make them, demanded Zumbo be fired from Outdoor Life and the Outdoor Channel. The cable channel suspended his show, he resigned from Outdoor Life after 6,000 readers sent in email demanding he be fired and Remington Arms Company, which makes assault rifles, severed its sponsorship of his program and activities.

The NRA cited Zumbo as a warning to anyone – including “fellow gun owners” – that opposing them publicly can be dangerous. LaPierre, in typical arrogant fashion, warned Congress to “take note” of what happened to Zumbo as an example of the consequences of crossing the gun lobby.

If I had not sent in my membership card after the NRA’s disgraceful performance during the November midterm elections, it would be in the mail now as a protest and expression of disgust over the treatment of Jim Zumbo.

The overreaction by the gun community has forced Zumbo to step back from his principles and try to salvage his livelihood. He apologized for his remarks and has offered to go hunting with an assault weapon – a capitulation I find disturbing but not surprising given a need to make a living.

I doubt Zumbo’s retrenchment will work. The gun lobby doesn’t forgive and it doesn’t forget. During the Clinton years, LaPierre criticized the Justice Department of then Attorney General Janet Reno and called federal agents “jack-booted thugs.”

The tactics utilized by the NRA and the gun owners who refuse to even consider a second opinion from one of their own show jack boot thuggery is not limited to the U.S. Department of Justice. Where I come from that’s known as the pot calling the kettle black.

(Revised at 6:00 p.m. EST)


  1. HMFC:

    I have written many times that William Jefferson belongs in jail. As for Allen, I personally heard him use racial epithets on two occasions and wrote about it. I’ll never cut a racist a break and backing an incumbent didn’t work in Allen’s case. So much any legislative acumen by the NRA.


  2. Jim

    Doug, I’ll defer to hmfc as I’m not up on the details; I was just going to say they’d endorse A over B if A has a significantly better chance of winning. (As incumbants do.)


  3. Greg Donovan

    ” Roy Murtishaw Says: Doug,

    It’s amazing it took you so long to take yourself off the ventilator and begin to breathe free. When the pathetic NRA bullies continue to believe their assault weapons, Hummers,

    camouflage costumes, and insufferable arrogance will somehow provide them with a functioning penis and necessary gonadal accessories, we’ll have to continue to tolerate their NRA card carrying status.”

    So Doug, this is the kind of people you are standing up for?

  4. Doug, echoing the other “gun nuts” here. The NRA was very slow to jump on Zumbo. What Zumbo did was undermine other gun owners that didn’t fit his version of gun ownership. It is similar to a Formula One driver saying Stock Cars are hick vehicles that have no purpose.

    And again, the 2nd Amendment does not protect hunting at all.

  5. Dustin Nemati

    Well, considering your first sentence states that the Second Amendment “grants” something, I didn’t bother to read the rest. Perhaps you should read up on Locke, the Declaration of Independence, the WORDING of the Second Amendment, and the Federalist Papers and then get back to us.

  6. Roy Murtishaw


    It’s amazing it took you so long to take yourself off the ventilator and begin to breathe free. When the pathetic NRA bullies continue to believe their assault weapons, Hummers,

    camouflage costumes, and insufferable arrogance will somehow provide them with a functioning penis and necessary gonadal accessories, we’ll have to continue to tolerate their NRA card carrying status.

  7. Kent Shaw


    I have two Glocks, a Remington 870, and a Bushmaster M4A3 but guess what? The government has me outgunned if it comes down to “defending myself against tyranny.” It has us all outgunned. Anyone want a great deal on a never-fired Bushmaster?


  8. John Robich

    Doug – Thanks for showing your true colors as “staunch supporter” of the 2nd. Obviously your thesaurus was working when you spell checked.

  9. Stryker


    I am a gun owner but not a hunter. I enjoy target shooting, yet I fully support your right to hunt. I could bemoan the deadly terrorist high powered sniper rifles that you use to kill game needlessly, when you could go to a grocery store to buy meat.

