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Back in the day, Dick Metcalf penned an article for Guns & Ammo advocating infringements on the Second Amendment. The Powers That Be fired Metcalf and the magazine’s editor. Anti-gun activists immediately leaped to Metcalf’s defense. They used his dismissal to try to prove that the supporters of firearms freedom are intolerant hypocrites that will not tolerate “dialogue” or the slightest dissent within their own ranks. Where hypocrisy is concerned, such people have no peers, for they demand that in any “dialogue” or discussion of Second Amendment issues, those that support liberty must accept their premises and goals as a starting point . . .

Metcalf wasn’t fired for presenting a contrary point of view. His employment was terminated because he made fundamental errors of history, tone, language and tactics. He badly misstated the history of the Second Amendment and its purpose. In his phrasing and syntax, he mirrored the arguments of anti-gun politicians and activists; his language demonstrated a sloppiness and lack of understanding of the construction of the Second AmendmentHe used the precise, deceptive tactics of the gun-banners, arguing for their goals much as they do.

Predictably, it wasn’t long before the New York Times and others used Metcalf to attack Second Amendment supporters. He expressed sorrow and concern that he was excommunicated from the firearms community. Rather than making amends, though, he continued to denigrate those he purports to wish to serve. Now he’s done again in “Why We Can’t Talk About Gun Control.” Interviewed in The Atlantic, Metcalf remains unrepentant, and apparently, clueless.

I pose this question, ‘Mr. Metcalf, as a hunter of birds. I have a concealed carry permit for a pistol. And I think the gun laws that are on the books today are ineffective because they’re not enforced.’

Dick Metcalf, the historian and long-time individual-gun-rights supporter agreed, nodding from the stage.

‘When I got my concealed-carry permit,’ the man in the audience continued, ‘one of the questions I had to answer was, ‘Are you a fugitive from justice?’

The rest of the crowd laughed.

‘I asked the sheriff, does anyone ever answer yes to that? And he said, ‘You’d be surprised.’ But I think we need more regulation. And if I were your boss [said the man in the audience], and you’d written that column, I wouldn’t have terminated you. I’d have given you a promotion.

Note the article’s premise: gun laws aren’t being enforced so more gun “regulations” are necessary. Metcalf should have been lauded, not fired, for so suggesting.

The writer provides anecdotes that purport to validate his ideas. The people appearing in these anecdotes – drawn from Metcalf’s recent appearance at the notoriously progressive Aspen Ideas Festival – remain anonymous. Commenting on his firing, Metcalf said:

What struck me most about what happened to me was that this huge media corporation [Intermedia, the owner of Guns & Ammo] was absolutely unprepared for the onslaught of social-media negativity,’ Metcalf said, ‘when we went over that line and dared ask the question, whether people might think about whether or not regulation is by definition infringement.’

The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, Metcalf noted, ‘not that it shall not be regulated.’ Rather the first four words of the amendment, ‘a well regulated militia,’ not only allow but mandate regulation.

‘Everything is regulated, but everything is not infringed. Not all regulation is infringement. Is your right to drive a car being infringed by a speed limit?

Maddeningly, Metcalf continues to err in the history of American gun rights and the language they used to protect those individual rights in the Bill of Rights. As you do doubt know, and as the Heller case affirmed, “A well-regulated militia…” is part of the Second Amendment’s prefatory clause. It is a dependent adjective clause, not the independent clause. In other words “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” stands on its own.

In terms of history, Metcalf is equally off-base. “A well-regulated militia,” in the language of the time, meant a well-drilled, a well-organized, a well-run militia. In other words, it was a prepared, effective unit. Metcalf’s interpretation of “regulate” clearly invokes the contemporary, bureaucratic sense of regulation: rules that limit or mandate behavior or actions.

Like so many Americans who would limit or eliminate Americans’ right to keep and bear arms, Metcalf, the “historian” claims that his wildly incorrect interpretation of “regulate” not only allows all manner of regulation of the Second Amendment, but that such regulations do not constitute infringement.

Metcalf went on to become a competitive shooter who has hunted on five continents, as well as a historian. He has been studying and writing about the Bill of Rights and firearms for 37 years. He has taught at Yale and Cornell, enacted concealed-carry laws across the country, and authored pro-firearms legislation.

But he is not opposed to mandatory training for gun owners, and tighter regulation of firearms.

We have over 75,000 firearms rules and regulations on the books, and approximately three of them are ever enforced,’ Metcalf explained, to some nervous laughter in the audience.

‘As for federal laws, there are eight, and only two have been enforced in any significant way, ever. We can’t afford and we don’t have the personnel to enforce the laws that we have on the books right now. What good is it going to do to enact any others?’

‘Do you think universal background checks make sense,’ [Atlantic Media editorial director Ron] Brownstein asked, ‘particularly that they be extended to gun shows?’

“This is an interesting one. What defines a background check? How far do you go with it?

How far indeed? He mentioned the recent Illinois law to that effect, suggesting that the NRA agreed with it in a spirit of compromise. What Metcalf failed to mention is that the Illinois laws–including concealed carry– were forced on an unwilling state by federal courts. Without that mandate, the Illinois legislature would never have allowed concealed carry and would have continued to violate the Constitution, just as Chicago continues to do, writing abusively restrictive laws even in the face of court orders, laws that will be struck down yet again and again, as Chicago continues to drag its feet and deny the basic right of self-defense to its citizens.

Compromise is a bad word these days,’ Metcalf said. ‘Say conciliation. That’s how you sit down with someone who has different principles, and you get something positive done.

Metcalf plays at words, failing to explain that anti-gunners are absolutely unwilling to compromise. And that when one is speaking of an unalienable right – a right intended to give the average man or woman the ability not only to preserve their life but to deter and resist tyranny – compromising any part of that right puts society on a path to rendering it meaningless.

And what do anti-gunners have to give? What will they surrender in exchange for essential and irreplaceable liberty? They enter any negotiation knowing they have nothing to exchange and that they will give nothing; they speak the language of compromise knowing in advance they will compromise nothing at all.

A critical roll in Metcalf’s termination, Brownstein noted, was that of pressure from the advertisers in Guns & Ammo.

‘I believe that everyone I knew, even the people who worked for the companies responsible for the advertising pressure—because they are hearing [from customers], ‘We’ll never buy another one of your products if you continue to advertise in this magazine that has this anti-American traitor in it—but they all believe it,’ Metcalf said. ‘I can’t tell you how many senior executives at firearms companies, over a beer when no one’s watching, will say, ‘You do know we realize that, of course, at least a third of our customers shouldn’t be let within five miles of a gun.

Really? It would surely be interesting for Mr. Metcalf to name those “senior executives,” so that they have the opportunity to comment on his assertion.

There are consumer publications for gun fans,’ Metcalf said. “There are consumer publications for motorcycle fans. [What would happen if you] start writing about whether or not there should be helmet laws in those magazines? Special interest publications are all over the place, and there is a certain set of limits where discussion is allowed.’

Homogenous media communities with very different understandings of reality, where challenging prevailing assumptions is out of bounds, may be growing in popularity. ‘People are looking to media now to be a cheerleader for their point of view,’ Brownstein said. ‘There’s less interest in dialogue over competing points of view than there is for affirmation of [the reader’s] own point of view.

