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Did Dick Metcalf really write a pro-gun-control editorial in Guns & Ammo?

The latest (December) issue of Guns & Ammo magazine started hitting mailboxes last week, and attention has quickly turned to an astonishingly disappointing article written by its editor, Dick Metcalf.

In an article titled “Let’s Talk Limits”, Metcalf parrots one of the central ideas of the anti-gun crowd: that the Second Amendment’s “well regulated” language means it’s acceptable to make regulations (laws) which infringe on the application and practice of the Amendment. This flies in the face of current interpretation which says “a well regulated militia” (the full clause) means that the body - the militia - is well drilled, practiced, and maintained. American English has changed over the years to the point that this meaning of the word regulated has fallen out of common use, but you can still find it in the dictionary. In the time when the Constitution was drafted, that was the common definition and it was well understood. Modern scholarship has confirmed this.

To be well regulated, the militia (which was comprised of all able-bodied males) required the availability of and access to the weapons they would need in order to maintain their proficiency. That’s why the Amendment was written: to maintain access to personal defensive arms for the people so that they could protect themselves and, by extension, their country.

Metcalf’s article buys into the idea that regulated means legislated, and then — inexplicably for someone who calls himself an expert on Constitutional law — uses his misunderstanding to say, in essence, that all legislated infringements are perfectly acceptable because they’re just the regulations that the Amendment allows.

This is, obviously, nonsense.

This lack of understanding of the language and historical background of the Second Amendment leads Metcalf to regurgitate a number of prohibitionist talking points, including the ridiculous comparisons to automobiles and driver’s licenses. He ends by defending government-required training (he thinks a mandatory sixteen hour class is reasonable) for people who wish to carry their gun, concealed, in public. If you want to see the whole sorry apologist screed, you can
download the PDF of his article and judge for yourself.

This call for more gun control from an industry veteran, under a poor understanding of the Amendment he claims to support, is a sad day for the shooting fraternity. As a community we’ve worked hard to educate the American gun owner about the Second Amendment, and we’ve made information about the anti-gunner’s talking points, and how to counter them, readily available. Mr. Metcalf’s article read as though he wasn’t aware any of that has happened.

Remember RECOIL magazine and its editor, Jerry Tsai? He made less inflammatory statements in a relatively niche publication. Metcalf and Guns & Ammo are in another league altogether in terms of their visibility; this is a major, mainstream industry magazine, one read by a big percentage of the gun owning public. Its prominent editor has given a large amount of space (not to mention credibility) to agree with some of the most common anti-gun talking points. Make no mistake: This is a big win for the prohibitionist forces, as it confirms in their minds the beliefs they’ve been promulgating for decades. We will see this used against us.

Should they be held to a different standard than RECOIL and Tsai just because they’re bigger? I don’t think so.

At the very real risk of my being blacklisted with his employer: Guns & Ammo needs to apologize for allowing this tripe to be printed in their magazine. They should start to repair the damage to the community by immediately and clearly distancing themselves from the opinions expressed and reaffirming their support for the Second Amendment. If they can’t bring themselves to do so, then they (and their advertisers) deserve to be relieved of their reader’s financial support.

(Let me be clear: I don’t know Metcalf, never met him, and have no reason to wish him any personal ill will. At the same time, he’s done something that gives aid and perhaps some comfort to those who seek to eliminate my rights to self protection as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. He shouldn’t be given a pass for doing this to me and to every other member of the shooting community.)

It occurs to me that my own my point of view regarding gun ownership rights may not be completely clear to everyone, so on Wednesday I’ll tell you what I believe about the Second Amendment and RTKBA activism in the current age. Can idealism and pragmatism co-exist where the Second Amendment is concerned? Tune in Wednesday and find out.

-=[ Grant ]=-
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