    The point is that all gun owners must support one anothers right to keep and bear arms, regardless of the personal activities conducted with them (legal, of course). Sacrificing one gun owning demographic to gun bans will only lead to the banning of all guns.

    First they came for the machineguns, and I did not speak out–

    because I did not own a machinegun;

    Then they came for the assault rifles, and I did not speak out–

    because I did not own an assault rifle;

    Then they came for the pistols, and I did not speak out–

    because I did not own a pistol;

    Then they came for the sporting rifles, and I did not speak out–

    because I did not own a sporting rifle;

    Then they came for me–

    and I was unable to defend myself.

  10. Erik

    It absolutely boggles my mind that in this day and age, after already experiencing one weapons ban in the 90s, that so much ignorance can still exist about the 2nd Amendment and the RKBA. If anyone has actually bothered to pick up and read the Constitution, they will notice that it has nothing to do with hunting, and everything to do with protection and defense (particularly from government). In case it isn’t clear enough, both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison go into greater detail in Federalist Papers No. 29 and 46, respectively. I suggest actually reading them before going off about squirrel hunting and other dangerous foolishness.

    It’s not enough to know what you believe, but you needs to know WHY you believe it. My God-given RIGHT to keep and bear arms is what protects your PRIVILEGE to be able to hunt.

  11. gabby

    The reality is- the same politicians “protecting your rights” are the same who have taken away most of your rights without firing a shot- habeus corpus, sneak-and-peak, right to form unions, the Patriot Act, unfair trade, you name it. Every part of our lives are managed by the corporatists. So far you have been allowed to own guns only because the somebody is making money off it-thusly the government allows it. Many of the single-issue knuckleheads also vote against their best interests by supporting the conservative agenda which is conservative with respect to workers’ rights and liberal when it comes to unbridled corporate control of our government. Keep all guns but the assault rifles and cheap handguns. That is fair.

  12. AJE

    You have your head in the sand if you think that your “superior” hunting guns are protected if you sell out to the gun banners and sacrifice military look-a-likes.

    Where do you think most of the guns you DO hunt with came from? Ever hear of a Mauser? How about that “deer rifle” in 30-06? Is it possible that these “hunting” firearms had anything to do with the military in the past?

    Do a little research before spouting off next time.

    – a Hunter and “clown”

  13. Old Curmudgeon

    ooooboy! This is going to be louder than the racist issue…Doug, you sure know how to light a fire, eh? On topic…as previously stated, assualt weapons are for killing humans. If they (NRA) are using the argument in regards to hunting, they’re blowin’ smoke – or smokin’ blow. As for protecting ourselves from an out-of-control government, the majority of the people will cave and kowtow without resistance. Those that think they can hold out and actually resist are seriously deficient when it comes to thinking sensibly – think about Ruby Ridge and Carl Drega. If the government decides to use those internment camps they’ve built out west there will be little an AK will do to stop them except precipitate executive action from the Jack-boot types. The only resistance plan that would work is if the majority of the people rise. But I don’t see that happening. We’ve grown to soft and comfortable. Maybe they’ll pray the problem away. Or just decide that the government knows what is best for us and just bend over. Personally, I think that if they insist on owning assault weapons they should volunteer. With the problems the military has indicated in getting cannon-fodder, I mean rercruits then they should take their “big guns” and go down to the recruiting station and sign up. With the lower entrance standards everyone of them should be qualified. But, that ain’t gonna happen, is it Bubba. That’d be putting your manhood on the line and talk is so much safer than action. And by the way, been there, done that – survived. But, that’s just this old curmudgeon’s opinion…

  14. Scott

    It is truly sad when a self-proclaimed longtime gun owner and lifelong displays his ignorance and arrogance about guns, especially after this Zumbo debacle. Apparently you haven’t read anything from Ted Nugent or Jim on his site. The AR-15 quite accurate out of the box, and is capable of very good accuracy for a fairly modest price. It’s not too hard to obtain 1/2 MOA with these rifles. They are also NOT fully automatic, like an assault rifle is. They are also not easily converted either. I would expect a longtime gun owner to not buy into the lies of the VPC so easily.

