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 Former Guns & Ammo Editor Dick Metcalf (courtesy all4shooters.com)

The New York Times’ article Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns “exposes” gun journo “extremism.” It’s based on an unsurprisingly sympathetic profile of Dick Metcalf. You may remember Mr. Metcalf as the Guns & Ammo writer given the old heave-ho after writing a column suggesting that government regulation of gun rights isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Suffice it to say, Warren Zevon’s Poor Poor Pitiful Me. More specifically, this: “Mr. Metcalf said he invited a reporter to his home because he despairs that the debate over gun policy in America is so bitterly polarized and dominated by extreme voices . . .

He says he is still contemplating how a self-described “Second Amendment fundamentalist” who keeps a .38 snub-nose Smith & Wesson revolver within easy reach has been ostracized from his community. “Compromise is a bad word these days,” he said. “People think it means giving up your principles.”

Yes. Yes they do. Keeping in mind Senator Barry Goldwater’s famous quote “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Now for the juicy bit. In its effort to diss gun journalism in general, the Old Gray Lady reveals that Guns & Ammo’s reviews are bought and paid for . . .

Reporters and editors say that reviews are often written in close consultation with manufacturers. If a gun is judged to be of poor quality, magazines will quietly send it back for improvements rather than writing a negative review. The system is broadly accepted at these publications, gun writers say.

Mr. Venola, the former Guns & Ammo editor, described the relationship between the magazine’s editors and the gun makers as a necessarily cozy one. “You have to be in cahoots with the manufacturer, in order to make the publication appeal to the readership,” he said. “Say you write about boats. At some point you’re going to end up on the sun deck of a boat, downing sundowners after testing one, with the guy who makes it. It’s just how it happens.”

So, G&A has Sundowners’ Syndrome. Their “commitment to the Second Amendment” may be “unwavering” but when it comes to remembering the bad bits about a gun they’re “memory impaired.” Who knew? Except anyone who’s been reading the ballistic buff book in the last 55 years.

To be clear, The Truth About Guns tells the truth about guns. I chose that name because guns are a matter of life or death. You need to know the straight dope on firearms so that you can protect your life, the life of the people you love and maybe even innocent life. Oh, and your gun rights, too.

As for Dick’s assertion that 16 hours of state-mandated firearms training doesn’t mess with Americans’ gun rights, the writer doesn’t and won’t “get it.” As soon as the state steps in – BAM! – your rights are infringed. Oh, and as someone who just completed six hours of Texas CHL training (that somehow ran seven hours) I’d like to point out that these courses are also a violation of the Geneva Convention. That is all.

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482 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, I’m so shocked to hear that gun magazines publish reviews in close cooperation with the people making guns.

    😉

    Oh, and note to Dick: “Listen, Dick, you are just piling stupid on top of stupid. You got what you deserve. Not shove off and go hunt turkeys on your farm.”

    • Well, ladies and gentlemen, here’s how it works: You don’t always have to agree with everything you hear and read. Mr. Metcalf has more experience than, for example, probably anyone who writes for or reads TTAG all day today. That means he has a lot of knowledge and experience. And he writes well. So we (the shooting community) should let him keep writing – no, encourage him to keep writing, and then we should read what he says. And then think about it. And then agree or disagree, or better yet, partially agree or disagree. What happened to Metcalf in our community was no less shameful than what happened to the Duck guy, in fact much, much, more so because Metcalf *is* an expert in guns, history, law and such and the Duck guy is not (presumably?) an expert in homosexuality.

      Anyway, what we need to do is listen and read. And think. Even to people with whom you disagree. Then think some more. If your originally held views remain unchanged, then good for you. If they evolve, then good for you.

      But no community that feels that it must silence its members in order to continue to exist has much of a future, and that’s what really worries me.

      • Compromise is what the Jews tried with Hitler…. how did that work out for them…. I agree with the socialist gun grabbing commies they should compromise!

      • He is dead to me. There was no misunderstanding, no miscommunication. Dick wrote from the heart, what he truly felt. New York, NJ, and Chicago have a perfectly acceptable licensing system that in no way infringes on its citizens right to bear arms. Dick can go eat a, well, he can eat himself.

      • Jeff, Jeff, Jeff; the NYT held up Metcalfs editorial as justification for more gun control; we got to where we are today because “reasonable” people; like Metcalf; said we could compromise on an inalienable right.

        Metcalf is a statist, an elitist, a Judas, a snake, a back stabber.

        You don’t get it Jeff, there is war going on for our freedom; Metcalf was an apologist for and a defender of subjugation, enslavement and ultimately, what could lead to mass slaughter by a tyrannical government; Dick Metcalf got off easy.

