Click here to download a pdf of Guns & Ammo‘s column Let’s Talk Limits. Technical Editor Dick Metcalf [above] penned the editorial for the December issue. Metcalf, a writer whose technical knowledge (or lack thereof) has earned him brickbats before, bases his editorial on a distinction between “infringement” and “regulation.” “I bring this up,” Metcalf writes, “because way too many gun owners still believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is that all Constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.” That, dear reader, is a major WTF moment. One of many . . .
Metcalf’s dietribe [sic] turns to the antis’ favorite justification for infringing on our natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms: you “Can’t yell ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater.” Yes. Yes you can. It’s just that you’re legally responsible for what happens next. And what happens next in Metcalf’s editorial is bizarre—especially for an article that appears in a gun magazine:
Many argue that any regulation at all is, by definition, an infringement. If that were true, then the authors of the Second Amendment themselves, should not have specified “well-regulated.”
You’re kidding, right? Metcalf doesn’t know that “well-regulated” is “referring to the property of something being in proper working order“? That it has nothing to do with government regulation? No way!
Way. Sure Metcalf’s bone-headed, uninformed, patently obvious misinterpretation of the Second Amendment’s introductory clause isn’t as bad as the antis’ assertion that the 2A only applies to Americans in a militia, but it’s the next worst thing. Coming from a gun guy, a man who trumpets the fact that he co-wrote The Firearm Owners Protection Act and taught college seminars on Constitutional law, well, I’m speechless.
Too bad Metcalf isn’t. Once again, he turns to the antis’ well-worn fundamentally flawed pro-regulation arguments to advocate gun control. He deploys ye olde auto analogy to defend state-issued carry permits against readers who believe that Second Amendment is the only authority they need to bear arms.
I wondered whether those same people believed that just anybody should be able to buy a vehicle and take it out on public roadways without any kind of driver’s training, test or license.
I understand that driving a car is not a right protected by the Constitution, but to me the basic principle is the same. I firmly believe that all U.S. citizens have the right to bear arms, but . . .
I’m going to stop there. Anyone who says “I believe in the Second Amendment but–” does not believe in the Second Amendment. They are not friends, they are not frenemies, they are enemies of The People of the Gun.
More than that, whether or not these nominal gun rights supporters (e.g., President Obama, Senator Charles Schumer) “believe” in the Second Amendment is irrelevant. As stated above, the right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, stemming from our natural right of self-defense. It doesn’t require belief, faith or political justification.
Equally, the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. Wikipedia defines the term thusly:
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.
Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability; and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, assembly and movement.
I have a major issue with the word “unwarranted” (wikipedia won’t let me delete it). But the point is made: Americans have a civil right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by . . . wait for it . . . the Constitution. Specifically, the Second Amendment. This despite the fact that . . .
Civil and political rights need not be codified to be protected, although most democracies worldwide do have formal written guarantees of civil and political rights. Civil rights are considered to be natural rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his A Summary View of the Rights of British America that “a free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”
So civil means natural, and natural means inviolable. Except by people who support their violation. People like Dick Metcalf, who ends his pro-gun control polemic by asserting that Illinois’ new carry law—mandating that citizens must complete 16 hours of training to “earn” the right to bear arms— is not “infringement in and of itself.”
“But that’s just me . . .” Metcalf closes. Yes it is. And I believe that anyone who supports a gun magazine that prints this kind of anti-gun agitprop is supporting the diminution and destruction of our gun rights. Or is that just me? [h/t b0b]