If paranoia rages through the collective minds of local and state legislative bodies when it comes to firearms, guns aren't the only things that gets lawmakers swooning.
Of course these officials are no less thumping their chests in every effort possible to reign in sales of ammunition; and it doesn't matter if that fodder is calibrated for firearms associated with AR-platform rifles or semi-automatic pistols, either.
Even you garden-variety shotshells intended for breaking clay targets or bagging mourning doves and cottontail rabbits installs fear in the all ready-wobbling knees of politicians who reflexively knock them together in nervous fits of terror.
So if you think hunting household appliances such as hunting knives, bear pepper spray and even hearing enhancers/sound suppressing ear buds are tame stuff beyond the scope of legislative fiat, well, it ain't so, brother.
Take note, please, of the latest 108-page copy of the Sportsman's Guide, which proudly boasts of having “THE LARGEST SELECTION OF HUNTING SUPPLIES at DISCOUNT PRICES!” Every word but “at” being laid out in bold, screaming letters.
I like the Guide's catalogs and have donated portions of my paycheck (now Social Security checks) in buying goods found within their pages.
Toward the middle of the latest catalog's new hunting sale issue on page 54 is a list of 56 different ordering taboos and a couple of special shipping requirements.
You can pretty much guess that places like California, New York and New York City, Chicago, Delaware, and Massachusetts would have in place some pretty nasty restrictions on ordering ammo, and muzzle-loading rifles.
Yet those states have pitched a legislative fit on other hunting related articles as well.
I offer up as examples the various forms of hunting-skinning knives and game saws found on pages 38 and 39.
Yep, right there with the “Kissing Crane Burnt Bone Fixed Blade Rustic and traditional” hunting knife that costs $35.99 ($39.99 for non-Sportsman Guide members) are five semitrailer icons. The explanation for these icons is found on page 54 and inform potential buyers whether ordering a particular item is legal in their respective jurisdiction.
Among the hometowns where a hunter lives but can't order this so-very-obvious hunting knife are four California counties, anywhere in Colorado, as well as Florida's Dade-Miami and Sarasota counties.
It's a little better for Browning's Semi Skinner Knife that is found on page 41 and costing $29.69 (or $32.99 for non-members.)
Testy, too, are the prohibitions on ordering any one of the several very popular Outdoor Edge game-processing tools.
Why legislators in Colorado, Connecticut and Tennessee believe an Outdoors Edge “Wild-Pak Game Processing Kit” with their plastic blaze orange handles are serious criminal tools defies logic.
Maybe the legislators think these tools are some sort of "assault knives" or other such nonsense.
In any event, if you're a Canadian don't even think about ordering any crossbow or longbow arrows or broadheads from Sportsman's Guide much less the actual archery implements themselves.
Maybe a case could be made against allowing Chicago residents being permitted to order a can of “UDAI Pepper Power Bear Deterrent” given how their beloved football team collapsed at the end of last season but why Dennison County, Iowa?
We'll travel this very strange legislative no-no road a little further.
In New York City a gun-owning resident there (and I suspect there are some legal gun owners in the Big Apple but for the life of me I don't know why) you can't order the $26.99 ($29.99 for non-members) Bushnell Laser Boresighter.
And once again we go back to Canada where Sportsman's Guide won't ship from its stock a “Self-Illuminating Meprolight” fiber-optic sighting device.
For that matter a Canadian can't even order any of the four Pentex “Gameseeker 30” rifle scopes, which do nothing but sit there atop a hunting rifle. Best as I can determine the only sin these rifle scopes have is that they include mil-dot or similar range estimating reticles.
And Nanny State – otherwise known as California – prohibits the shipping of any Walker Game Ear's “Ultra Ear” enhancement/noise dampening listening aid to any resident foolish enough to remain a resident in that state. For the really decent rock-bottom price of $35.99 for two (or $39.99 for non-members), too.
My best guess is that California believes its citizens are incapable of making rational decisions on matters affecting hearing enhancement and suppression. Thus, such addle-brained people must therefore first visit an expensive audiologist and then fork over more big bucks for a genuine government-approved hearing aid.
I could go on but what's the point?
We all know that legislators too often become uppity in their role as gate-keepers to good governance, getting carried away with bugaboos both real and imagined.
The thing is, sportsmen of all stripes need to be diligent as to what their elected officials are up to. And that includes proposals impacting not only firearms and ammunition but also hunting knives, arrows, rifle scopes and one would assume, bear repellent spray in a can.
At least I didn't see any restrictions on at least one item found within the Sportsman's Guide latest catalog.
You still can order a “Handy Port-A-John Traveling Urinal!” for $7.19 (or $7.99 for non-members) without first securing permission from a local, state or federal agency.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn