Jerry Tsai has stepped down as editor of RECOIL. The debate surrounding Tsai’s pre-resignation statements—and all the conversations that will be had about RECOIL in the near and (possibly) distant future—shouldn’t be about one man’s opinions. It should center on larger issues that affect each and every gun owner. As in “what limits should be put on civilian firearm ownership?” At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be any limits on gun ownership—short of the intent to harm another human being outside of a defensive action . . .

The reason I became so personally invested in the RECOIL controversy this week wasn’t a desire to see a man lose his job. It was to ensure that any voice of influence and leadership in this industry agrees that our right to keep and bear arms should not be legally curtailed. There is absolutely no such thing as a reasonable restriction on the rights of responsible, law abiding people to own and carry firearms.

There are types of guns that we, as individuals, may not like. There are reasons for owning guns that we, as individuals, may not include as our own. Fundamentally, though, personal defense is the primary and best reason firearms should be available to individuals.

Certainly, we may not always agree on the best choice of gun for defense, the best ways to exercise our rights or the best caliber for any given purpose. But on the issue of zero tolerance for limitations of our Constitutional rights we must be united.

I wish RECOIL and Jerry Tsai good luck in rebuilding—so long as they do so with a stronger sense of the importance of instilling these principles in the young, enthusiastic gun owners that they reach. And anyone else who is listening.

Will the change in leadership signal a change in the mag’s messaging? Will RECOIL now send a strong message to young gun owners that the fundamental reason to own a firearm is personal, home and (in the worst case) national defense? Watch this space.

50 Responses to Rob Pincus: The Real Meaning of Jerry Tsai’s Resignation from RECOIL

    • This isn’t a Victory, it is a message. A man lost his job and may have brought financial injury to his family.

      And to think all he would have had to have done is immediately issued an apology and asked forgiveness from his fellow gunners. If that had happened this may have blown over. Instead he tried to weasel his way out of it. It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.
      I appreciate the convictions of the advertisers who stood with us and withdrew from Recoil. It seemed to be a worthless rag of magazine anyway.

      • It was over as soon as he typed it, he just didn’t know it. No apology would have mattered. The gun community is skeptical and unforgiving, and for good reason.

      • I don’t think Jerry Tsai lost his job, he resigned his position.
        In the crypto-communist world of media-personages no one is ever politicaly neutralized ie Van Jones. Jerry got his hand slapped for being too honest, for putting his ego in front of the needs of The Revolution. Jerry may change his name and find a new venue to spread his propaganda but he has not left the Leftist Fold.

        • You are right, RIGHT! He just resigned as editor, not from mag or affiliated rag.

          Recoil was a fluff rag for wannabes. I say was because I hope it is finished.

  1. We need to be absolute in the message that our rights are not subject to the wants and desires of any person, regardless of their job title or position in the community. And if that means crushing Jerry Tsai or the magazine that gave him free run, so be it.

  2. Do you really believe that he “stepped down”? He was fired in the most prolific sort of way. Fired. Ejection button pressed with prejudice. Don’t kid yourself.

  3. The offending passage made it through review to print. If it didn’t pass through several hands on the way to publication then it should have. Perhaps Mr. Tsai wrote, edited, and approved for publication the story without any peer review.

    That is the last time anything of the sort will happen at Recoil.

    I’m sure Robert has a hand on every story he publishes here. A few have been quietly pulled and that’s his prerogative. He’s amended text and edited facts when necessary. But blame shifting and finger pointing are not a part of TTAG. Except for that GoDaddy hacker thing, we understand.

  4. Am I understanding this correctly? This is a magazine that has published 4 issues, right? I just don’t get all the angst and worry about the future of Recoil, it’s not an icon like say Guns & Ammo, or The American Rifleman. I understand that Mr. Tsai screwed up with his comments, and I understand he continued his screw up with his “appology”, but now he has moved on. I’m thinking the magazine will either survive or it won’t. In either case, it won’t affect me in any way, life will go on. I have seen some posts on the internet that would make a person believe that the end of the 2nd amendment as we know it came to an end.

