Guns & Ammo Editor fires Dick Metcalf, resigns, after anti-gun rights column

posted at 8:31 am on November 9, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

When the December issue of Guns & Ammo (which I still haven’t got my hands on) came out, readers were apparently met with something of a surprise. Long time gun rights activist Dick Metcalf had penned an editorial for their Backstop column which launched into a discussion of the need for more gun regulation. We don’t have the full column at hand, but the folks at The Free Patriot republished a few of the salient portions.

“I bring this up,” he wrote, “because way too many gun owners still believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is that all Constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.” Facepalm moment anyone? Now that Metcalf is no longer in a fit mental capacity to be left alone, someone should send Adult Protective services over for a welfare check.

“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.”

I won’t include more, as it pretty much goes downhill from there, parroting some of the time worn arguments constantly put forward by those opposed to gun ownership who seek to twist the Constitution to their own ends. The response from the readers was instant and pretty much unanimous. In response, G&A editor Jim Bequette took immediate action.

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…

Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with “Guns & Ammo” has officially ended.

Jim’s actions were not limited to Metcalf, though. He seemed to adopt a policy of saying that a housecleaning was in order and it needed to start at the top.

I made a mistake by publishing the column. I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.

Plans were already in place for a new editor to take the reins of “Guns & Ammo” on January 1. However, these recent events have convinced me that I should advance that schedule immediately.

Your new “Guns & Ammo” editor will be Eric R. Poole, who has so effectively been running our special interest publications, such as “Book of the AR-15” and “TRIGGER.” You will be hearing much more about this talented editor soon.

Metcalf took to the pages of another forum to attempt to “explain” what he was trying to do, but that wasn’t going over very well either.

How do I feel about that? Disappointed. If a respected editor can be forced to resign and a controversial writer’s voice be shut down by a one-sided social-media and internet outcry, virtually overnight, simply because they dared to open a discussion or ask questions about a politically sensitive issue . . . then I fear for the future of our industry, and for our Cause. Do not 2nd Amendment adherents also believe in Freedom of Speech? Do Americans now fear open and honest discussion of different opinions about important Constitutional issues? Do voices from cyberspace now control how and why business decisions are made?

Metcalf’s response to his termination is, I’m sad to say, every bit as misguided as the original column. There isn’t a single person I’ve seen who is questioning his First Amendment rights. But he seems to be forgetting that the First Amendment is in place to protect him from retribution by his government to his exercise of free speech. There’s nothing in the Bill of Rights which assures him a fat paycheck or a position at a respected publication if he decides to go entirely off the ranch and start questioning the fundamental principles of the readership it serves.

This entire exercise was a sad affair to watch from start to finish. Let’s hope that with the swift and decisive action by the directors at Guns & Ammo, this little chapter of the publication’s history can be brought to a close and they can move on.


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He IS right, ALL Constitutional Rights are circumscribed…your right to speech is not absolute, nor to the Press, nor Assembly, or a right to a fair or speedy trial…oft’ times they conflict…the Right of the Press versus the Right to a Fair Trial…we always cut and fill…because NO RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE….

This guy just did a horrific job, he lacked any understanding of the historical/legal underpinnings of his argument…and in this area the readers are pretty smart about those things. They might tolerate a controversial article, but not a flat-out wrong article calling for limits on their rights.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Now Dick Metcalf will have a new partner at the shooting range, he and Piers “Musket” Morgan will no doubt have a great time together dreaming up lots of new gun control for America.

RJL on November 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Rights are not granted by governments or individuals…the are granted by God or considered Natural. The stupid runs strong in many of these posts. The Second Amendment has little to do with the definition of a militia…that is a liberals interpretation. Pay attention to “Shall Not Infringe”.

trs on November 9, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Flukeing moron…sleeper.

Schadenfreude on November 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

It’s as if the editor of the AOPA magazine would write that “private planes s/b illegal”.