For people who have worked in the publishing industry for many years, Metcalf and Brownstein seem amazingly uninformed of its inner workings. Metcalf has no right to write for Guns & Ammo. He has no right to write for any publication; no one does. Writers sell their writings to publications interested in their point of view for very specific reasons. In fact, Metcalf’s views are being featured in Hamblin’s article, and in The Atlantic, because of their general editorial stance, which serves the needs and interests of their readers.

No one reads Guns & Ammo in the expectation of finding writing that advocates additional regulations on the right to keep and bear arms, or the abolition of the Second Amendment. People know where to find such advocacy–The Atlantic, for example. This does not mean that Guns & Ammo, indeed, even NRA publications, exclude the arguments of gun-banners. But their general editorial stance does not advocate limitations on liberty. Which is what Metcalf did and continues to do.

Were advertisers upset with Metcalf? Almost certainly, but not primarily because of what he said. Advertisers support publications because those publications produce an expected minimum number of people interested in buying their products. When publications do anything that would diminish that level of interest, advertisers either take steps to remedy the problem or find publications that are more productive in meeting their expectations.

But even if advertisers were primarily upset with Metcalf’s arguments, Metcalf had ultimate control over his fate. He knew, from long experience, precisely what the readers, editors and publisher of Guns & Ammo expected of him. He knew the editorial limitations of his writing yet chose to not only exceed them, but to oppose them. Metcalf made a choice, and in the private sector, choices that cost one’s employer money usually result in firing. Metcalf’s editor also erred in publishing the piece, and he too paid for costing his employer money.

For a man that seeks to return to the embrace of the firearm community, Metcalf engages in egregious insults. There are few firearm owners that don’t at least suspect that gun-grabbers consider them inferior beings, as does President Obama, who once committed a gaffe–accidently said what he really believes–noting that every day Americans are

…bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, to anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.

Add to Mr. Obama’s beliefs, those of Metcalf, who apparently believes that supporters of liberty that do not appreciate his ideas are literacy challenged:

In the 1970s and 80s when I wrote things that generated a substantial response, that would be about 10 letters,’ Metcalf said. ‘Generally speaking they weren’t quite so outrageous [as the responses writers receive today]. My wife was reading some of the responses and said, ‘I didn’t know you could send emails written in crayon.’

I’m sure Metcalf’s Aspen audience found that most amusing. And what does Metcalf think reasonable?

Metcalf said it seems logical that if we can require people to get training before the operate a car, we can require them to get training before operating a firearm.

Again, notice that Metcalf adopts gun-banner language, tone and tactics. Motor vehicle operation is a state-regulated privilege. The Second Amendment is an unalienable, fundament right. While Metcalf’s comparison might sound clever and insightful to the uninformed or to those willing to ignore fact and law, he’s comparing apples to elephants. One would think a man of Metcalf’s experience would know better.

Metcalf is equally dismissive of the NRA and its contributions to America:

Metcalf noted that the NRA claims 5 million members. ‘I think that’s inflated, but even if you take them at their word, around 80 million Americans own firearms.  To say that it represents the firearm-owning public [is inaccurate]. The NRA is one of the most effective lobbying organizations that the United States has ever produced.

The NRA’s claim of more than five million dues-paying members is entirely credible. No one in Congress doubts that number because they know the NRA can prove it, and that when those members are incensed, they produce sufficient correspondence to Congress that convinces them that five million members is likely on the low side.

The NRA’s effectiveness comes from several factors. It is the most effective, truly grass-roots organization in America, not because it somehow wields unaccountable, evil lobbying power, but because it defends the Second Amendment, and represents more than five million Americans determined to defend the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution.

It is also the most effective source of firearm safety information and training in American history. “To say that it represents the firearm-owning public [is inaccurate]”? To say otherwise is deceptive. The NRA doesn’t represent the precise views of every American that owns a gun, no organization can. But it represents the fundamental views of more Americans than any other lobbying organization, and by an enormous margin.

And of course, Metcalf was fired, and gun owners are evil and wrong because they are racists and evangelical Christians and because they don’t live in urban areas:

To what extent is the gun debate actually about guns? Brownstein asked, citing that only 28 percent of people in urban areas live in a home with a gun, but 59 percent in rural areas do. White people are twice as likely as black people to live in a home with a gun. Evangelical Christians are much more likely to own guns than are secular people.

‘We know that gun ownership tracks a lot of other cultural divides that shape the partisan and ideological standoff in America,’ Brownstein said. ‘Is all the passion about guns a broader statement about who defines what America values?

There is little question that the gun debate is fueled in part by differing cultural beliefs, and that people that live on the east and west coasts are more likely–regardless of race, color, gender or national origin–to reflect an anti-gun outlook. However, such “gaps” are “bridged” every day, and during the age of Obama, an unprecedented number of Americans have become first-time gun owners, and NRA members, Yet Metcalf holds out no hope for such crayon-scribbling rubes:

I think it’s an unbridgeable gap, because neither side will trust the other. I’m afraid I’m not optimistic in the aftermath of what happened to me.

Dick Metcalf is not entirely anti-gun. But he remains willing to surrender much moral and legal ground that the NRA and gun owners have fought long and hard to gain. Gun owners know that gun-banners will say and do anything to obtain their goals. They know that they promise “dialogue” and claim to want only “reasonable, common sense regulations,” but their definitions of dialogue and reason and common sense are very different from those reasonable, common sense Americans use every day.

For a man that wants to rejoin their ranks, Metcalf continues to say and do precisely the wrong things. Understanding all too well that everyone makes mistakes, gun owners tend to be forgiving people. However, forgiveness and acceptance require honest, demonstrated contrition, something Metcalf seems unwilling to provide.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

135 Responses to Dick Metcalf, Unforgiven

  1. “What happened to me”.

    Gets my vote for passively constructed negligent verbal discharge of the day.

  2. I disagree with Dick’s comments regarding and apparent support for gun control, but I have to echo his disappointment for the reflexive shouting down of any dissent or discussion what-so-ever. When I wrote my background check piece, I started off by clearly stating that I know for a fact that background checks don’t prevent crime, that I don’t support any gun control from an ideological stand point and that my only goal was to cripple the opposition by taking away their strongest talking point and minimizing it’s effect on us while restoring many of our rights that have been taken away. There was lots of great debate, but also lot’s of “if you aren’t with us, you’re against us.”

    My primary fear is that the more people we turn away the smaller our ranks become. We’ll go from being the Pro-Gun side to the Pro-Gun corner. Then we’ll lose. I think it’s possible to call out people like Dick without turning them to the other side.

      • Are you asking me for my response to his original comments? It’s pretty straight forward:

        I agree that every single ‘accidental’ gun death and negligent discharge is avoidable, and I agree that training is very important. That said, training laws fail to take into account unique, individual factors. Someone who grew up shooting doesn’t need official, state mandated training. Additionally, it’s important to remember that about 4% of gun deaths are accidents – the rest are suicides and homicides, making training entirely moot. Of those 4%, at least one third involve alcohol, and we can assume many more involve overt negligence, which also makes training entirely ineffectual. All that by itself should be enough to convince a logical person to focus their live saving efforts elsewhere, but consider also that “training” and “gun safety” are often Trojan horses for gun control. As an example I submit the City of Chicago in Metcalf’s very home state: In the aftermath of Chicago v. McDonald the city instituted strict training requirements, calling for 12 hours of range time. Seems reasonable enough, until you take into account that firing ranges are banned within the city of Chicago. Training here becomes a fool’s errand. With all of this in mind, training mandates are clearly ineffectual at best, and detrimental to gun rights at worst.