    As stated above, the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting. If guns are too dangerous for people to own for the intent of the 2nd Amendment, then hunting needs to be banned right now. In the modern day where fresh meat can be had at nearly every commercial corner there certainly isn’t a need for it. It’s not Constitutionally protected either. To hunt you need to own dangerous sniper rifles capable of killing at great distances or highly destructive shotguns which indiscriminately fire many projectiles with a single trigger pull.

    While the NRA isn’t perfect, they are playing a game. Do you think the anti-gun side was a bunch of warm, friendly fuzzy bunnies when the 1994 AWB was passed? Still, if you don’t like it, please join a group like the Gun Owners of America.

  15. Erik

    You said:

    “I’m a longtime gun-owner, a lifelong hunter and a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment that grants Americans the right to own and bear arms.”

    “Zumbo put into words what many hunters, me included, believe. I own enough weapons to start a small war but my collection does not include an assault weapon nor will one ever find a place in my gun safe. I don’t need an AR-15 to hunt deer, squirrel, quail or turkey in the mountains around my home. No real hunter has a legitimate need for such weaponry.”

    You sir, have misunderstood the meaning and reasoning behind the inclusion of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

    I hope you re-examine your beliefs and reconcile them with the ideals that made our country great.

  16. Chester C.


    It is quite obvious that you know little of our heritage, rights, and history. You go on and continue to forward the notion that the 2nd Amendment protected the right of citizens to go hunting.

    Moreover, you were obviously one of the folks who seems to know better than NRA so I have to ask, what other group did you join now that you know we at NRA are thugs?

  17. Donna Hughes


    I began engraving firearems back in 1980. I joined the NRA because it was the thing to do if you were “into guns”. But several years later the NRA ran a one-hour promotion of themselves on TV, during which they dug up Clint Walker, poured him into something reminiscent of his old Cheyenne TV series costume, and had him pitch the NRA. Can’t remember the rest of the “show” but it struck me as being tacky and not the sort of thing I wanterd to be identified with, so I never renewed my membership.

    Since then they have become, as already mentioned, strident and self-righteous.They sucked Charlton Heston in until it became obvious that he was ill.

    I don’t agree that one has to be armed with an assault weapon to protect onesself. Better to shoot well than to just simply have firepower — just ask the deer that we found entangled in our fence this past deer season because someone had shot her hind leg off except for a bit of skin, and she tried to jump the fence in terror. Shortly before that it had sounded like WW3 broke out in the woods. We put her out of her misery.

    I’m not sure if the NRA actually encourages that sort of mentality by fighting for the right for “hunters” to use assault rifles, but that is the way they come off to me, and I have considered them to be the Lunatic Fringe for some time now.

  18. HommieDaKlown


    You never read Jim Zumbo’s article did you? After insulting thousands of owners of a particular firearm HE DID CALL FOR A BAN OF THEM!

    Furthermore, the action against Jim Zumbo came from the ground up. Not from the “Gun Lobby”. Pissed off gun owners and others that know the 2nd Amendment is NOT about hunting, and that nothing in the Bill of Rights is granting you rights but rather RECOGNIZING and PROTECTING preexisting rights, called and e-mailed Jim Zumbos sponsors and employers. The sponsors and employers promptly followed the wishes of their target consumers and acted accordingly.

    The NRA or the “Gun Lobby” as most anti-gunners call it got wind of the story after the fact.

    I’m sure Jim Zumbo is a nice person and a great guy. Probably thats why you wrote an article defending him without knowing any of the facts. But he insulted thousands of people then called for a BAN of that set of firearms. He made a real boneheaded move and obviously didn’t know who his target audience was. With assault weapons ban(misnomer) legislation currently in the house this was very very bad timing.