      • Until the gun community, and most of America for that matter agree that a Right is not subject to restrictions, we will tear each other apart.

        Some people get it, most do not. A right is absolute, there really is no need for discussion.

      • Jeff,

        When the topic of discussion is something like the best industry to invest money, the best place to build a bridge for public transportation, or the best foods to eat for heart health, I agree completely with your sentiments … your sentiments to read/listen to others, mull over their message, discuss their message openly, and move forward.

        When the topic of discussion is freely offering our daughters to rapists, demanding that elite statists run our lives, or that we must give up rights for any reason, I disagree completely with your sentiments. People who emphatically propose such arguments and move them forward publicly are your enemy: they should literally be tarred and feathered. In fact one could even argue that such activity is conspiracy to violate the rights of others and as such is not protected “free speech”.

        • “In fact one could even argue that such activity is conspiracy to violate the rights of others and as such is not protected “free speech”.”
          I would totally agree. I was thinking about the same thing lately. This is hate speech plain and simple. Calling for infringing on somebody rights should be condemned and punished.

        • Only speech which elicits strong emotional response needs protecting. True hate speech is already controlled via slander and libel laws.

        • >> People who emphatically propose such arguments and move them forward publicly are your enemy: they should literally be tarred and feathered. In fact one could even argue that such activity is conspiracy to violate the rights of others and as such is not protected “free speech”.

          I hope you realize that you’re making a very eloquent argument in favor of restricting gun rights to the “crazies”, lest they start tarring and feathering and shooting people for what they say. If some outfit, like, say, NYT, would repost that quote of yours – especially at the right time (when another killing spree happens), it will do much more damage than anything Dick Metcalf ever said on the subject.

        • I understand your paraphrase, but the literal quote is:

          “Methinks the lady doth protest over much.”

          No one writes like Bill.

      • Jeff:

        I read what Metcalf wrote. I thought about it. I acted and demanded he be removed. The man does not even understand the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

        I also read what you wrote. I thought about it. I think you are all wet. And frankly, it seems you don’t understand the issues well enough to appreciate the magnitude of precisely what Metcalf said and why it is so harmful.

        Here, Jeff, read and THINK about these words, VERY, carefully:

        “The right to keep and bear arms … shall NOT BE INFRINGED.”

        Go look up that word “infringe.”

        Think, Jeff, think!

        • Paul, you seem to have a much higher opinion of yourself than your limited knowledge justifies. It seems like the only Amendment to the Constitution that you have read is the Second. The First Amendment states among other things that Congress shall make no law “abridging the Freedom of Speech,” but there are plenty of laws and legal rules that limit a person’s ability to speak. You can’t engage in false advertising or fraud without getting sued or even going to jail. You can’t call someone with a stock tip if it’s inside info – you’ll end up in a federal penitentiary. You can be sued for telling lies about someone. You can be jailed for inciting a riot or threatening someone. If you look at the word “abridging” in the First Amendment in isolation I’m sure you could make the same argument that you make about “infringe” in the Second Amendment, but thankfully we have judges who, unlike you, live in the real world and realize that a 230 year old document has to be applied to modern reality. No one in 1780 could ever dream the horror that might result when a semiautomatic gets in the hands of a lunatic like that kid in Connecticut. Metcalf realized this. You don’t get it.

          What this boils down to is that there are people like you, who don’t give a d-m about anyone other than themselves, and there are reasonable people who realize that a functioning society requires that people work together and recognize the rights and needs of others will sometimes require you to compromise.

        • COME ON. You can NOT seriously believe anyone abridged Metcalf’s First Amendment rights. You are deluded if you do. He is still free to speak his mind anywhere and everywhere. Just not at his former workplace, because, GUESS WHAT? He doesn’t work there anymore! Can YOU speak your mind at any of YOUR former workplaces?

        • …um….your response is so hollow…one hardly knows where to start…but for the sake of being gentle…let us start with this…if you look throughout history…and you examine the current Chinese, North Korean regimes…Saudi, Turkish etc….they are a road-map of “compromise” on the issue of guns….and…hows that working out for them?