        Is that what you were looking for?

        • So how is progress going on the BlinkyPete scholarship gun training school going. Where did you locate? Metro cesspool or in the unwashed redneckland? How many graduates do you have. Seeing quantifiable results? Got enough support from ______________?

          Or still just yapping?

        • I was concerned about where you stood … until you spelled it out. Bravo!

    • I’m afraid that our ranks will become smaller as some of “pro-liberty” are willing to compromise. As the article states: enemies of liberty have nothing to offer, freedom is inevitable.

      • I think there are a lot of people who are naturally fence sitters, and the more of them who slip over to our side (and that’s a blanket reference to “pro-liberty”) the stronger, and freer, we are.

        • Sometimes just having them sit on the fence is good enough. At no point during the Revolutionary War did the Patriots (and to the other extent the Loyalist) cause ever have the majority support of the Colonists. Now granted, if asked, everyone has a opinion either way, but most were content with whoever won and stayed on the sidelines. To most, they didn’t have any dog in the fight.

          I view most political issues in the same manner. The general public can either benefit by the ones that sacrifice and fought for Liberty, or become complicit slaves when the allure of Tyranny takes hold.

    • The problem is that offering to accept ‘universal’ (except for the gang banger black market) background checks won’t get us anything. Gun banners aren’t interested in that sort of ‘compromise’ they just want the check because it’s “common sense”.

      On the other hand, say in some alternative world the gun banners would be willing to trade such background checks for universal carry reciprocity, do you really think that they’d not be back pushing their entire agenda (including eliminating any type of carry) before the ink was dry?

  3. Please note: Any and all obscene, abusive, threatening or just plain nasty comments will be deleted. Persistent posters of these types of comments will be banned. We do this to keep TTAG family-friendly and deny the antis ammo. If you wish to discuss this policy email thetruthaboutguns@gmail.com.

  4. It is a small point, but the only people required to get training before getting a drivers license, are those who want to get a drivers license at 16 or 17 years old. If you’re 18 or older, perhaps 21 in some states, you can get a drivers license with no training at all.

    I have a drivers license and never got any training in my entire life.

    • Well, everyone gets “training”. Your dad or mom teaching you is “training”. “Training” isn’t strictly gubment provided.

    • I went to driving school for a discount on insurance. It wasn’t a state requirement to obtain a license.

      • ditto. only 3 requirements to get your license (at the time)… be of legal age, pass the written test, pass the on-road test. if you paid for an accredited driving instructor the on-road test was waived. otherwise there was no restriction on walking into the DMV fresh off the boat and scheduling and taking both tests.

    • That’s a really good point. Massachusetts didn’t require me to pass driver’s ed to get a license – I just had to wait until I was 18.

    • As noted in the article, all comparisons of the RKBA to driving are invalid from the get-go. There is no “right to drive”, and the courts have EXPLICITLY confirmed that time and again. Only the hopelessly obtuse or the intentionally deceptive make that comparison to argue for “reasonable” regulation of firearms.

    • There is a distinction between “training” and “testing”.

      Even in Canada, where testing is required for a Possession and Acquisition License, there are various private providers of courses, but you can also just challenge the exam without taking the course.

      Not that this is an endorsement of training or testing requirements, but they ain’t quite the same thing.

  5. “citing that only 28 percent of people in urban areas live in a home with a gun, but 59 percent in rural areas do. White people are twice as likely as black people to live in a home with a gun.”

    Here’s the thing, does “gun owner” mean law abiding citizen or does it also include crack dealers? 97% of shootings in NYC are committed by blacks and Hispanics but those aren’t the beer swilling, sister humping, G-d bothering redneck good ol’boys he has in mind are they?

  6. “I’m sure Metcalf’s Aspen audience found that most amusing. And what does Metcalf think reasonable?

    Metcalf said it seems logical that if we can require people to get training before the operate a car, we can require them to get training before operating a firearm.

    Again, notice that Metcalf adopts gun-banner language, tone and tactics. Motor vehicle operation is a state-regulated privilege. The Second Amendment is an unalienable, fundament right. While Metcalf’s comparison might sound clever and insightful to the uninformed or to those willing to ignore fact and law, he’s comparing apples to elephants. One would think a man of Metcalf’s experience would know better.”

    I say nay nay. Slight clarification…. The right to travel freely is also a right of the people. motor vehicle operation is a state-regulated(infringed) right.

    However, the enumerated 2nd Amendment clearly states SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. It is the ONLY enumerated right that specifically says it shall not be infringed.

    Metcalf is no friend of gun rights, no friend of American liberty and no friend of mine.

    • There is a right to interstate travel. It does not necessarily implicate a right to personally drive a motor vehicle. And again, intra-state driving is not a “right” at all. Can’t disagree with the rest of your post, tho. Metcalf has apparently become another disgruntled former employee ranting against what his former employer purports to stand for.

  7. Well I stated awhile back that Metcalf could and would vindicate himself and I was wrong on that one. I hate it when old guys go “Woody Hayes” and ruin a great career in an instant. I hate it more when they go “Pete Rose” and blow multiple chances to wipe the slate clean. I’ll still leave the light on for you Dick. Just don’t come home drunk.

  8. I agreed that we should discuss the oppositions arguments, if only to do a better job at defeating them. But I find myself in the camp that says we should never advocate any additional regulations, because it is a one-way ratchet. A freedom lost will never be regained. So the only possible answer is to start with a resounding “NO!”

    • The most confusing thing is that Metcalf postulates that there are many laws on the books and that they are never enforced. If this is true, what good will more laws accomplish? Does he not see the illogic of his own argument?

  9. Interesting. It feels a little like he just stopped short of blaming the NRA for him getting fired, didn’t it?

    Metcalf may very well be the only documented case of a pro-gun guy turning anti-gun without banging Charlize Theron.

  10. He was fired for writing material that was not kosher with the magazine. Much like I would be canned for writing something in social media or an sending an email that was extremely contrary to my company’s mission. Boo Hoo Metcalf. I know people like him, looking down their noses at others while stating their ‘big ideas’ on things, tossing in higher levels of vocabulary than the audiences can process. “Wow…isn’t Metcalf awesome.” Pfffft.

  11. Metcalf is truly ignorant about the actual words in addition to the meaning of the 2A. He deserved what he got. He is anathema to me.

  12. pertenant comment was ” dickie sells his writings to any mag that will buy them”. I definitely feel that most “gun writers” are pimps and whores for the gun manufacturers. so rarely do they ever negatively review any new product,(except GUN TESTS) maybe, they will make some minor criticism such as grips are ugly, sights are sharp, etc.
    dick when he lauded the lack of need for AR-15’s for private ownership was just showing his ignorance and how shallow he is, thought he had a thought provoking story, learned the cold hard facts of life the hard way..

  13. Well Dick… I would suggest you go grab a history book and a dictionary. Then you might actually understand the concept of “infringement” and “regulation”. Right now, you’re claiming that the founding fathers included a concept in the Constitution that didn’t exist until the start of the 20th century. That’s an awfully good crystal ball.

  14. Metcalf’s problem is he doesn’t understand the totalitarian nature of the gun control side. They will never be satisfied until all guns are banned including the traditional hunting rifle.