Schadenfreude on November 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Somehow Metcalf seems oblivious to the realities of the War On Guns.

Gun ownership is regulated, as is the right to carry. So are the types of weapons that can be owned and carried. The people who are trying to destroy the right to bear arms cloak their strategy of incrementalism in the rhetoric of “reasonable” regulations. These proposals typically involve the silly notions of folks who don’t know a damned thing about guns and self-defense, hoplophobic paranoia, and the underlying subversive agenda of disarmament by degrees. They all attempt in one way or another to impair access of the law-abiding to guns. It has all been tried before, and has no demonstrable effect on crime rates. In fact, in states where the right to carry has been created or expanded, the rates of crime against persons goes down. These facts should surprise no one, as criminals by definition do not abide the laws and do not, apparently, make exception and obey gun laws. Criminals are also emboldened when they believe their law-abiding intended victims are likely to be unarmed. But the disarmament crowd sees these failures of restrictions on the law-abiding not as proof of futility but as support for the argument that the latest “reasonable” restriction on our Constitutional rights did not go far enough, and further “reasonable” restrictions are required.

It isn’t hard to see where that road leads.

It is hard to imagine this man could be so oblivious both to the facts and the politics as to adopt the “reasonable” rhetoric of the gun grabbers. He’s got a huge blind spot here that raises serious questions about his judgment generally. He’s getting the inevitable reaction. It remains to be seen if he can learn anything from it. His initial response suggests not.

novaculus on November 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

SHALL

NOT

BE

INFRINGED

…and that includes guns asshat magazine editors don’t like because of their appearance or function or size.

TX-96 on November 9, 2013 at 3:26 PM

I’m just puzzled why Metcalf would pen an article favoring gun control in a guns magazine. What did he think would happen? He’s apparently not that bright.

drflykilla on November 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

CONGRESS

SHALL

MAKE

NO

LAW

REGARDING

see how easy that is…but Congress HAS and DOES make laws concerning…the question isn’t, “Can Speech/the Right to Keep and Bear be limited, but only to what extent?”

And unless most of you folkz think publication of the Invasion Plans for Iraq or the publication of child pR0n is OK, obviously speech and Press can be limited, so too the Right K&B.

This author, Metcalfe, apparently just didn’t grasp the history of the Second and apparently didn’t really understand the SCOTUS rulings on the 2nd. So, he, rightly, got a LOT of push-back and in the end got the axe.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 5:20 PM

He IS right, ALL Constitutional Rights are circumscribed…your right to speech is not absolute, nor to the Press, nor Assembly, or a right to a fair or speedy trial…oft’ times they conflict…the Right of the Press versus the Right to a Fair Trial…we always cut and fill…because NO RIGHT IS ABSOLUTE….

This guy just did a horrific job, he lacked any understanding of the historical/legal underpinnings of his argument…and in this area the readers are pretty smart about those things. They might tolerate a controversial article, but not a flat-out wrong article calling for limits on their rights.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Actually, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as protected by the Second Amendment IS absolute – and absolutely harmless as well. There is NOTHING in the keeping and bearing of arms that could possibly harm anyone or thing. The keeping and bearing of arms is benign and innocuous.

If you wish to discuss how arms may be used, limited, or in some cases prohibited, then yes, laws can and have been written constitutionally; such as not allowing the discharge of arms in the middle of downtown except in self defense. The Second Amendment says nothing about not infringing upon any absolute right to use arms.

Your attempt to equate the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc., is apples and oranges. Those other rights talk about use, whereas the Second Amendment only discusses keeping and bearing. You have a right to keep and bear your language but laws can be written to prohibit and punish the misuse of language but no law can be written to prohibit the keeping and bearing of a language. Language is a tool just like arms are a tool. It’s all in how you use either than can be and is governed.