          If you think our government is any less tyrannical than histories worst…or our current best…you are nuts…and “compromising” on any of my rights…gives a corrupt government the “instinct” that they can trample on any or all of my rights…

          Look around you…look at the increase in blatant corruption…and get ready…I worked for US DoD all over the world for over two decades as a Federally Protected Whistle-Blower…the corruption is so deep…you have no idea…such naivety…

          RJ O’Guillory
          Author-
          Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

        • It is not the speech itself in any of the cases you mention that is being abridged, it is the effect of such speech that may be illegal. Just as owning a gun doesn’t mean you can unjustifiably shoot people. You may notice that most of the things you mention are provable false statements, that negatively affect others. But still, the utterers were free to speak their words, they were just held responsible for them. The one exception, insider trading, is also not related to the act of speech, but the transfer of information in an improper manner, to the detriment of others. My owning a firearm, or carrying one on my person, has no detrimental effect on others. If my words have a detrimental effect, and you cannot prove them to be inaccurate, I am free to keep speaking them. Pretty simple. And it has been that way for 230 years too, despite the slow churning of time.

      • I’m more with you than not, Jeff. When I think of all the years I’ve been reading that man’s articles and all I’ve learned from the guy, I’m shocked that one bad article had him thrown to the wolves. I agree with many posters here in that he got several things wrong, one of which was his interpretation of “regulated” in the 2nd Amendment, further fueling our anti-gun opponents AND his poorly worded assertion that his 16 hours of training wasn’t any huge infringment, but rather than opening up what could’ve been a very interesting, extended dialogue as Metcalf intended, everything got shut down post haste. Imagine what great dialogue got killed in the cradle with his dismissal!

        I said “poorly worded,” because as Metcalf explained in his blog, his assertion was juxtaposed against the many, many years of having NO way to legally obtain a CCW by comparison. But I’m sure he’d have been much happier with a shorter class, or none at all (Vermont carry).

        Personally, I think he should be cut some slack: pack him off to Ted Nugent’s Spirit Wild Ranch and have a Jim Zumbo-esque “come to Jesus moment,” with maybe a pow-wow between those two and Jeff Korwin, and maybe Massad Ayoob. Then absolve him with the sign of the cross (hairs) on his forehead with gunpowder and let him write and sin no more.

        • “I’m shocked that one bad article had him thrown to the wolves”

          Absurd!

          You should have been shocked that a guy proclaiming himself to be an expert in all things firearms in the USA could have possibly thought it was a good idea to write an article like he did. He exposed himself as profoundly and most fundamentally IGNORANT of the very thing that keeps him and his gun company cronies in business.

          Count me more shocked that people like you are so utterly tone deaf to the issues here.

        • Funny — that’s my whole point: it’s about “tone” and “deafness.” If you read Metcalf’s blog and his reasoning behind what he wrote, it was a benign opening to a bigger conversation. Perhaps his attempt to be provocative was taken the wrong way? I’m not sure. But I don’t think this is how we should treat one of our own who blunders into the weeds. Don’t forget that he had a LOT of help from G&A — they approved, edited and vetted the article before it ever went to press.

          I also think he wrote what he did because the time was right for it. Seldom has the clamor for more restrictions and intringements been greater than post-Sandy Hook, and Metcalf, thinking he was speaking to people who could entertain ideas without necessarily embracing them, brought up some very pragmatic and topical issues. And again, I feel a bit ripped-off by the bigger discussion his firing defused. (Although thankfully TTAG has partially filled that void.)

          And it’s not that I’m oblivious to the bigger issues. I just see the cure as being just as bad as the symptom; while Metcalf may have given ammo to anti-gunners by his assertions, they also gained ammo by how he was treated, and the latter may well end up being the more aggregious of the two.

        • “a benign opening to a bigger conversation”

          No, rather, a cancerous growth that required him to be cut out.

          Again, you seem to have an embraced a shocking ignorance about precisely what the man said. He proved he does NOT even understand the Second Amendment.

          Seems you do not either.

        • The one thing I’ll say about Dick Metcalf, at least he had enough courage to put his name to his comments, unlike the little girls here rising to his defense.

        • “Thrown to the wolves”? Keep talking like that, son, folks will think you’re feeble-minded.

          He was THROWN OUTTA THE OFFICE. Not “to the wolves”.

      • Jeff, I think I know where you’re coming from. I’m not far away, myself.

        I can see how Metcalf’s editorial gave aid and comfort to our enemies (who already have the whole traditional media establishment at their beck and call), and I vehemently disagree with his opinion. It should have been rejected wholesale, and it was.

        But the way it happened…torpedoing a guy’s life for saying something that didn’t square with the current orthodoxy…. It’s a tried-and-true tactic of the progressives, the politically correct elite, and it has an ugly smell. Maybe it was necessary and inevitable, but I don’t have to like it.

        Keep in mind, the people who currently wield the sledgehammer of political correctness against the rest of us were in the minority once. They had to use some brutal tactics to get their ideas out of the margins and into the mainstream. Now that they’re embedded in the media and the cultural elite, they’re still using those coercive tactics — with the weight of the establishment behind them. They think they’ve brought enlightenment to the public, but they’re too busy enforcing their own orthodoxy to see how profoundly coercive they’ve become.

