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SHOT 2014: Zumbo honored, another ‘illegal guns’ mayor dishonored

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Veteran outdoor writer and hunting authority Jim Zumbo, whose controversial blog about semiautomatic rifles a few years ago caused an uproar, was honored last night as the recipient of the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award by the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) here in Las Vegas, a noted in today's Outdoor Wire.

Zumbo's career has spanned more than five decades in print and on television. He has authored several books, thousands of magazine articles and is known as an authority on North American big game hunting. One little-known fact about Zumbo surfaced during the presentation at last night's State of the Industry dinner. For many years, the veteran writer and author has been deeply involved in providing outdoor adventures for wounded military veterans.

Zumbo’s career was nearly destroyed after his harsh criticism of AR-15 rifles, but the experience, according to Tom Gresham, son of the man for whom the award is named, caused Zumbo to re-evaluate his views and the semi-auto rifle. Gresham told the audience at the NSSF’s annual dinner that, "After questioning the use of AR-style guns in the realm of hunting in an Outdoor Life blog entry, Jim heard the cries of gun owners. He immediately educated himself about modern sporting rifles and became a proponent of them. That speaks well of his intellectual honesty."

Over the past few years, Zumbo has emerged as a formidable Second Amendment proponent, and according to Gresham, “educated himself about modern sporting rifles.”

Gresham quipped that, as a result of his newfound enthusiasm and understanding of the modern sport-utility rifle, he is only second to President Barack Obama when it comes to "selling AR-15 rifles."

Claude Hamilton "Grits" Gresham was an icon in the outdoor media community. He was famous for a style of writing that was entertaining and educational at the same time. He was the shooting editor at Sports Afield for more than two decades, and had the admiration and respect of millions of outdoorsmen and women. The award is shaped like Gresham's trademark crumpled broad-brimmed cowboy hat. Mr. Gresham passed away in 2008.

On the other hand, yet another former member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns is on the wrong side of the law, this time drawing a jail sentence for a drunken incident involving the illegal discharge of a firearm. Ex-mayor James Schiliro of Marcus Hook, Pa., will spend 10 to 20 months behind bars for the incident last year when he, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “had a police car bring a…20-year-old (male) to whom he said he was attracted...to his home, made him drink wine, and refused to let him leave for 3 ½ hours.”

The newspaper said Schiliro also drew five years probation and he must perform 50 hours of community service. He will pay $1,300 in fines and court costs.

MAIG, which recently merged with Moms Demand Action, was created in 2006 by Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The group last month contributed $30,000 to the Initiative 594 campaign in Washington State.

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