    You cannot coexist with someone that is emotional driven, so sure of their superiority that they are never wrong and the only people that would disagree with them are sub-human evil. There is no coexisting with that and to pretend so to assuage your delicate psyche is the height of cognitive dissonance.

    On the other hand, if Metcalf is interviewing for a job with Everytown, he’s doing fantastic. If he throws in a penis envy or bitter clinger afraid of colored people, he’ll be a shoe in.

    • “Metcalf’s problem is he doesn’t understand the totalitarian nature of the gun control side.”

      My thoughts exactly. The gun-controll movement is fueled by a moral absolutism that views “reasonableness” and “compromise” only in terms of us incrementally accepting its demands. I thought Metcalf’s article, was stunningly naive. It’s a curious thing when erstwhile thoughtful people seem to run off their intellectual tracks and then—like Metcalf—express surprise and indignation when people call them on it. I have friends in Austin who sometimes do this. They claim to be conservatives but occasionally start sounding like liberals. Must be something in the air.

  15. I am a self taught driver. It’s driving a car, not brain surgery.

    No training was required. I have voluntarily taken NRA courses, but I did not have to to obtain my Firearms ID Card (NJ).

  16. So much fail from Dick & the Atlantic.

    Besides those already mentioned:
    – They make fun of, without citation, the literacy of emails, yet publish
    “A critical roll in Metcalf’s termination, Brownstein noted, was that of pressure from the advertisers in Guns & Ammo.”
    That would be role, not roll. And there’s a missing verb.

    -Also, using their NRA logic:
    The NAACP has 300,000 members. There are approx 45,000,000 African-Americans in the U.S. Therefore, the NAACP doesn’t doesn’t black people.
    NOW has 500,000 members. There are approx 160,000,000 women in the U.S. Therefore… etc.

  17. I believe that every responsible gun owner should get adequate training in firearms safety, either from a professional or a competent friend or relative. To have the government mandate this training is a path to disaster.

  18. Interesting that the spokesperson for the Atlantic would mention that it is a dire situation where those of differing opinions are denied a voice, where were they when several major left leaning/progressive media organizations banned letters/opinion pieces from ‘global warming deniers’? Sure, they are welcoming of differing opinions, absolutely.

  19. We were able to regain lost freedoms once, when the AWB expired in 2004. Then again with the Heller decision. It’s not exactly as clear as “once a right is lost, it is gone forever.” You can prove that the law was useless, or unconstitutional. You can even demonstrate, through widespread lawlessness, that a certain law is beneath contempt, and turn public opinion toward repeal on those grounds alone (pot legalization, anyone?) The unenforceable nature of many of the recent state laws reminds me of Richard Macks lawsuit against the Brady Bill;

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/048614-2007-06-22-mack-vs-brady-10-years-after-a-defeat-of-the.htm

    I am not giving up hope that we can defeat EVERY LAST PIECE of their agenda if we stick together. Instead of speaking of compromise, we should be discussing which lost right we will restore next.

  20. “Metcalf wasn’t fired for presenting a contrary point of view…”

    Load of bullshit. That’s exactly why he was fired. If he’d made some historical errors or used anecdotes etc in a pro-gun rights article, he’d still be writing there.

    • Well, to be fair, I expect if his article hadn’t resulted in such a backlash from the readership, he would still be employed there. I would say he was fired for pissing off the customers.

    • To be even more fair, it wasn’t just “some historical errors or… anecdotes”. Rather, as the author here states (emphasis added):

      “His employment was terminated because he made fundamental errors of history, tone, language and tactics. He badly misstated the history of the Second Amendment and its purpose. In his phrasing and syntax, HE MIRRORED THE ARGUMENTS OF ANTI-GUN POLITICIANS AND ACTIVISTS; his language demonstrated a sloppiness and lack of understanding of the construction of the Second Amendment. HE USED THE PRECISE, DECEPTIVE TACTICS OF THE GUN-BANNERS, ARGUING FOR THEIR GOALS MUCH AS THEY DO.”

      That’s quite a bit more than just expressing a contrary point of view (like Dom Rasso does all the time).

    • Very true.

      A load of utter steaming bullshit.

      But, beware, you will be called a dick lover because of it.

  21. Holy wall of text, Batman! I’ll admit I read almost none of it but that won’t keep me from commenting. 😛

    Poor Metcalf. He didn’t get the memo that the POTG are through with any kind of compromise. We’ve seen what that gets us: less today than we had yesterday and always the progressives come back for more to leave us with less. The only kind of compromise I’ll entertain is what we just got in Illinois. It’s not great but it’s more than we used to have. We can come back and get more in a few years.

    • We can come back and get more in a few years.

      Yup.

      Slow, incremental rollbacks are the way to go. Big changes make people nervous, small changes are easier to achieve and make it harder for the antis to make it sound like the sky is falling.

      • Another advantage to smaller changes is they can have a snowball effect. When you make a smaller change, and then can show that the dire predictions of those who were against it didn’t come true, you take away some of their power to oppose you the next time around.

        I think one of the strongest arguments we have on our side is all the data showing that violent crime rates have been falling for the past couple of decades, even though firearms freedom (and ownership) has been generally increasing over that time.

    • Compromise means both sides give up something. When we give up rights and the antis get exactly what they want (just not all at once) that isn’t compromise, it’s just delaying the end.

    • We really need to do this.

      It would be a great contrast to his oh so condescending “illiterate butthurt gunut” crap.

      Can we start a campaign for these letters?
      I’m with you.

  22. From the article,

    “Motor vehicle operation is a state-regulated privilege.”

    I personally disagree with the idea that movement in any fashion, whether walking, running, riding a bicycle, or driving a motorized vehicle, is a “privilege” in any sense of the word … which means the state has no legitimate business regulating people.

    I am on-board with establishing the most basic of protocols for movement such as crosswalks, driving on the right side of the road, and traffic signals to prevent collisions.

    • The car analogy is a false equivalence to guns anyway. I know of no regulation that limits what kind of car you can OWN. Is it unlawful to drive 100 MPH through a residential street? Is it unlawful to drive with open headers on the public roads? Yes, and likewise there are obvious and reasonable restrictions for what you can DO with a gun, like pointing and shooting at people that aren’t threatening you.

      Do they want to adopt the car model for gun ownership? That would be a great idea for places like CA*, NY, MA and NJ.

      *Interestingly CA does have some restrictions on what kind of car you can buy (Bob Barker: including California Emissions) but you can still own anything you want. Getting it tagged may be something else though.

    • The justification/rationalization for the regulation of cars is that the roads are a part of “The Commons.” Everybody owns them, so nobody is responsible for them. And of course, “Roads” are always the first rationalization for government control, or for the existence of government at all!

      Sure, a map room and a land office are necessary, but it is criminally insane to give the Registrar of Deeds the power to imprison people that the regime disagrees with.

  23. Dick Metcalf is the kind of guy that would open the gates of Rome to let the barbarians in. Then he could attmept to compromise with them so they don’t rape and pillage the entire city, just parts he doesn’t like. There is no compromise Dick, they still want you dead, but they will thank you for opening the gate before they run you through. He is a useful idiot.

  24. “I think it’s an unbridgeable gap, because neither side will trust the other.” — Dick Metcalf

    What Dick Metcalf fails to understand is that this “unbridgeable gap” is the same gap that happens when a violent criminal demands that we surrender our wives or daughters to them.

