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Petzal responds

To his critics:

The story was unpopular with a lot of people, but nowhere in it did I endorse the ban, as some are claiming.


When I wrote it, black guns were not nearly as important a part of shooting as they are now. We canít afford to sacrifice them, just as we canít afford to sacrifice .50-caliber rifles (which I wrote about positively a couple of issues ago in a story called ďWay Out ThereĒ).

In case youíre wondering, Iíve been using black rifles since 1965, when I hunted woodchucks with one of the very first AR-15s sold commercially by Colt. Iíve 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 donít know if that qualifies or not.

Most important, you shouldnít construe any of this as an apology. It isnít.

I gotta give it to the guy for his balls out honesty and being unapologetic. Unlike Zumbo, he’s believable.

Good enough for me. As I said, stand down.

13 Responses to “Petzal responds”

  1. Ninth Stage Says:

    So he doesn’t own a black rifle but would take one if given to him (top of the line only please). Only in the world encompassed by Field and Stream could Petzal be a “Gun Nut”. I think that is the problem.

  2. tkdkerry Says:

    Nope, not buying it. I’ve read his latest columns, and the pre-ban quotes. Petzal doesn’t get it either. To make it worse, the whole thing stinks of self-aggrandizing writers getting all pissy because they’ve had their feet held to the fire by the ‘little people’, those of us who read, think, and now have the ability to make our opinions immediately known from our own keyboards.

  3. Unix-Jedi Says:

    Sorry, Unc, but I don’t get why you’re giving him a pass.

    The story was unpopular with a lot of people, but nowhere in it did I endorse the ban, as some are claiming.

    By quoting him? “The American public — and the gun-owning public; especially the gun-owning public — would be better off without the hardcore military arms. Ok, sure, I guess he didn’t say to ban them. That is, he said, I don’t want them, and we’d be better off without them, but to make like he wasn’t supporting the ’94 abomination is just intellectually dishonest.

    He said Zumbo made a full apology. That was not true. He said Zumbo didn’t make excuses. This was also, blatantly false. “I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early.”

    I’d have been far more likely to agree with you, had Petzal not just blatantly lied to me, in an attempt to defend/explain/whitewash Zumbo.

    I’ve got far more respect for the guys writing now, saying “Wow, I didn’t think it would get that much reaction, than a guy like Petzal, who’s actively distorting the record!

    I’m not in favor of litmus tests, and running the black flag up. But with Petzal’s latest – he does not deserve to be allowed to have the last, dishonest, word. If he has changed his mind, that would be simple enough to say. It’s rather interesting he’s spent 2 columns specificially not saying that.

  4. Unix-Jedi Says:

    Unc, re-reading what you said, I think you and I have a fundamental disconnect.

    You see him as being a stand-up, honest guy:
    I gotta give it to the guy for his balls out honesty

    Whereas I see him as being fundamentally dishonest.
    Petzal: 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.

    Zumbo: Let me explain the circumstances surrounding that blog. I was hunting coyotes, and after the hunt was over and being beat up by 60 mph winds all day, I was discussing hunting with one of the young guides. I was tired and exhausted, and I should have gone to bed early. When the guide told me that there was a “huge” following of hunters who use AR 15’s and similar weapons to hunt prairies dogs, I was amazed. At that point I wrote the blog, and never thought it through.

    Similarly with his “well, I never said the word ban side-step. Ok, perhaps he technically never said “Hey, guys, let’s support Clinton in banning those EBRs!”.

    But he took his podium and claimed them as a net liability – one we’d be better off without. Now, he claims (note, without quoting directly/linking) that “people” (most of whom are directly cutting/pasting his words, in a quote) are claiming… I endorsed the ban.

    But notice he didn’t repeat what he said. Merely that “That’s not what I said”. If he was honest, in my view, he’d have repeated/reposted that column, and discussed it. Instead, he’s side-stepping, deflecting, and not apologising for his past views. No, it’s you who are wrong, how dare you take my words and not listen to me tell you what they actually meant!

    And that’s why I don’t consider Petzal to be an honest, straight up guy – he’s not acting like one. He’s just acting arrogant. And I don’t think that’s worthy of respect, or grudging admiration.

  5. Sebastian Says:

    You know what you’re sounding like guys? The Libertarian Party, where they enjoy drumming people out of the community for not being Libertarian enough, even if you generally have sympathies to their issues. Do you know what percentage of the vote Bednarik got in the last election? Do you want to bring that kind of effectiveness to our community as well?

    I don’t. What Petzal wrote was 13 years ago. A lot changes in 13 years. This guy is on our side. Maybe he’s not as “gun nut” as we are, but these days he’s willing to fight for black rifles, so as far as I’m concerned David Petzal is alright and I welcome him to the party.