Woody

woodcdi on November 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Not extending my subscription, even after these 2 got fired. Stupid does not even begin to describe the can of worms these idiots opened up for the left.

riddick on November 9, 2013 at 5:51 PM

No Speech is NOT about “use”…your right to Speech does NOT imply a right to be heard…so no Speech is a right just like K&B…arms just like speech are NOT “innocuous”….neither is innocuous…if arms were innocuous states would not try to disarm people so much.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM

He IS right, ALL Constitutional Rights are circumscribed…
JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

He’s only right when you’re on the left.

Please remind me, Do those getting and those performing abortions have to go through a background check? They KILL last time I checked. To the tune of 330,000+ JUST LAST YEAR ALONE. WAY MORE THAN ALL GUN CRIMES combined, ten times more and counting. Talk about state sanctioned genocide while foaming at the mouth at the mere reference to a gun…

How does owning a gun create any harm to anyone?

riddick on November 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM

No Speech is NOT about “use”…your right to Speech does NOT imply a right to be heard…so no Speech is a right just like K&B…arms just like speech are NOT “innocuous”….neither is innocuous…if arms were innocuous states would not try to disarm people so much.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The First Amendment says nothing about being heard. Again you miss the point. I can keep and bear my language and not use it. I can keep and bear my arms and not use them.

Woody

woodcdi on November 9, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Well Riddick, there ARE limits on abortion…Roe v. Wade allows them…your point is a bit off….sure Abortion is far LESS limited than the 2nd, but it is STILL circumscribed.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Well Riddick, there ARE limits on abortion…Roe v. Wade allows them…your point is a bit off….sure Abortion is far LESS limited than the 2nd, but it is STILL circumscribed.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 6:21 PM

But one can still kill, per Wade vs. Roe.

Per your idiot logic any criminal should go free if killings he committed are what, within the first 6 months of getting a gun?

Wade vs Roe!!! Limits!!!

330,000 LAST YEAR ALONE.

One digit IQ is the greatest distinguishing feature of liberals.

riddick on November 9, 2013 at 6:28 PM

it is plain to see that this experiment with freedom that the founders started 200+ years ago, is a failure. We no longer live in a free country. The last defense for our limited freedom is an armed population. The destroyers of freedom can not and will not rest until that defense is gone. We have allowed too many infringements to all of our other freedoms to sustain a full defense. It’s over. Some poster said no rights are absolute. Bullcrap. The freedom of speech is absolute, the freedom of assembly is absolute, the freedom of religion is absolute. Just because our fathers and grandfathers gave up our rights for some perceived safety doesn’t mean that the RIGHTS ARE NOT ABSOLUTE. It just means we as a people no longer have the will to fight for nor defend the rights. And it also means we have sentenced our children and grandchildren into the cold dark hell of despotism and a return to the DARK ages.

May God have Mercy on our souls.

unseen on November 9, 2013 at 6:43 PM

During the revolutionary era, the word, “regulated,” was a synonym for quality equipment or material.

“Well regulated” meant “well equipped,” or possibly, “well managed.”

Metcalf was always a lightweight and deserves to have been booted off for that fact alone.

Cricket624 on November 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM

No Speech is NOT about “use”…your right to Speech does NOT imply a right to be heard.

JFKY on November 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM

are you stoned?

Of course the right to speech implies your right to be heard. Just like your right to keep arms implies your right to defend yourself and your family. To silence the population (i.e not allow people to be heard) is defacto control of speech. Just like disallowing you to defend yourself with armed defense is defacto gun control.

The freedom of speech is there to allow all voices to be heard in the marketplace of ideas. Thus allowing the winning debate to shine through the doublespeak of whichever government/power that is incharge at the moment.

Freedom of speech insures that governments, companies, courts, the press or anyone in power can not silence the truth to further their dreams of power. To work free speech must be heard.