    Newsflash Mr. Metcalf: evil people exist in the world and they want our property, liberty, and lives. Those evil people have created the “unbridgeable gap”. Go blame them, not us.

    • “…evil people exist in the world and they want our property, liberty, and lives.”

      And the masses who follow these evil people are doubly dangerous, because they believe in the righteousness of their cause.

  25. How about suggesting firearms safety classes in public high schools? I know the leftists behind the teachers’ unions would rather lick broken glass off hot pavement than allow any kind of positive message concerning firearms to reach the students, but them shouting for a training requirement would look so much weaker in the face of an offer to actually train kids. “You want safety training? OK, let’s do it. Put up or shut up.”

    • +1. This used to be handled with participation in Boy/Girl Scouts, but with the decline in societal values, it’s more of a rarity to see kids involved with these groups than it was in the 70s/80s. Problem is, teachers are glorified babysitters these days. They instruct by handing out study guides and canned assignments designed by commercial education firms like Pearson and McGraw-Hill. Teaching firearm training would actually require them to interact with the students.

  26. Actually, Dick, many motorcycle magazines that espouse the freedom of riding avoid any article or commentator who would advocate for helmet laws or other such ‘safe riding’ laws.
    Like shooters, bikers are a community who by and large believe in a live and let live sort of philosophy, as long as your living doesn’t endanger me. There are certainly groups within each who bemoan those who ride without helmets or call for carrying without a “By Your Leave” from The State, but they tend to be a minority.

    • Those aren’t quite parallel. It’s one thing to say that a) you ought to wear a helmet or b) you ought not to carry; it’s another to say c) you should be required to wear a helmet or d) you should not be allowed to carry without permission. A and B are advice, allegedly aimed at the prudent (I disagree with B wholeheartedly, but that doesn’t change its intent). C and D are requests for someone to coerce people into the suggested course of action. As such A and D really shouldn’t be compared to each other.

  27. Mike McDaniel,

    Nice article; ads clarity to the Metcalf debacle and his apparent Benedict Arnold act into the dark side of gun control. That was a great evaluation of the various historical, political, and social aspects being misused by grabbers and embraced by Metcalf to further the gun control crusade with ill-informed and misrepresented facts. I was particularly glad to see reference to the cultural divide aspect where Metcalf and his ilk have adopted an anti 2A position and speak to the progressive state dependent entitlement crowd while leaving behind the self-empowered, self-reliant, independent and politically awake pro-gun crowd who were his audience.

    In any case, the bottom line is as you discussed above to follow the money. Metcalf burned the hand that fed him with some bizarre idea that he could embrace the antis’ ideas in a pro-gun magazine and not be called on it. Metcalf got what he deserved, and he deserved what he got. Continuing to run his mouth the way he is only confirms his firing was appropriate and fitting.

  28. “if we can require people to get training before the operate a car, we can require them to pass a competency test before being allowed to vote.”

    “if we can require people to get training before the operate a car, we can require them to get training before having children.”

    Change the subject and it doesn’t sound so Land of the Free anymore, does it?

  29. POTG should create a term for being disgraced and subsequently ostracized in the gun community… We can called getting “Metcalfed.”

    “Dude, what happened to Bob? He doesn’t come to the range with us anymore?”

    “Yeah, he said he was ok with gun control and an AWB, so we Metcalfed him.”

  30. Comparing an enumerated Constitutional right to the privilege of driving reveals either ignorance of our Constitution or indifference toward it. In Metcalf’s case, I’m sure it’s the latter since he seemed to understand it at one time.

  31. The first time I read his “nobody needs an ar15” article I thought he’s just a throwback to the time the NRA and other gun owners were only interested in hunting. The NRA ILA is still only half dedicated to gun legislation and half to hunting legislation. As a gun owner that thinks of guns first as a hunting tool, second as home defense tool, third as a recreational item, and hasn’t carried until today (open carry preemption goes into effect in my state today) my initial reaction was I can see why he would think that even though I disagree.

    I thought he was one of those guys who were just like the older relative that need to be brought up to speed, like the uncle that says “why are those kids always texting when they already got a phone in their hand they should just call them up and talk to them…and get off my lawn”.

    Now I’m going to have to rethink my attitude and start suspecting every old fashioned “I just care about my hunting rifle” guy out there and wonder if they’re part of the “rights for me but not for thee” crowd. Gee thanks a lot Dick!…(edit)…Dick Metcalf I mean (I thought I should clarify)

  32. I absolutely agree that the “comma” in the Second Amendment separates two distinct statements that are independent of each other in meaning and MUST be interpreted as such. If there is any dependence at all, it is that the validity of the first statement depends on the second. So, the word “regulated” applies only to the militia in the context of the times. After the Militia Act of 1903 (The Dick Act) the militia was changed from the Founder’s concept to a politician’s concept. It might have been better to alter the Second Amendment at that time to read simply, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” thereby eliminating the apparent confusion derived from the omitted first statement.

    The argument that gun laws are not being enforced, so more gun laws are needed is just stupid. Enforce the laws on the books, if you must, but I believe the reason they are not being enforced is that the POTUS’ Administration deliberately chooses NOT to enforce them, so as to fuel its own anti-gun agenda and that of the Democratic Socialist Party. They know darned good and well that as long as they don’t enforce those laws the result will be the call for “more gun control laws”. It is the same principle as their refusal to secure the southern border before any rational immigration reform can be enacted. We all know what is going on down there now.

    Mr. Metcalf richly deserves his pariah status in the gun owning community, his termination by “Guns & Ammo Magazine” and to remain “unforgiven”. He has wasted his learning of History and squandered whatever intellectual acumen he may have possessed at one time now, apparently, in the past..

    There will never be any useful dialog with the left and the anti-gun crowd because their agenda is to take…take…TAKE! until the Second Amendment is nullified. All they really want is to impose their will on everyone, everywhere, about everything, all the time. It has little to do with the Second Amendment per se, and everything to do with those of us who prize our independence, natural rights and freedom above all else, and will resist further loss (than we have already experienced in today’s iteration of the Republic) to the bitterest end! ( *stepping off soapbox* )

  33. “The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, Metcalf noted, ‘not that it shall not be regulated.’ Rather the first four words of the amendment, ‘a well regulated militia,’ not only allow but mandate regulation”

    When Metcalf said this, he was technically correct that the founding fathers wanted a well regulated militia. In fact they mandated regulation. However, his definition of mandate regulation is wrong.
    The founding fathers didn’t want restrictions. Instead they wanted everyone over the age of 18 and under 45 to provide their own military style long arm, ammo, and kit; as well as show up for mandatory drilling to make sure they knew how to use it.

    What the writers of the second amendment envisioned was a well armed citizen militia who possessed military arms and who knew how to use them.
    If we had that well regulated militia today everyone would own a full auto capable M16, high capacity magazines, ammo, gear and know how to use it. We would look more like the Swiss when it came to private arms.

    Don’t take my word for it, here is an excerpt from the militia act of 1792: ”
    That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service”

    So yes Metcalf is partially right about mandatory regulation. The founders wanted a well regulated militia which in today’s terms would mean every able bodied male would have to buy a military rifle and accessories and learn how to use it as part of being a citizen. However they didn’t require them to train BEFORE they got the rifle, or anything else. Owning the rifle was part of the package of being a free man.

    Why?
    Because: “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”- George Washington

    • That GW quote doesn’t have quite the flavor of his time. Has this quote been vetted and sourced? Like the message, regardless.

