November 7th, 2013

Guns & Ammo Editor Fired for Undercutting Second Amendment

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you….

Dick Metcalf Guns & Ammo second amendmentLong-time Guns & Ammo Magazine Technical Editor Dick Metcalf is looking for a new job this morning. The reason? Metcalf defended restrictive gun control laws in a story he wrote in the December issue of Guns & Ammo. This infuriated the magazine’s readers, who raised a storm of protest, flooding the internet with condemnations of Metcalf and the magazine. In damage control mode, Guns & Ammo immediately fired Metcalf and published an apology to its subscribers.

In his article, Metcalf completely misconstrued the language of the Second Amendment of the U.S, Constitution which states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Seizing on the word “regulated”, Metcalf argued that this means that government regulations which restrict fireams should NOT be considered “infringements” of the right to keep and bear arms.

Metcalf’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is faulty. In the Second Amendment, “regulated” does not refer to gun control — it is an adjective describing the status of the militia. As used in the 18th Century with reference to militias (and army units), “well regulated” meant “trained and organized”. If you read the dispatches from the Revolutionary War, the phrase “well regulated militia” was used to describe units that were trained, had a command structure, and were drilled regularly.* In modern parlance, we might use the phrase “trained and disciplined” in place of “well regulated”.

In any case, Metcalf has been fired from his position as technical Editor of Guns & Ammo. The magazine’s Chief Editor, Jim Bequette, issued this statement, disavowing Metcalf’s words, and announcing that Metcalf’s “association with Guns & Ammo has officially ended”:

Dick Metcalf Guns & Ammo second amendment

To see what gave rise to this controversy, here is a reprint of Dick Metcalf’s December 2013 column, entitled Let’s Talk Limits: Do Certain Firearms Regulations Really Constitute Infringement. (Click Image to load PDF file of this document):

Dick Metcalf Guns & Ammo second amendment

*This is explained in the award-winning history book, Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, by John Ferling. In that book, you can read actual military dispatches and orders from the Revolutionary War. Contemporary letters and dispatches often contrasted “well-regulated militias” to untrained units that had no assigned officers and rarely drilled.

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