Down Range: December 2013


Writer Dick Metcalf, Guns & Ammo’s Technical Editor, seemingly believed that regulation isn’t an infringement of the 2nd Amendment, and it got him in hot water with his readers. The columnist wrote in his December G&A “Backstop” column that “way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”

To thousands of the magazine’s readers, that sounded like cover for gun control. On November 6, the magazine’s editor announced that Metcalf’s “association with Guns & Ammo has officially ended.”
Metcalf’s disastrous column was headlined, “Let’s Talk Limits. Do certain firearms regulations really constitute infringement?” In the first paragraph, Metcalf then cited the text of the entire Second Amendment and added: “Note carefully: Those last four words say ‘shall not be infringed.’ They do not say ‘shall not be regulated.'”

In response to building negative reader comments about Metcalf’s opinions, Jim Bequette, editor of the magazine, wrote in a statement, “As editor of Guns & Ammo, I owe each and every reader a personal apology. No excuses, no backtracking. Dick Metcalf’s ‘Backstop’ column in the December issue has aroused unprecedented controversy. Readers are hopping mad about it, and some are questioning Guns & Ammo’s commitment to the Second Amendment. I understand why.

“In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, Guns & Ammo’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either.

“Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with Guns & Ammo has officially ended.” Later in the statement, Bequette stepped down as editor and named his successor.

Metcalf wrote in the column, “Freedom of speech is regulated. You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Freedom of religion is regulated. A church cannot practice human sacrifice… But many argue that any regulation at all is, by definition, an infringement. If that were true, then the authors of the Second Amendment themselves should not have specified ‘well-regulated.’ The question is, when does regulation become infringement?”

Many G&A Facebook commenters said that those sentiments echoed positions taken by the Brady gun-control group. In fact, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence set up a discussion page in which that group’s members were lauding Metcalf and suggesting they might subscribe to such a “reasonable” publication. When the Brady drones are patting you on the back, you’ve strayed from the path.
When you’re “reasonable” with the anti-gun mob, you wind up living in a California, a Maryland, or a New York. So we say “shall not be infringed” is perfectly clear as written. Adios, Dick. GT


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