    • The issue is that Recoil was an exciting new format for Gun Industry coverage in print that appealed to exactly the type of gun owner that things Shooting Times and Shotgun News are impossible to read through.
      That niche is very important and the voice they hear should be lead by someone who has a deep knowledge of the topics being covered.

      -RJP

      • Agreed.

        Personally, I haven’t read a single issue of the magazine. Nevertheless, I hope RECOIL magazine does survive this scandal, but with a new standard as pertains to its position on the 2nd Amendment. We need a fresh-face magazine that reaches the younger generations with a strong appreciation for the shooting sports and self defense.

      • That said, I don’t think it’s “wrong” if the editor of such a publication had an opinion on what types of guns should be available for civilian use. However, such an article would have to be written carefully and probably placed in a type of “open discussion” format leaving the topic open to the readership to put in their two cents in various future issues and then at the end the editor putting in their 2 cents based on that discussion.

        And I’m pretty sure at the end of the day, the closing statement would’ve been something very similar this very article.

      • Rob, you have convinced me to at least look for this magazine at the news stand and give it a look. It must be something special for all this hoopla to happen.

      • My hope is that Mr. Tsai will quietly and humbly go to Mr. Pincus or another like him that has wisdom and depth, with hat and hand and humbly….respectfully….ask to learn. If he works hard and gains a greater understanding of what all this is about, after a couple of years, he may have another opportunity to serve. He will certainly be a better man for it, whether he writes again or not.

  5. Im sorry but this late in the game this just reeks of them trying to sift through the burning ruble and salvage any capital they can. Maybe if they fired him directly after his second “apology” then I could see it as them trying to show that Jerry didnt speak for all of the employees of the magazine when it came to the 2A. Sorry, but this just stinks of money grubbing. I have to agree with Rob on this one, we MUST be vigilante, and continue to educate that there is no such thing as a “reasonable restriction” on gun ownership.

  6. If I had to wager, I’d say he was asked to step down, to make it look like he was doing the right thing instead of blatantly telling him (and the world) that he was done.

  7. “At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be any limits on gun ownership—short of the intent to harm another human being outside of a defensive action . . .”

    Really? I’d be interested to know in more concrete detail this statement implies. Are guns of any size okay to own – say, for example, a howitzer? Are any types of ammunition okay – say, white phosphorus for my howitzer? Are guns that are disguised as everyday objects okay? Just curious where you’d draw the line.

    • This sort of specious nonsense has been around as a strawman argument since the 70’s.

      Those of us who are well read on the subject of the origins of the right to keep and bear arms know that the Founders saw artillery weapons as the province of the state, not individuals.

      When the debate over the Constitution was underway, the intent of the right to keep and bear arms was to codify that there would be no more seizures of personal weapons, as the British had tried to do in the colonies. Personal weapons included rifle, musket, pistols, swords and such ammunition as would be used in them. Guns on carriage weren’t seen as individual weapons.

      So in today’s environment, what is an individual weapon? Full auto rifle? Yep. Sub-gun? Yup. Pistols of all shape and sizes? Yup. “Sniper,” “assault” and other rifles? Yes, as well as hunting weapons of all types. Swords, knives, dirks, daggers and so on would have been covered under the original intent.

      155mm howies and other crew-served weapons? No. The idiotic trope of “atomic weapons?” No, and the reason why I label this trope “idiotic” is because the military doesn’t even have the power to field those weapons when they might want. They’re subject to a level of control that places them outside the decision process of the military alone.

      This long-running twaddle of “so where do you draw the line?” gets old, because those making it don’t even admit that there is a right to own weapons in the first place. They want those who support RKBA to draw their own line, so the trope-peddlers can then paint this as “extreme.”