It was decided via free exercise of speech from the readers of guns and ammo that the writer and editor having said their piece and been heard by said readers that the readers utterly and swiftly rejected their premise. the marketplace of ideas worked in this case. Further via exercise of free speech by both the readership as well as he editor staff enabld a debate to occur. That debate was decided as far as the readership of guns and ammo are concerned. the writer and editor’s ideas have been so utterly rejected after being heard that they are no longer free to debate the matter int hat forum. They are still free to continue the debate in any other fourm they want and they still enjoy the freedom to say and be heard in those fourmns just not at guns and ammo.

unseen on November 9, 2013 at 6:58 PM

During the revolutionary era, the word, “regulated,” was a synonym for quality equipment or material.

“Well regulated” meant “well equipped,” or possibly, “well managed.”

Metcalf was always a lightweight and deserves to have been booted off for that fact alone.

Cricket624 on November 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM

That needs to be added to everyone’s 2nd Amendment vocabulary. Ditto for “militia”, which meant then the same as it means now.

In fact, “militia” is codified in Federal law:

10 USC § 311 – Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Paul_in_NJ on November 9, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Your right to bear arms does NOT come from the 2nd amendment but is granted to you by your creator as a free man. The Bill of Rights was wasn’t passed until AFTER the Constitution was ratified and the first government was formed. We had a right to free speech and to bear arms without the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was designed to further limit government infringement on our natural rights. Metcalf still doesn’t get that point.

fastphil101 on November 9, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Look at your rights and freedoms as what would be required to survive and be free as if there were no government. Governments come and go, but your rights live on. If you wish to survive government, you must protect with jealous resolve all the powers that come with your rights – especially with the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Without the power of those arms, you will perish with that government – or at its hand.

Oh, and don’t confuse the right to defend yourself as being part of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. While the RKBA protects your right to some of the tools usable to defend yourself, the right to self defense is an inalienable right that stands on its own.

Woody

woodcdi on November 9, 2013 at 7:24 PM

The Mossberg. Semi-automatic or pump? And how many shells will it hold?

Ach. NEVER hunt deer with a shotgun.

Cleombrotus on November 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Pump that holds 5 +1. Some places in Michigan you can only use a Shotgun. I no longer have access to my bro-in-law dads place as he passed away and they had to sell the place to split the inheritance.
I bought some sabot slugs and I have riled slugs as well.

mechkiller_k on November 9, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Do Americans now fear open and honest discussion of different opinions about important Constitutional issues?

No – we don’t fear it.
But most of us have learned that an open and honest discussion is not possible with the gun-grabbing libtards. First of all, they have no clue what they’re talking about regarding guns, so their every perception about guns is based on total ignorance. But then they lie, they scream emotional slogans instead of using facts and logic, they ignore and try to cover up the facts, and I could go on with much more.
The left starts EVERY conversation about gun control with the words “reasonable” and “common sense”, based of course on THEIR definition of those words, which means they start everything with a lie – and it goes downhill from there.

Find a leftist who is actually capable of having an open and honest discussion about guns, and I’d be happy to do so – but I’ve never seen or heard one yet.

dentarthurdent on November 9, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Freedom of speech insures that governments, companies, courts, the press or anyone in power can not silence the truth to further their dreams of power.

Actually the 1st amendment only applies to the government, not corporations or the press. It’s in the first line:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

fastphil101 on November 9, 2013 at 8:05 PM

fastphil101 on November 9, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Exactly right. The 1st amendment is about government power – not other individuals or private entities, which includes corporations.
Try badmouthing the company you work for or your management and see how long you have a job.
Your boss has just as much 1st amendment rights as you do.
The 1st is about your ability to badmouth the government – since, in theory, they work for us. It’s about the (supposed) balance of power between “we the people” and “the government”.

dentarthurdent on November 9, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Expect this to happen much more often. Much of the pro-Gun and pro-hunting media is quietly being bought by the left.