      • http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/spurious-quotations

        This quote is partially accurate as the beginning section is taken from Washington’s First Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union. However, the quote is then manipulated into a differing context and the remaining text is inaccurate. Here is the actual text from Washington’s speech:

        “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

  34. 40-20-40.

    There’s a theory in politics that only 20% of the population really matter. 40% vote one way regardless of any rational consideration, 40% vote the opposite for the the same reason. So that 20% middle group is where the action is.

    Dick wrote some stuff as his opinion. Ive seen the same opinions proposed here with the same knee jerk reactions. He’s not Gun enough. He’s gone over. Get off my lawn. So Ok, he doesnt fit in the 40% crowd. but in his career he’s probably brought more gun owners and sportsmen into the fold than all of us combined.

  35. It seems to me that “A well-regulated militia” empowers the government to do a number of things, none of which can be applied as a *precondition* to owning a firearm.

    The government could require everybody of service age to own a firearm.
    The government could require everybody of service age to own a *particular* firearm.
    The government could require everybody of service age to practice/drill and provide proof thereof.
    I can even imagine the government fining or garnishing wages until the above conditions are met.
    * See the various Militia Acts

    None of these things can be required before one can “keep and bear arms.”

    All *regulation* in the modern sense is done for a single purpose, and that is to “raise the bar,” making it more difficult for the poor to own the means of self-defense. By my estimation, and I hope many of yours, that makes gun control, in all its guises, not only unconstitutional, but an evil of immense proportions.

    We owe no apology to Dick Metcalf.

    P.S. If you want a welfare program I could get behind, how about a “Gun Per Household” act.

  36. ‘We have over 75,000 firearms rules and regulations on the books, and approximately three of them are ever enforced,’ Metcalf explained, to some nervous laughter in the audience.

    ‘As for federal laws, there are eight, and only two have been enforced in any significant way, ever. We can’t afford and we don’t have the personnel to enforce the laws that we have on the books right now. What good is it going to do to enact any others?’
    So the solution is to enact more laws? This is almost beyond parody. Almost

  37. Metcalf isn’t a gungrabber. He’s probably a nice guy. It’s just that he’s a Fudd. No, check that. He’s practically a Fudd Prince. He’s the kind of Fudd Prince that the NRA purged during and after the Cincinnati Revolution.

    Metcalf is an irrelevant fossil from another age. Let the man wither away in his own time. He will not be missed.

    • Right now he seems to be functioning as a gun-grabber enabler. Fortunately, as a whole they still don’t seem to be getting much traction except in the already hopelessly “progressive” states.

      • Right now he seems to be functioning as a gun-grabber enabler.

        More like a gungrabber tool. That’s the thing about Fudds. They think that they’re “pro gun” because they own a Beretta Imperial Montecarlo and once shot a duck.

        • Don’t a lot of gungrabbers claim to be pro-second amendment because they own a gun (maybe 2) and then say “your guns should be taken away but not the guns that protect me (like the armed guards prominently pointed out here on TTAG)”? the only difference I see in his viewpoint is “your guns but not the ones I hunt with”.

          That seems like more than an enabler or a tool to me.

          I wouldn’t go as far as saying “once shot a duck” though. I still give Fudds the benefit of the doubt about being hunters until they make it obvious they only once shot a duck.

  38. An excellent dissection of Metcalf’s many blunders and failure to understand the statist gun control movement. He will receive no pity from me.

  39. “‘I can’t tell you how many senior executives at firearms companies, over a beer when no one’s watching, will say, ‘You do know we realize that, of course, at least a third of our customers shouldn’t be let within five miles of a gun.”

    Ha! If you are willing to demonize a whole third of gun owners with absolutely nothing to back it up, you shouldn’t be surprised when you are fired.

    What a piece of work. Martyr complex anyone?

    • Do you want a little irony? Metcalf still hasn’t figured out that he’s in the third that the manufacturers were talking about.

  40. OK I will be brave and I will ask the question: Is regulation an infringement?

    ….

    Well yes, yes it is.

    You didn’t get canned, Dick, for asking the question. You got canned for answering it stupidly.

  41. The way metcalf was treated was wrong. period.

    I disagree strongly with the bunch of intolerant assholes people can be. Its perfectly acceptable to have strong feelings when it comes to civil liberties, but it is not acceptable to silence opposition.

    I disagree with some of what metcalf said, but he was spot on when it came to enforcement of existing laws. Its not being done. We definitely dont have the personnel and budget to ensure there is widespread enforcement. This could be helped significantly by making the background check system more efficient (such as giving people the ability to do their own background checks ((login to the system)) when they conduct a private sale) and actually making criminals do time when they use a firearm in the commission of a crime.

    Indeed. How far do you want to go with a background check? what constitutes a background check? this is a point of contention among many.

    With that being said, I disagree with state mandated training. state mandated purchasing of safes. state mandated anything but enforcement of our basic laws. BUT: gun owners, you need to be taking the fvcking initiative! get training! buy a gun safe! view your gun with a sense of utmost moral responsibility. Dont be a dumbass. Don’t use your unpainted AR15 safequeen to protest at chipotles.

    Its really not that difficult.

    • He may be right about how little enforcement of those laws there is. Our beef isn’t with that statement. It’s his apparent belief that those registration, background laws, etcetera should exist in the first place that makes him problematic. Yes, he got kicked off a magazine for espousing that.

      But that’s NOT suppression of his right to free speech; no one here wants to put a muzzle on him. We haven’t silenced him. Obviously, or we wouldn’t have this particular bloviation to talk about. We just don’t want to pay him to say these things either directly or indirectly through G&A.

      You have a right to say what you want. I have a right to refuse to continue to employ you or buy your product if I don’t like what you are saying. I even have a right to refuse to give you esitorial space in a publication I own. And in no way would I be “silencing” you by doing so.

        • Indeed.

          No real “right” can be a claim on the resources of another (though many phony rights are *cough*”right” to health care or a taxpayer funded abortion*cough*). My owning a gun, or speaking my mind, do not make a claim on you or anyone else for the use of your resources. Referring to someone, who is sick and tired of the BS you are spouting and decides he doesn’t want to pay for it any more as somehow suppressing your right to free speech turns the very notion of a “right” on its head.

        • Hey! Calm down! It’s going to be alright. Don’t you think that when “one of us” takes a view that is not in line with the spirit of the Constitution that the reaction is naturally going to be harsh? And firing a writer that causes negative reactions by the very people that pay the bills, to me is hardly tarring and feathering. Just let it go man. You really don’t have a good point to make. What is done is done. Metcalf could have seen his error but he refused. I don’t see what you want us to say? Except he got what he deserved. You dissagree? So be it.

      • Bullying and threats IS suppression, first of all. Which did happen. His livelihood was also affected when it wasn’t anti-gun to begin with. it was just not compatible with a minority’s viewpoint that the 2nd amendment is unlimited. No enumerated right is unlimited.

        Second, people can respond in a matter parallel with the first amendment, so Dick is not immune from criticism. I wont argue for that. You can boycott his publications all you want. That is perfectly acceptable.

        Dont accuse me of being a Dick (Metcalf) when i dont want to join the tar and feathering bandwagon of the man.

    • I’m afraid you just don’t get it. There is no middle ground, no reasonable acceptance, that will satisfy the gun-control movement. Each compromise will simply be accompanied by yet more demands for “commonsense” changes that support ever more restrictive gun-controls. Metcalf’s fail is that he didn’t get this, either.

