According to Jan Libourel, the editor of Gun World magazine, "Nobody but a madman would oppose some sort of gun control laws."
Libourel is no gun grabber in disguise. The statement, in a column titled "Panic Attack," comes after his personal observation, "It is true that the Democratic Party has for decades been much more receptive to punitive, repressive and unreasonable gun control measures."
But in the pro-gun world where everything -- from word to deed -- is seen through the gummy lense of the slippery slope, his comments may well be taken as an act of betrayal. Ask Jim Zumbo, described by the Washington Post in a February 2007 article as a "mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park...[and]...spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West."
And how did Zumbo end up in the Post? Earlier that month he had written in his blog the following criticism of assault weapons and the men who love them:
"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity...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."
In a community that cheers on the destruction of those who stray from the true path, Zumbo's world quickly collapsed: canceled television shows, lost endorsements, and a whole lot of hate mail.
So why does Libourel run the risk of traveling the Zumbo Trail? Because a significant portion of the pro-gun organizations and individuals that comprise the activist core of gun ownership in America do oppose "some sort of gun control laws." In fact, they oppose any sort of gun control laws.
And they don't consider themselves crazy.
Libourel's Quisling rating then ratchets up a few more points when he has the audacity to call into question the pro-gun myth of the modern-day 'citizen soldier.' You know, the heavily-armed guy who in his grandiose dreams is linked to a heritage that stretches from the Revolutionary War to the Wolverines of Red Dawn -- and is only seen by the rest of us when he snaps and his last "patriotic" act ends up on the evening news.
Noting the reported increases in sales of assault rifles like the AR-15 in the wake of President Obama's election, Libourel writes:
"I suppose the people rushing to buy up AR-15s 'before it's too late' are counting on the anti-gunners' being magnanimous enough to ban the future sale of such rifles yet leave existing owners in possession of theirs. Either that, or they are planning to hide them in anticipation of an armed uprising or social breakdowns. Although I was certainly no fan of the Clinton administration, I had to wonder about those 'patriots' and 'constitutionalists' who advocated arming themselves back then with an eye to overthrowing the lawfully elected government! Although I didn't much care for him, Bill Clinton was elected president under the United States Constitution, fair and square."
Libourel then goes on to question those who would follow the logic of "survival guru Mel Tappan," whose "shtick" was that they:
"should prepare for the inevitable social breakdown or nuclear war by acquiring a 'retreat' in a remote rural area where you could essentially live off the land and arm yourself to the teeth with state of the art high-firepower weaponry so that you could blow away any 'looters' who had the temerity to trample your Jerusalem artichokes! (I guess you would have to have a keen nose for trouble to effect a retreat to your retreat before the social blowup or the nukes started falling...) I suppose for defending an isolated ranch or farmstead from the concerted attack of a criminal gang one of these rifles would have considerable merit. The same would hold true if one anticipated in engaging in house-to-house fighting in some sort of urban warfare, as taught in the 'Urban Rifle' courses at the sundry shooting schools. However, being an old-fashioned, low-tech sort of guy, I always felt that a plain old short-barreled 12 gauge pump gun or autoloader was all the urban defense gun I'd ever need. In most urban jurisdictions, it would be pretty hard for a civilian to plead necessary self-defense if he engaged in a shootout at ranges greater than the 35 yards or so at which buckshot is effective."
In a world viewed by many of his readers in black and white, Libourel has staked out a little island of gray. It remains to be seen whether he's exiled to it.
Follow Josh Sugarmann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VPCinfo