WryTrvllr on November 9, 2013 at 8:27 PM

I’m just puzzled why Metcalf would pen an article favoring gun control in a guns magazine. What did he think would happen? He’s apparently not that bright.

drflykilla on November 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

He apparently expected a magazine celebrating gun ownership would pay him to write a column supporting restricting gun ownership and then pay to distribute it. That doesn’t seem all that well thought out. Then in his defense he states he believes all US citizens should be able to own guns. Really? Even those in jail for armed robbery and murder? Maybe he should look for work at the New York Times where his lack of capacity for rational thought will fit right in.

talkingpoints on November 9, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Your right to bear arms does NOT come from the 2nd amendment but is granted to you by your creator as a free man. The Bill of Rights was wasn’t passed until AFTER the Constitution was ratified and the first government was formed. We had a right to free speech and to bear arms without the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was designed to further limit government infringement on our natural rights. Metcalf still doesn’t get that point.

fastphil101 on November 9, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Thank God someone understands.

trs on November 9, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Plans were already in place for a new editor to take the reins of “Guns & Ammo” on January 1. However, these recent events have convinced me that I should advance that schedule immediately.

He’s the FDR of the gun magazine world?!

The Nerve on November 9, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Your new “Guns & Ammo” editor will be Eric R. Poole, who has so effectively been running our special interest publications, such as “Book of the AR-15” and “TRIGGER.” You will be hearing much more about this talented editor soon.

Whoops, I misunderstood. He’s the Richard Nixon of the gun magazine world. One month earlier for the new guy all due to an unliked column. Lucky.

The Nerve on November 9, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Metcalf’s response to his termination is, I’m sad to say, every bit as misguided as the original column. There isn’t a single person I’ve seen who is questioning his First Amendment rights. But he seems to be forgetting that the First Amendment is in place to protect him from retribution by his government to his exercise of free speech. There’s nothing in the Bill of Rights which assures him a fat paycheck or a position

Knee-jerk reaction, Jazz.

The Nerve on November 9, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Only in the private sector are there consequences to misconduct. In government they are rewarded with either promotions or inflated pensions.

Dasher on November 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

That whole “well-regulated militia” canard as used by the opponents of liberty make me see red. The phrase was completely clear and indisputable to the men who put it in the Amendment. It means that the governmental militia is regulated against doing whatever they please to the citizenry, because the citizens would shoot back with the arms they were free to keep and bear.

Every single entry in the Bill of Rights engages a regulation. A regulation against government intrusion in people’s lives, NOT a regulation against the liberty of the citizenry.

Freelancer on November 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I cancelled my subscription to G&A last week with the note that I would not continue to support a magazine that would have the bad taste to promote an editorial such as Metcalf’s or continue to employ him. Jaw-dropping stupid must be going around.

trl on November 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Any law that prevents you from owning and carrying a gun is anti-constitutional.

Imagine if the city of Chicago allowed slavery of forbid women from voting. What if the also disallowed baptist from practicing their religion. How about if they thought they’d just stop having jury trials?

You see the can not do any of those things because they are explicitly unconstitutional.

esnap on November 10, 2013 at 2:21 PM

2 caliber maroons.

profitsbeard on November 10, 2013 at 5:03 PM

If you wish to discuss how arms may be used, limited, or in some cases prohibited, then yes, laws can and have been written constitutionally; such as not allowing the discharge of arms in the middle of downtown except in self defense. The Second Amendment says nothing about not infringing upon any absolute right to use arms.

Your attempt to equate the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc., is apples and oranges. Those other rights talk about use, whereas the Second Amendment only discusses keeping and bearing. You have a right to keep and bear your language but laws can be written to prohibit and punish the misuse of language but no law can be written to prohibit the keeping and bearing of a language. Language is a tool just like arms are a tool. It’s all in how you use either than can be and is governed.

Woody

woodcdi on November 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I believe the part in BOLD print above has been altered. It should read, “If you wish to discuss how the USE of arms may be limited, or in some cases prohibited, …”

Woody

woodcdi on November 19, 2013 at 10:07 PM

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