      I think, Metcalf suffered a loss of political will. I’m sure he had he his reasons for this but I doubt we’ll ever truly know what they are. What we’re getting from him now is just backing-and-filling. Interestingly, back in the late 80’s Bill Ruger, founder of the gun company, experienced his own panic and suffered accordingly. People Of The Gun don’t like Qusilings.

      http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/papabill.html

      • That’s correct.

        Also, LC: what’s with all this 2nd amendment talk?

        The 2A, while swell, doesn’t have anything to do with why I have a right to keep and bear arms in defense of myself, my loved ones, my liberty or even my property.

        This right, like just a few others, is sacrosanct. To encumber, limit, delay, deny and otherwise infringe that right is an affront to my dignity as a human being, much as any similar infringement on my right to cohabitate, reproduce, earn a living or care for my loved ones would be.

        You don’t seem to get that. It’s not about gunz! it’s about liberty. And regualtions on my freedom are not acceptable.

        • “Also, LC: what’s with all this 2nd amendment talk?”

          The 2nd amendment is your best defense of enumerated rights against the authoritarians in power, running amok, because just telling them that you were naturally born of your right to self defense and to throw off their tyranny is woefully useless (although that doesn’t make it any less true, but it still gives hope for the system to work as intended because the alternative, war, is much too costly to consider casually).

          “This right, like just a few others, is sacrosanct. To encumber, limit, delay, deny and otherwise infringe that right is an affront to my dignity as a human being, much as any similar infringement on my right to cohabitate, reproduce, earn a living or care for my loved ones would be.”

          You can complain all you want, but infringements are part of the constitutional battle we are fighting today. No right is unlimited. This is coming from somebody that is not even remotely supportive of any ineffective gun control measure.

          “You don’t seem to get that. It’s not about gunz! it’s about liberty. And regualtions on my freedom are not acceptable.”

          You are living in a delusional lala land.

          I agree with the liberty part; it is better to contend with too much liberty, than too little, although even the founders agreed with certain regulations and infringements, however slight, to enumerated rights in the interest of public safety (that sounds bad doesn’t it? well probably because shenanigans like AWB and registration scams have been supported by the same logic that has been twisted and perverted).

          The problem is that our government and system (and the stupid voters ill add) dont seem to understand that the founders endorsed the use of absolute minimal force as necessary, or the absolute minimal infringements necessary, to invoke a change to the betterment of a society.

          For example (and these are extreme, but my point stands), is it your liberty to collect explosive devises or build IEDs? or dump used motor oil into the river? or have the freedom to leave your pets in the car with the windows rolled up in July?

          One could go on and on. But freedom is not unlimited. The stability of a system of government, and more important, the viability of our Constitution absolutely depends on rule of law. So, no, im not delusional enough to agree that *any* regulation is immoral and incorrect (any and all are pretty strong words).

      • How do I “not get it”?

        Did I say that all of metcalf’s positions were correct in my opinion? of course not. attention to detail, youngster.

        • I fully realized that the Bill of Rights is what has kept the wolves at bay.
          I also understand that without same, many of fellow Americans would have no clue that such individual rights/limits on state power exist, let alone that one should cling to them, wherever sweetly or bitterly.

          And of course I prefer that they be memorialized in a document than fought for continuously.

          My point, though, was that those who rely on that document as the only source or legitimate expression of these rights (2A absolutists in the vernacular) will cave as soon as the law is changed.
          Even worse are the founding father fetishists. I’m in awe of what they accomplished and forever in their debt. But arguments like “the founders said X” or “They never would have said Y” don’t carry the weight of religious dogma for me that they seem to for others.

          TL;DR: I love the Constitution and all it has helped preserve.
          Everything in it that’s good was true before it was written and will be true after it’s dismantled.
          That’s an important point to pass on to future generations should the issue arise in their lifetime (I don’t believe it will in ours) and D.H. Lawrence is proved right:

          “Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”

    • How was the way Metcalf was treated wrong?

      He worked for a publication that had a target audience, he wrote a piece that alienated a significant portion of that audience, a portion that was willing to vote with its money.

      The publication saw a potential loss of readers and advertisers so they canned him.

      What was wrong with that?

      That Metcalf didn’t expect consequences doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences

  42. I’m thinking ‘poor Ed… his rational is showing symptoms of dementia’, or ‘damned Metcalf sold out… he must be getting kickbacks from Michael Bloomberg’.

  43. Are any of you guys familiar with Penn and Teller’s take on the 2nd amendment? It’s basically like this – that the well regulated militia part refers, essentially, to a standing, government controlled force (and as such a potential threat to liberty) and that the right of the the people (individuals) to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed precisely as a counter to this militia should it be used to enforce tyranny. Now, I think this is not accurate, but I thought it was an interesting interpretation.

    • Thats pretty accurate. See the Federalist papers no. 28, 29, and 46.

      Basically, the government has the power to raise taxes and organize a “select militia”, which can be used to suppress invasions or insurrections. They also have the power to organize a navy. Article 1, Section 8 business. The select militia is to be placed in command of the commander in chief and congress. Who are the modern “select militia”? the national guard, reservists, active military, law enforcement, etc. (and the founders didn’t even like large standing armies, so they are really a unique cat of their own).

      Where the 2nd amendment comes into play is that it is a right of the people to keep and bear arms. Why? because it is necessary to the security of a FREE state (emphasis on FREE). Who are the people that aren’t organized into the aforementioned “select militia”? well, the unorganized militia.

      The unorganized militia (who’s right is enumerated in the Bill of Rights; i.e. INDIVIDUAL rights) are a check and balance to the select militia and government, should the two abuse their power and threaten the free state. It is provide the people a means to overthrow a tyrannical government.

      Basically, no side has a monopoly on force. That is the intended purpose.

      “well regulated” means in proper working order, not “state regulated” (despite the anti-gun side thinking so). Select and unorganized militias can be “well regulated”, as in, trained, in proper working order, and well equipped (AR15s!)

        • From the point of view of language, it makes more sense to understand ‘security of a free state’ as ‘security of a free nation’ than ‘security of a free state of being.’ The second doesn’t make much sense.

        • When one considers what Madison originally wrote the 2nd amendment as, and how it was later revised, that, to me, was the most convincing aspect of the meaning of “free state” (state of being) versus free nation/country (which is what madison’s original 2nd amendment said).

          However, i haven’t seen any smoking gun of such a thing, which is why i wont touch it.

          http://www.volokh.com/posts/1181941233.shtml

          “free country/nation” is satisfying to me.

  44. Is your right to drive a car being infringed by a speed limit?

    Yes, actually, because speed limits are about generating revenue and not safety. The only time that there are signs about speed that are safety related are the suggested speeds for going around bends in the road.

  45. The analogy about mandatory training before buying or operating a motor vehicle (or firearm) is a good idea but is not required in my state. Mandatory classroom training is now required for a hunting license and a CCW/CHP requires both classroom training and range demonstration of proficiency.

    • As with many things related to firearms, it depends on the state. For example, the Washington State CHL has no training requirement. If you’re a resident with a clean record and $60, you’re good to go.

      We don’t have any of that ‘permit to acquire’ crap, either.