        I don’t want the People of the Gun to end up like that.

        • Lying and cheating aren’t necessarily crimes either. And yet, you know what? Liars and cheats leave a trail of goddamn VICTIMS in their wake, everywhere the go!

          Think! Think! It ain’t illegal yet!!

        • Wow, what’s wrong with some of you guys?

          The man wrote an editorial in the nation’s premier firearms magazine, one of the oldest, that revealed he DOES NOT SUPPORT AND UNDERSTAND THE SECOND AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.

          Are you guys nuts?

          Let me him spout his crap in the New York Times where it belongs!

        • >> But the way it happened…torpedoing a guy’s life for saying something that didn’t square with the current orthodoxy…. It’s a tried-and-true tactic

          I have to say that the language used in the comments on this blog to refer to people who are not orthodox Second Amendment fanatics, even slightly deviating, is eerily reminiscent of the kind of stuff that you can read in court rulings from Stalin’s era of political terror. “Treason”, “aid and comfort to the enemy”, “stab in the back” and all that kind of stuff.

        • Whatever you say. Y’know what? NOBODY AT TTAG FIRED, OR CAUSED TO BE FIRED, Dick Metcalf. GET OVER IT.

        • Red Dawn. Patrick Swayze puts a .357 round through the chest of a former compatriot who betrayed them to the enemy. You don’t have to like it, but sometimes when someone you thought you could trust turns their coat you have to take drastic action to save the movement.

        • “Torpedoing a guy’s life”?

          People who smile to your face and display the decent, common manners of a polite society while entertaining (and even firmly holding) philosophical ideas that undermine your natural rights and liberty, even tossed out there as “food for thought”, are not your friends – they are your ENEMIES.

          And they should be treated as such. Naïveté generated by “reasonableness” can get you killed.

      • So much fail, where to begin?

        “[…]Metcalf has more experience than, for example, probably anyone who writes for or reads TTAG all day today…”
        Being an expert on the technical aspects of guns and/or shooting does NOT confer on Mr. Metcalf ANY specific authority on the subject of what does or does not infringe on MY natural, civil and Constitutionally protected Second Amendment rights. Hell, even SCOTUS keeps getting that wrong and they’re supposed to be REAL experts.

        “…So we (the shooting community) should let him keep writing – no, encourage him to keep writing, and then we should read what he says… ”
        Why exactly should any of us continue to financially support Mr. Metcalf or G&A if we believe they are okay with compromising away our 2A rights? It is our RIGHT and our DUTY to remove our support from these individuals and organizations.

        “…What happened to Metcalf in our community was no less shameful than what happened to the Duck guy, in fact much, much, more so because Metcalf *is* an expert in guns, history, law and such and the Duck guy is not (presumably?) an expert in homosexuality….”
        What happened to Metcalf was in no way shameful. It was the market he was supposedly writing for telling him, in a very free market way, that we no longer trusted him and did not want to pay for his product. G&A got the same message and THEY terminated him, not the gun community. And if Metcalf is in fact a real expert on law [citation req], how is it he does not know the definition of “infringed”?

        As for “the Duck Guy”, he never claimed to be any sort of expert on homosexuality and never advocated infringing on anyone’s right to be queer. He is, however, a born again Christian and based on that level of expertise he said that he understood the Bible to say that homosexuality is a bad thing and that he could not support it on that level.

        “[…]But no community that feels that it must silence its members in order to continue to exist has much of a future, and that’s what really worries me…”
        A community in fear for its very existence (have you been following the efforts of anti-2A groups to effect total civilian disarmament?) must ensure continuity of message and goals within the community. If someone claiming to be a member of that group promotes a message the rest of the group cannot abide they have a perfect right to demand a retraction or to ostracize that member. No one has attempted to silence Mr. Metcalf, we just told him to take his crap elsewhere because we weren’t going to pay him for it any more.

        And in your rush to judge us regarding our opinion of and reaction to Mr. Metcalf’s Judas editorial you are attempting to silence us and our opinion just as vociferously as you claim we are trying to silence Metcalf. Hypocrite.

        Mr. Metcalf is free to say and write anything he wants and to have it published, if he can, anywhere he can, what he can no longer do, which was the crux of our effort and apparently a vast majority of the POTG, was to cancel his supposed credentials as a spokesman for us, which he quite obviously is NOT.

      • Well, ladies and gentlemen, here’s how it works: You don’t always have to agree with everything you hear and read. Mr. Metcalf has more experience than, for example, probably anyone who writes for or reads TTAG all day today. That means he has a lot of knowledge and experience.