  6. David Codrea Says:

    I guess it depends on where you were and what you were doing 13 years ago, Sebastian. I recall giving up untold hours fighting the pending ban, funding a newsletter out of my own pocket, sitting at a table on the sidewalk outside of a gun store in Culver City trying to sign up NRA members as cars went by honking, flipping us off and screaming obscenities, enduring insults and jeers as we marched in the 2nd Amendment contingent of the Bill of Rights Day Parade in Santa Monica, being told by a LEO that I would be arrested for trying to ask Sarah Brady and Rep. Jane Harman a question at an anti-AW news conference they were holding–at a public park–because I wasn’t an “authorized journalist,” writing letters, ghosting letters, organizing, attending meetings, putting my reputation and name on the line to do so, even though it could–and has–affected my employability, taking time away from my family because this battle is mine to engage while my children are to young to join, and this is just off the top of my head, and then, this total Fifth Columnist comes out just months before the semiauto ban is signed into law–just at the time it was being debated–and compares AKs to destructive devices and actually calls for a stricter standard of regulation then the Clinton ban, and causing the very real and calculated division among gun owners he’s now accusing us of fomenting.

    So I admit I take it personally. I was angry then and I’m still angry now. I resent this–this person, who had far more reach than my friends and I, undoing in one column much of what we were striving at no small personal sacrifice to prevent–because he had a national forum in which to betray us. And now he wants to blow us off for being angry and hostile, and compare us to mental patients as if it’s our problem getting lumped in with terrorsts pisses us off, or haviing a national gun writer call on the feds to make us criminals if we don’t submit to his recommended prohibition?

    You say a lot changes in 13 years–I don’t see where. The guy refuses to apologize, so that means he isn’t sorry. And I see the damage he did by putting that message in front of the “sporting” community at a critical time as incalculable. And don’t forget, F&S had also publicized a survey showing 2/3 of their readers supported such a ban–and that was used by the antis as evidence of gun owner support to further embolden the Congress to act.

    Me, I don’t forgive unless forgiveness is sincerely asked for, backed up by a profound apology and concrete actions to undo the damage and make restitution. On this score, I’m much more likely to welcome Mr. Zumbo back into the fold. I haven’t seen anything from Petzal except his acting as a rallying point for the Fuddites who are now getting national media attention. Check out the Washington Post, a story about the Zumbo affair that gives ink to an AHSA apologist.

  7. Steve Ramsey Says:

    Sorry, After reading Petzal’s statement, I can only conclude that as fudds go, Petzal’s fuddyness has a special degree of hypocracy attached to it.

    He’s the Romney/Guiliani of outdoor writers.

  8. Unix-Jedi Says:


    I don’t. What Petzal wrote was 13 years ago. A lot changes in 13 years.

    Except, apparently Petzal’s opinion.

    Sebastian, you’re presuming that Petzal agrees with you. You’re taking his evasion as good-faith efforts. That’s a heck of a lot of a presumption. I just pointed out where he wasn’t honest in his summation of the Zumbo affair.

    Errr. Well, if he’s not honest about that, and he still equivocates on “ugly guns”, and he claims to not have said what he said, and it didn’t mean that anyway…..

    Sorry. I don’t think I’m kicking him to the curb for not being “gun-rights enough”. I think he’s not as interested in gun rights as you’re presuming he is.

    Maybe he did learn a lesson from the “AW”B, and the behavior afterwards. I don’t know, and he’s not saying.

    Until he does, I’m not going to guess that he’s had the revelations/understandings that you, and I, and Uncle, and Codrea have had.

    Uncle lauded him for being honest – but missed that he wasn’t.

    but these days he’s willing to fight for black rifles, so as far as I’m concerned David Petzal is alright and I welcome him to the party.

    That’s my problem. These days. What about tomorrow? What about when he gets reassured that his guns are safe? (The “Sporting Purpose” ones, after all?) I believe, he’s not changed his mind. His statements, behavior, and (to again disagree with our host) dishonesty and attempt to change the historical record mean he’s not someone i want in a position to shiv/shoot me in the back – again.

  9. Sebastian Says:

    I can understand where you guys are coming from in terms of being mad at the guy for his statements, but it sounded to me like “We canít afford to sacrifice them, just as we canít afford to sacrifice .50-caliber rifles” sounded to me like he understood the importance of fighting the gun banners on these issues now, and if that’s the case I welcome him to the fight.

    I was a teenager when much of the assault weapon banning was going on, so I don’t have the history with the issue that you guys do, but from my perspective, I don’t think it’s a good idea to alienate people from RKBA who may not be as hard core on the issues as we would like. I wish all gun owners were rock solid on RKBA, but a lot of them sadly aren’t. If we drive them all away, they won’t be any use to us at all, and we’ll quickly find ourselves a pissed off minority with empty safes.