  19. FortyFive Automatic

    Damn near all of you, especially the author and Electric Bill have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    The whole reason Dumbo lost his bread and butter is because its not just “paramilitary” bozos like McVeigh with military-style weapons — it’s a great deal of everyday, normal private citizens. Nevermind what you have and have not personally seen. The above is a FACT, and Zumbo learned it too late.

    Once again, the Second Amendment is not about hunting. You’re an idiot if you think that.

    And military-style rifles are a FAR superior choice to a bird gun for personal defense. Bill, you probably also think that M16 rounds tumble in flight, enter the chest, and exit the toe. Do some research, at least for your own sake. Or not. I’m sure you’re just fine sticking to your delusions, Elmer J. Fudd.

  20. Jack B.

    Oh Doug, how could you be so WRONG on such a basic constitutional concept?

    The 2nd Amendment gives free people a way to protect themselves from political tyranny. It has nothing to do with hunting or shooting burglars. As a last resort, free people have the means to organize and take up arms against a tyrannical government. If you don’t think tyranny can happen here, you should take a minute and review a little world history. Once you allow government to dictate what kind of guns you are allowed to own (if any), you have lost your ability to stand up against a well-armed tyrant and ALL your precious freedoms can be lost. “A staunch supporter of the Second Amendment”??? You obviously don’t even know what the 2nd Amendment means.

  21. Jeff

    Great, another “hunter” who doesn’t get it. The Second Amendment is about self-defense, pure and simple. Semi-automatic rifles in medium calibers such as 5.56 and 7.62 x 39 are ideal weapons for self-defense, and are the core of what the Founders intended to protect with the Second Amendment. The Semi-automatic rifle is more accurate than a shotgun or pistol, and has less recoil and blast than a 12 gauge when using a medium caliber such as 5.56, which is why many police forces are replacing their shotguns with semi-automatic AR-15s. Anyone who has contempt for these weapons has contempt for the very principles the Second Amendment was meant to protect. Zumbo was fired not because of the NRA (who came late to the controversy), but because Zumbo expressed contempt for something his readers – and the customers of his sponsors – hold dear. Protip – when your paycheck is written by a company, don’t advocate that its products be banned.

  22. John

    I have been a lifelong gun enthusiast, but like many others, apparently, I quit the NRA years ago because I could no longer tolerate the radical politics. They quit being just a gun organization and went to right-wing fanaticism.

    I wrote a letter to LaPierre after I got a flyer from him asking why I hadn’t paid my dues, and assuring me he would fix whatever my problem was. I told him what my problem was. He didn’t fix it. I was dropped from their mailing list and didn’t hear a word from them for years.

    Thank goodness.

  23. Greg Donovan

    BTW: Welcome to the 21st Century.

    Next you’ll probably start complaining about the laser range finding, automated rifle scopes.

  24. bryionak

    “Our right to bear arms, any arms, is there so that we can protect ourselves,first, from a tyrannical government, not hunt squirrels.”

    And I’ll go one step further. Without the second amendment, the rest of the Constitution is meaningless.

    The assault weapons ban is(was) simply outlawing guns that looked scary. The AR 15 you can go into a store and buy will not be automatic and therefore not an assault weapon.

    And the NRA supported Allen in 2000. Why didn’t you send in your card then since you already knew Allen was a racist at that point?

  25. Greg Donovan

    Jim Zumbo’s blowup didn’t have anything to do with the NRA. The NRA didn’t respond for days after the blowup began.

    Word of Zumbo’s blog spread over the internet and the response was a heartfelt reaction from gun-owners who happen to be fans of semi-auto rifles.

    ARs, AKs and FALs have grown in popularity due to their superior ergonomics and safety features, as well as their ease of use.

    The hunting and target versions of these rifles are vastly superior to their traditional counterparts.

    Most of us have scoped, hunting bolt actions in our gunsafes, where they have been sitting since we invested in better technology.

    Take your pick of .25 WSSM, 6.8mm Remington, 7.62×39, .50 Beowolf or 6.5mm Grendel. At $1-$2 per round for hunting ammo, hunters aren’t out shooting up the woods or prairies with their custom-built, $2000 AR-15s.