      • I think the original question is still a valid one, even if his example of a howitzer is a bit far fetched. Do you think “personal weapons”, as you termed it, would include hand grenades or machine guns? I’m not looking for an answer, but to say that one cannot ask where the line should be drawn at all is a bit extreme no? And it certainly doesn’t mean that anyone who asks the question doesn’t believe in the RKBA. Although it may be in this case, due to the manner in which the question was presented, but that’s still an assumption.

        • Do I think I should be able to own a MG or Hand Grenades? Yes I think I should be able to. But just because I can doesn’t mean I will. Have you ever tried to feed a MG. It gets expensive real quick. I have better things to spend my money on.
          Why should someone else be able to tell me that I can’t own something that the Constitution says that I can?

        • I think many people have forgotten or never understood what the 2A was about. It was a guarantee to the citizens that if the government got repressive they could defend themselves from that repressive government. So if that is true, why would the original intent of that amendment NOT be to allow citizens to have the very same weapons that the government has?

          No I am not advocating for nukes or howitzers, but how does a bunch of citizens keep their government honest if they are unable to resist, because only said government has the big guns?

          Just food for thought.

        • PIMarine has it right, there is no effective way to deal with a tyrannical government when the citizens are out-gunned. I do take some comfort from the suspicion that if it came to that, the majority of the military and “red state” law enforcement would side with defending The Constitution against domestic enemies.

        • Once again, when I mentioned grenades and MGs I did so rhetorically. The point is a line has to be drawn somewhere, whether it is “no fully automatics” or “no tanks and howitzers” or whatever. And as such, questions and discussions on where that line is drawn should not be so quickly dismissed as some sort of gun-grabbing.

      • Thanks for the clarification – after some Gooogling it seems that most supporters of the 2nd amendment see “arms” as hand-held weapons, though I did find that there is a minority opinion out there that it includes all types of weapons, including things like artillery.

        Still, there are borderline cases. Are crew-served machine guns included? Those are legal to own currently, but are hardly “individual” weapons.

        As for what a person can carry, should we include anti-tank weapons like the British WWII Boys rifle? LAW rockets? Claymore mines? All those can carried by an individual.

        I should make clear that I am a supporter of the 2nd amendment, a member of the NRA and a gun owner. What I am interested in is where exactly we draw the line, especially in a era of terrorism and when guns legally sold in the USA make their way into the hands of bad actors in other countries.

        There are countries where you can buy any weapons you want, like Somalia – I’m not sure I’d see those as proof of a well armed society being better off. As a result, I see some restriction as necessary – where to draw that line is an interesting mental exercise.

        • Groups of bad people control guns in Somalia. I’d wager the average Somalian not involved in that kind of nonsense probably doesn’t have access to an AK or a firearm. Could be wrong about that so if you know differently, feel free to enlighten me.

          It’s not just about the presence of firearms. It’s ensuring that the right people have them, the ability to use them, and the will to do so in defense of their lives, property, and loved ones.

          Also, I should point out that there was a strict difference between “ordnance” and “arms” at the time.

          “Arms

          In Colonial times “arms” usually meant weapons that could be carried. This included knives, swords, rifles and pistols. Dictionaries of the time had a separate definition for “ordinance” (as it was spelled then) meaning cannon. Any hand held, non-ordnance type weapons, are theoretically constitutionally protected. Obviously nuclear weapons, tanks, rockets, fighter planes, and submarines are not.

          This off-site essay offers a differing and reasonable view that arms in the late 18th Century did mean the full array of arms and offers how that definition can be applied today “honestly (and constitutionally).”

          http://guncite.com/gc2ndmea.html

        • If you follow that link you included, you’ll find one example of an argument that “arms” means not just handheld weapons – seems reasonable people can disagree. All the more reason to hammer this out in a reasonable way.

