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November 17, 2013


Dick Metcalf's Final Column For Guns And Ammo Magazine

Here is the politically incorrect column where Mr. Metcalf dares to suggest that gun owners should qualify to own a firearm by getting a license, just like when one wishes to drive a car. for this both he and his editor were fired for their common sense and for taking advantage of freedom of speech.

It's a funny thing, but the text of this column seems to be so buried on Google that it effectively does not come up. Plenty of commentary about it, and of course the worthless corporate media reports, but not the column itself. Guns And Ammo has taken it down, this text was taken from, of all places, a Hearst Times Union of Albany blog:


Let’s Talk About Limits

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads, “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.” Note careful: Those last four words say “shall not be infringed.”They do not say “shall not be regulated.” “Well regulated” is, in fact. The initial criterion of the amendment itself.

I bring this up because 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. 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. Freedom of assemble is regulated. People who don’t like you can’t gather an “anti-you” demonstration on our front lawn without your permission. And it is illegal for convicted felons or clinically insane to keep and bear arms.

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?

From 1976 through 1990 I wrote the “Fireman’s Law” in our sister publication, “Shooting Times.” During those same years I worked with US Senator Jim McClure, Congressman Harold Volkmer and NRA-ILA Executive Director Neal Knox to draft the the 1986 Vokmer-McClure Firearm Owners Protection Act; testified before Congress (and numerous state legislatures) on firearms law issues; and taught college seminars in the history of constitutional law.

I also received bags of mail every year, much of it from readers who were upset that I advocated the passage of additional state concealed carry laws. These readers typically argued (I’m paraphrasing) that “The Second Amendment is all the authority we need to carry anywhere we want to” or “The government doesn’t have the right to tell me whether I’m qualified to carry a gun.” I wondered whether whose same people believed that just anybody should be able to buy a vehicle and take it out on public roadways without any kind of driver’s training, test or license.

I understand that driving a car is not a right protected by the Constitution, but me the basic principle is that same. I firmly believe that all US citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I not believe they have a right use them irresponsibly. And I do believe their fellow citizens, by the specific language of the Second Amendment have an equal right to enact regulatory laws requiring them to undergo adequate training and preparation for the responsibility of bearing arms.

I’ve seen too many examples of unsafe behavior on too many shooting ranges to believe otherwise. And we’ve all read too many accounts of legally armed individuals deal with the consequences of not being properly trained or prepared when confronted with a bad situation.

This year, my Illinois homeland became the 50th state to enact a CCW statute. It’s a “shall issue” law, but it requires 16 hours of training to qualify for the license. Many say that’s excessive – an inherent infringement. But I’d like it be good training.

I write this on the day that Illinois Supreme Court in People v. Aguilar voided the arrest of a man in his friend’s yard in Chicago because he was holding a pistol. The court’s ruling ended by saying, “Of course in concluding that the Second Amendment protects the right to possess and use a firemen for self-defense outside the home, are in no way saying that such a right is unlimited or is not subject of meaningful regulation. That said, we cannot escape the reality that, in this case , were dealing not with a reasonable regulate but with a comprehensive ban.”

I don’t think that requiring 16 hours of training to qualify for concealed carry license is an infringement in and of itself.

But that is just me.

Dick Metcalf
Guns and Ammo
December 2013