        Mr. Metcalf certainly doesn’t have more experience in history, fact, or civil rights than the writers of TTAG or even the readers of TTAG, regardless of his knowledge and experience in firearms. Metcalf is a “gun” guy – no doubt about it. Metcalf, as he has made it clear, is not a “rights” guy. This is bluntly obvious and if you can’t see this i’m not even going to try to debate with you. We can agree to disagree – end of story.

        What happened to Metcalf in our community was no less shameful than what happened to the Duck guy, in fact much, much, more so because Metcalf *is* an expert in guns, history, law and such and the Duck guy is not (presumably?) an expert in homosexuality.

        This is a ridiculous statement. Metcalf a expert in history?? What a laugh. I think that both you and Mr. Metcalf should do 5 minutes of googling and look up some of the statements the founding fathers made regarding the second amendment. Then reconcile that with your and Metcalfs support of 2A regulation. Mr. Metcalf’s comparison with the fire in a theater was equally ridiculous by the way – but I digress.

        But no community that feels that it must silence its members in order to continue to exist has much of a future, and that’s what really worries me.

        No one silenced Mr. Metcalf. Furthermore, Mr. Metcalf is not “our member.” Mr. Metcalf wrote for a magazine and he betrayed his customer base and the interests of his employers. He suffered a fate similar to actions applicable to any other profession. If Mr. Metcalf worked for the New York Times and wrote a 2nd amendment absolutist article in support of civil rights he would not last there long.

      • Jeff, as I’ve said on other forums. A gun guy on a gun magazine editorial page using anti-gun rhetoric… No one should be surprised at the outcome. He couldn’t have been any more inflammatory if he had used the phrase “Common sense gun restrictions.”

        As for Roberts, if you read the full text of what he says, most of us aren’t going to heaven by his standards.

      • Bulldonkey.

        Not only are we not required to respect a sellout to American First Principles, continuing to support said sellout would be stupid.

      • Neither what happened to Dick and what happened to the Duck guy are shameful. Both are exactly what should happen when people say stupid shit in public, they get called out on it.

        We live in a country where you are free to express your opinions, but you aren’t entitled to pulpits from which to preach, bought and paid for by people who disagree with you.

        If I take a job as an NRA commentator for example, then do a youtube video about how Shannon Watts is really worth listening to, then the NRA can, and should, show me the door.

        Right?

        • We belong to a Mutual Admiration
          Society,
          My baby and me.
          We belong to a Mutual Admiration
          Society….

      • Except Mr. Metcalf is obviously no expert on rights, and he opined on rights of great importance to gun owners. His fate is decided by the readership…and his employer. No travesty whatsoever.

    • Does anyone remember PISTOLERO Magazine? Now that was one brutally honest gun publication. Used to love reading their gun reviews. They tested most of ’em on LIVE HOGS. 😉

    • So… no guns for elitists, is what you’re saying?
      Don’t you realize that elitists enjoy the same 2A protections as the rest of us?

      • Jeff, now your just being incredibly obtuse, or being deliberately provocative, which means your just being a troll.

        So just in case you really meant your question as being honestly stated; let’s say this one more time. Everyone has the right to the uninfringed right to KABA’s; even elitists; but elitists hire their gun carrying protection while trying to infringe everyone else’s.

        Which is what this is all about, now do you get it Jeff?

      • No Jeff, your not that obtuse; you were making the point about denying first amendment rights as the second amendment rights; but they don’t correlate; we aren’t saying to stop Dick from spouting off about his elitists beliefs, he has his blog, the NYT for G-ds sake is printing his statist elitist drivel; but we as the gun community are also free to reject his screed supporting slavery and deny that he speaks for the gun community.

        The gun community tarred and feathered him figuratively speaking and ran him out of our community, but he still free to promote his enslavement beliefs.

      • Nobody here is calling for Dick to lose his right to bear arms. Nor any elitists, or anyone else to lose their rights. Maybe you have comprehension problems.

        • There is a comment higher up where the poster expresses the desire to take away his First Amendment rights:

          ” In fact one could even argue that such activity is conspiracy to violate the rights of others and as such is not protected “free speech”.”

        • Actually, he claimed it was “arguable”, which is a far cry from what you describe. Obviously you do have comprehension problems.

      • So… no guns for elitists, is what you’re saying?
        Don’t you realize that elitists enjoy the same 2A protections as the rest of us?

        I’m trying to understand how you came up with this response, given his statement. Pretty far out there. Either it is you putting words in his mouth, or you are answering a totally different question from a different person and you clicked the wrong button?