  10. Unix-Jedi Says:


    I wish all gun owners were rock solid on RKBA, but a lot of them sadly aren’t.

    Right. But we’re not after gun owners. We’re after the gun writers. The ones who get free guns/ammo/trips/gear to write and get you to buy things.

    … we can’t afford to sacrifice .50-caliber rifles” sounded to me like he understood the importance of fighting the gun banners on these issues now, and if that’s the case I welcome him to the fight.

    I agree with you, that sounds good, like an improvement. Until he… mischaracterized what he said before, and failed to report correctly what happened with Zumbo. Had he merely said that about .50’s – I wouldn’t be so skeptical. But he didn’t.

    To put it another way: If, say, John Kerry said to you “I’ve never tried to ban guns, and even if you think I did, I promise I won’t!” – would you believe that statement, and then vote for him?

  11. David Codrea Says:

    Sebastian, Petzal acted as a collaborator and tyranny enabler in our time of need. He remains unapologetic , defiant and provocative.

    If you guys think we can stand down, think again–what more evidence do you need than the latest from the Washington Post? These guys have been setting the foundation with their stealth campaign to lie the AHSA into respectability with “sportsmen”, along the same lines a Hunters for Kerry, and their allies in the MSM are more than happy to give them a forum.

    This battle is coming to us, ready or not.

    Like I said, I’m much more able to forgive poor dumb Zumbo–I’m honestly starting to think the guy was more ignorant than arrogant, he appears thorughly chastised, and he’s begging for a chance to redeem himself. I’m not that heartless that I can turn from that without a degree of sympathy.

    Until I see similar contrition and atonement from Petzal, I see no reason to consider himanything but a cornered collaborator using bluff bravado and revisionist deception (which Unix-Jedi has brilliantly exposed) to save his skin.

    I can’t fault you that you weren’t old enough to participate in battles before your time–but understand that those of us who did have no incentive to forget. And based on his response, we have even less incentive to forgive.

  12. M1Thumb Says:

    Codrea, I stand with you. Petzal is many degrees worse than (poor, dumb) Zumbo and has the potential to continue to do who-knows-how-much more damage to the Second Amendment.

    Worse yet, he lies about his past with a Clintonian revisionism that reveals the pitch blackness of his heart.

    To Petzal and those like him (and I wouldn’t necessarily include Zumbo in this statement) over-unders and bolt actions are a hobby and a paycheck. By the time they come knocking on his door to take his Citori, he’ll be retired if he’s even still alive.

    By selling us out, he stands to profit from garnering “reasonable” and “common-sense” labels from the MSM.

    It’s not that he’s just not as “hardcore” as us. He doesn’t stand for the Second Amendment at all.

  13. Ned W. Says:

    ďThe American public ó and the gun-owning public; especially the gun-owning public ó would be better off without the hardcore military arms.”

    Exactly which “hardcore military arms” would the gun-owning public be better off without?

    Maybe – bolt action rifles – which were developed for combat?

    How about rifles that shoot 7 mm. or .30 cal. ammunition? What were the 30.06 and 7 and 8 mm cartridges developed for?

    How many were used for hunting herbivores before they were used for killing human opponents during wartime?

    How many idiots out there actually believe that modern firearms technology developed from anything other than, well – military arms technology?

    Lever guns were first used in war, as were bolt-action rifles. Even single shot rifles and muzzle loaders were developed for wartime use.

    It’s possible that only really expensive shotguns and really large bore rifles were developed primarily for the pursuit of “game.” But the technology that preceded them was military technology.

    Self-loading rifles have been used for both hunting and war…but then – that’s not the point.

    In fact, it’s possible that Zumbo’s and Petzal’s expensive specialty guns are the only ones that aren’t protected by the 2nd Amendment.

    After all, elephant guns and trap and field shotguns aren’t really necessary for a “well regulated militia.”

    I won’t bother explaining what “well regulated” means. Everyone with two brain cells and access to history books can discover what that means.

    The enemy in our midst – like Petzal, et al, can stand by their elitist views. But they can stand by themselves, in the unemployment line, as far as I’m concerned.

    Perhaps when they have to work to save money to apply for a hunting license they will understand.

    Forgiveness can only come after first asking to be forgiven, and then making amends for one’s trespasses.

    I’m ready for our “friends” like Zumbo and Petzal to actually make amends. (Sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t include asking high-end AR manufacturers to GIVE THEM A DAMN RIFLE TO TEST ON GAME.)

    After that, ask me about forgiveness. Until then, elitists like Zumboites and Petzalites can STFU.

    They have already given Sarah Brady, et al, enough press releases.


    BTW – I haven’t purchased a copy of Field & Stream since Petzal let me know that he is the enemy.

    Let’s not forget who the enemy is.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills

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