  46. Good riddance. My biggest problem with DICK was his endorsement of expensive state ( slush fund ) mandated BS for CC in Illinois. Over the border in Indiana
    one can get LIFETIME CC for $175(?) with NO expensive BS training. Guess which state has a much lower crime rate and much less BLOOD in the streets? Oh yeah DICK might be the most arrogant former gun writer we’ve ever seen.

  47. Oh yeah…if we could get some FUDD hunters ( say 20000000 ) to join us ( NRA or GOA or your choice) we would have NO PROBLEMS. DICK is right about the NRA not having enough members. But then he’s just trying to stay relevant (& paid?).

  48. Dick Metcalf needs to stay retired and play in the woods. He has obviously lost his powers of cognition.

  49. The quotes from Metcalf prove he’s from the same cloth as Big-gulp Bloomberg and the gun-grabbers: He holds the common people in contempt.

    The bits about the education levels of gun owners and their not being fit to own guns etc, just shows that Metcalf is a classic progressive in that he think of people as a herd to be led by their superiors and his view of his own education naturally leads him to think that he is that superior. (A common failing among the educated)

  50. The NRA doesn’t just have four to five million members, but about 10x that many non members who support it, it is estimated. And if there were laws outlawing sports cars and limiting all cars to 50 horsepower, a top speed of 60 mph, a 0 – 60 time of no less than 12 seconds, etc…then you could compare automobile regulation with gun control. But that isn’t what we have. You can buy and drive whatever the hell you want for the most part.

  51. Dick’s problem starts and ends with his absolute self absorption and arrogance. He thinks he’s smarter than you, the irony is that he is so out of touch with the current state of politics when it comes to guns, he thinks the crap he wrote would possibly be acceptable or at least slide under the radar. Now he’s all butt hurt that we won’t tolerate his parroting of anti-gun propganda and way too arrogant to admit he was an idiot to write that tripe so he’s lashing out and embracing the suck that is the gun grabbers image of gun owners.

  52. When the Second was written there was a need to standardize supplies. I would strongly suspect that the “regulated” term was to make sure that everyone showed up with the proper equipment and a firearm in the standard caliber.
    Otherwise the town armory would have to stock several different sizes of musket balls and if one soldier ran low, he (or she today) would have to find someone with a compatible supply of projectiles.

  53. Don’t cry for Dick – I’m sure his revenue stream isn’t dried up, given that he’s found a new audience. He’s wrong about so many things that parsing them out could run us into the new millennium. Assuming he genuinely believes his own blather, though, the entire episode is a shining example of hypocrisy; nothing he proposes would have an effect on HIS guns, or HIS right to keep and bear arms. I can’t decide whether Dick ate a bad mushroom or had a tiny capillary blow out in his brain housing group, or if it was a venal decision that he could bolster his relevance through shifting left and becoming the nation’s leading controversial gun columnist. Either way, you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. Goodbye, Dick, don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  54. I listened to Metcalf at Aspen, as long as I could stand. He is still in denial of his own arrogant incompetence.
    His column should have been about prior restraint, but it wasn’t, and he still can’t get his head around anything but what is already stuffed in there, pure garbage.
    The gun press is well rid of a man who, for all his pomposity, is a fool.

  55. My comment posted at Atlantic Monthly:

    I’ve been a long-time fan of Metcalf, having read his articles since I was a pre-teen. What is frustrating is when one of your role models, at least as far as firearms wisdom goes, makes a giant gaffe and fails to recognize it. While it’s true that the response of readers and the industry has been over-the-top dumb, they DO have a point. For one thing, Metcalf has it wrong as far as the 2nd Amendment. When “well regulated” appears, it is in direct reference to the “militia,” which at the time referred to every armed man. It did NOT refer to their guns. The idea was that we would never want, need or support a professional standing army, since we had just beaten the greatest army in the world with just such a citizen-militia.

    But this was not to remain true; eventually we not only adopted a standing army, but we built several divisions of a standing military. Then, many years later, various state militias were “incorporated” into a single, national Militia we now call the National Guard under the unfortunately named Dick Act. Ironically, because Guard members are now paid, making them by definition “professional,” and are defacto units serving under the U.S. Army, they no longer meet the actual definition of “militia.” Regardless, U.S. law recognizes TWO militias: the organized (Guard) and “unorganized militia,” which is basically the same as before — all armed persons.

    Metcalf should know this. As a historian, he should also know that said militia need not be “well regulated” at all times. None other than Alexander Hamilton himself warned that keeping the entire populace in a constant state of battle readiness (which is what is meant by “regulation” — the military meaning being “to put in good working order” — i.e. “trained”) would be every bit as tyrannical as any invading power might ever be! So said “regulation” is only required once the militia is “called up.” It might seem outrageous today, but the fact remains that militias remain the last line of defense — the final layer of our protective onion-style defense strategy — when the military, Guard and police have failed to keep the bad guys from your front porch.

    This issue aside, I do worry that meaningful dialogue is bogged-down in politricks, and mean-spirited, thoughtless, closed-minded attitudes are plentiful on BOTH sides of the issue. I don’t see basic safety instruction as “regulation.” I don’t see an instant background check — every bit as reasonable as asking for I.D. from voters to make sure a person is who s/he SAYS s/he is — as “regulation.” Or infringement. As a rabid pro-gun NRA member myself, I often explain to my fellow activists that, while it may not be fair that we are called to account for the actions of criminals, and that it isn’t right that sportsmen, recreational shooters, CCW permit holders with clean records and other innocent gun owners — traditional American “gun culture” — are conflated in the minds of some with crime culture. But if we think for a moment that we can overlook the violence and abuse/misuse of firearms that occur on a daily basis and somehow not LOSE any of our rights, we’re delusional. We MUST have a seat at the table; we MUST be a part of the solution; we MUST bring new thinking and perspective to bear and, above all, be willing to talk. The other side isn’t stupid and sometimes their fears and concerns are valid. As pro-gun activists, we need to be patient, doggedly persistant, factual, always truthful and treat any and all with respect whether or not we get it ourselves. This is how barriers are broken down and positive things are achieved.

    And above all, we must not sacrifice one of our own for a single error. Metcalf has forgotten more about firearms than I’ll ever know. He deserves the respect he’s earned.

    • “I don’t see an instant background check — every bit as reasonable as asking for I.D. from voters to make sure a person is who s/he SAYS s/he is — as “regulation.” Or infringement.”

      Well, it most certainly is! Anyone anywhere in the country should be able to walk into a gun store and walk out with a gun just as freely and easily as they can walk into a Home Depot and walk out with a chainsaw today.

      If you think it through, a “background check” has no possible useful purpose other than a way of keeping track of who has guns, so they know where to go to confiscate them. Does a background check keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Don’t we have that form NOW, and aren’t criminals getting guns anyway? Haven’t a considerable number of those school shooting sprees been done by people who got the guns legally?

      If a “convicted felon” isn’t safe to carry a gun on the streets, he’s not safe to be on the streets at all.

      Shall not be infringed means shall not be infringed.
      Constitutional Carry or Fight!

      • +1000

        Also, the particulars of any background check would probably become matters of policy. Background checks give government a free hand at infringement.

  56. If you want to see where Metcalfs true heart lays visit Support Dick Metcalf on Twitter and see who supports him.
    Among others:
    David Axelrod
    Let’s Move
    Valerie Jarrett
    Vice President Biden
    Chelsea Clinton
    Thee First Lady
    Hillary Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    Barack Obama and
    Bill Gates

    Now we now.

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