Was Zumbo right?
A number of years ago I saw no need for the average person to possess let alone use what is commonly termed the assault rifle. Military style rifles were for, well, the military. Even when I was in the military I did not use one (being an Air Force Aircraft Crew Chief) and when I got out I saw no use for one either.
Much of my thinking was a byproduct of my upbringing. I grew up in Illinois. Almost all of our hunting and shooting was done with a shotgun. Deer hunting was done with a shotgun and slug barrel. Squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, and whatever else we shot at was done with the same shotgun and a bird barrel. Some guys did a bit of small game hunting with a .22 and maybe the rare (and I mean rare) coyote hunter used a varmint rig. So in reality a “high power” rifle was a foreign concept. This almost natural prejudice against rifles for hunting carried over into other types of rifles. Assault rifles honestly made no sense to me for the average Joe.
My first foray into the “assault rifle” genre was a cheap Chinese SKS that I picked up to hunt deer with when I was in Michigan as a poor Seminary student. I couldn’t afford a “real” deer rifle. I plopped a cheap 4x scope and rear dust cover mount on it and took to the field. I tagged three deer that first rifle season afield with my SKS. I took one shot each and no tracking. For an impractical, useless, assault rifle that SKS sure proved pretty darn useful. I traded it for a cheap dining room set for my wife when I knew I was moving back to a shotgun only state. I still have the wife and the dining room set.
Since those days in college and the seminary I have grown to appreciate and love military style rifles. I have my Curios and Relics license and I now own several varieties of classic and modern military rifles. Most of us know the term “assault rifle” is a misnomer; a derogatory term perpetuated by the media. Most gun writers and gun magazines have tried to re-term them as “modern sporting rifles.” Whatever we call them they are really nothing more than the normal evolution of the firearm as it has developed since its simple beginning as a fuse-lit hand held cannon.
Just as firearms have evolved over the years so have my opinions of them. I have come to this conclusion: People can have whatever opinion they want about firearms so long as they do not tell me what I can and cannot have based on looks and aesthetics. Polite society tells me (rightfully) that it is wrong to dislike a person simply because they are black. They also shouldn’t tell me I can’t have a rifle for the same reason.