          For example, I think one can make the argument that the Federal restrictions on machine guns in the USA has kept them from being widely used in crime – certainly if you look at how the Thompson sub-machine gun was used by criminals before restrictions tends to support that idea.

          As to the problems in Somalia, I’m no expert, but this article deals more generally with the problems of cheap guns in Africa – Strategy Page is in general a pretty pro-military, right-leaning website with a strong historical focus, so you can usually trust what they say:

          http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htun/articles/20120911.aspx

          As to getting guns in the hands of the “right” people, that gets into some tough territory. Who defines who is the right sort of person? Our history of racial restrictions on gun ownership gives me pause about allowing the government, especially the states, to make that decision.

          My personal feeling is that gun ownership should be widely distributed, but that there should be some limits on what types of arms the general public should own based on their destructive power.

    • inb4 ‘so you’re arguing that nukes should be legal for civilians to own?’

      If you want to have an actual discussion, go for it…. RF even lets the other side post articles once in a while. But the ‘take it to the logical extreme’ approach is just tiresome.

      • We the people already own the nukes. We bought and paid for them. Because they require special handling, we hired our employees in gov’t to keep them polished and stored for us and have authorized the Comander in Chief to use them under certain guidlines that our other employees in congress, that we also hired to represent our interests, have set down. I reserve the right to rescind that designated authority if they are used improperly. My other weapons are mine and I haven’t given our public servants permission to infringe into my life.

    • Up until 1968, you could buy anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and the ammunition for them through the mail. There were virtually no crimes committed with these types of weapons.

      Up until just a decade ago, Swiss citizens could buy and own anti-aircraft guns and artillery with about the level of control that California has on handguns.

      Again, there have been no crimes committed with these weapons.

      This is simply scare tactics. When we did not control these weapons, we did not have problems with them.

  8. this is what we need, writer/editor/journalist, whatever the title is, to cause so much outcry resulting in him losing his job cause he spoke his mind.

    i’ll just go back to reading Guns and Ammo.

    • He didn’t lose his job because he “spoke his mind”. He lost his job because he attempted to pass along his own opinions as if they were facts, and upon getting called out by the readership, he failed to hold himself accountable for his words and actions. That’s justification for his resignation (or firing), IMO.

      I do hope that Recoil survives this mess, as this little corner of the publishing market could use some fresh competition.

  9. I think we all need to go out and pick up a copy of RECOIL and see if it is any good (with the exception of the article in question)

    The took their beating. What good is repentance if there is no restoration.

    • Have they repented? Really? An unequivocal statement about RECOIL’s commitment to our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms (without infringement) from the new management wouldn’t go amiss. Oh wait, there it is.

      OK, how about a big ass donation to the NRA or GOA of SAF? Or earmarking a percentage of their gross income to a gun rights org. That would help too.

    • Recoil is carried nationally by Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

      (Blatant plug for my employers. Please note that I am not a representative of the corporation authorized to speak on the corporation’s behalf. All comments on this site are strictly my own opinions and may not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the corporation.)

  10. Well done, Pinky. We’ve disagreed vehemently in the past but you’re spot on this time around.

    I think RECOIL should get you to write an editorial about the second amendment. You’re an eloquent tacticool guy, they’d listen to you.

  11. Another question in my mind about RECOIL magazine itself is the apparent support for Obama on their website. You can’t go to a single portion of their site without seeing an ad for Obama. I also saw an ad that was talking about Clinton. Now I don’t care if someone supports Obama or democrats but attached it a magazine like RECOIL that is designed for mil/LEO as well as civilian enthusiasts. Those types of groups usually do not stand on the left side of the aisle!

  12. Well, folks, RECOIL has survived and is better than ever, IMHO…the ed staff has been (mostly) replaced and the issue on newsstands now even has a nice “I will not comply” editor’s column from Tsai’s replacement. Plus, there’s a cool shot accompanying said column of him NOT shooting a black rifle with weird decals on it like Tsai was using in The Issue. Sweet!

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