SLAP MY HEAD: Guns & Ammo Editor, ‘All Constitutional Rights Need Regulation, Even 2nd Amendment’

In the December issue of Guns & Ammo magazine, editor Dick Metcalf uses his “Backstop” column to argue that all constitutional rights need regulation, including the 2nd Amendment. has scanned and posted a copy of the column online. In it, Metcalf explains why he chose to address the regulation of constitutional rights: “I bring this up 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.”

Metcalf says he receives “bags of mail every year” from people complaining of the myriad regulations related to concealed carry permits. He says these readers “typically argue” that the 2nd Amendment “is all the authority they need” to keep and bear arms, to carry a gun with them where they go.

In response, Metcalf writes: “I [wonder] whether those same people believe 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.”

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  • StingRay

    Did this cretin not consider the damage he could inflict before submitting his article? Does anyone at Guns & Ammo proofread the articles before they go to print? Idiots.

  • Marge

    Time for this guy to go. Probably a plant.

  • Janet


    • LeSellers

      It makes sense to people who do not understand what rights are.

      For the rest of us, we who do, it is wholly irresponsible.

      Mr. Magoo O’bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

  • Freedom-First

    We can regulate the type of stupidity printed by this mag. Don’t buy it and cancel your subscriptions.

  • DonRS

    Would someone explain to this rocket scientist the difference between a right and a privilege. Apparently, the entire media world is only populated with left wingnuts. Obviously, Guns and Ammo magazine couldn’t find someone that supported its readers.

  • LeSellers

    “Metcalf writes: ‘I [wonder] whether those same people believe that just anybody should be able to buy a vehicle and take it out on the public roadways without any driver’s training, test, or license.'”

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but I do. And here’s why (and why it can’t work today with the “justice system we have now):

    Anyone willing to pay the consequences for his actions should be able to do anything he wants, unless that thing directly and measurably harms another person. Absent force, fraud, or injury, a person’s freedom to act is his life. We have no right to take his life, so we should have no power to restrict his actions, providing he is prepared and willing to rectify any harm arising from those actions. If he cannot pay himself, he can get insurance. If he has no insurance, he becomes the property of the person he harms until the debt is paid.

    We can’t do that now because we have a warped sense of justice. We believe that “jail time” pays the debt. It does not. To the contrary, it makes things worse. We hear about a “debt to society” but no such debt exists. If he harmed someone, the debt is to that person, not to the abstraction called “society” (which exists solely in people’s minds there is no such tangible thing).

    We let people off from paying their debts even in prison. They go on parole, they get reduced time for “good behavior”, etc. But the debt to their victims goes unpaid and gets larger because the victim often must pay taxes to support the criminal — to feed him, to clothe him, to house him, and even to entertain him.

    Further, anyone with even modest intelligence and motor control can learn to drive a car. Cars can be outfitted with control so those without feet can “step on the gas” and “hit the brakes”. People who can’t read drive and still obey (arbitrary) traffic laws. Most of us in my generation (I’m 65) learned to drive with Dad or Mom sitting in the passenger seat, in parking lots and on country roads. I learned at age 12 driving from Redwood Road the four miles home from church every Sunday. Dad’n’Mon would be responsible for any harm we caused, so they were very careful to insure we knew exactly what we were doing.

    It’s the same with firearms. We can teach anyone who wants to learn how to shoot, how to be safe when shooting, how to clean his weapons, how to load and clear a pistol, rifle or shotgun. There is no need for government intervention except when the person does harm to another human being (including his property). Then, if the perpetrator refuses to be responsible, the state can and should step in to enforce the “make whole” right of the victim.

    To require that everyone go through a series of arbitrary and bureaucratic hoops to exercise a basic right (whether to travel conveniently or use a firearm peaceably) is immoral.

    This discussion does not even address the issue of the II. It clearly says that we have the right to form well regulated militia and to own and carry firearms (as well as other arms). The first battles of the Revolution were fought over that very matter: the British were coming to take (and eventually did take) the colonial militia cannon, muskets, shot, and powder.

    The courts have clearly said that the right to “keep and bear” is an individual right. History tells us that tyrants invariably confiscate arms and force children into government-controlled schools. (The second is more reliable in creating a docile populace, and deserves a separate rant. I’ll spare you that for now.) So, for anyone to claim that rights need regulation is to demonstrate the speaker’s ignorance.

    Mr. Magoo O’bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

  • doug63

    owning a gun is a right….a driver’s license is a privilege.

  • doug63

    by the way Guns & Ammo fired dick Metcalf.

  • swed

    Our Constitutional Rights are NOT up for negotiation, PERIOD. This clown needs to have his meds upped and a straight jacket to prevent him from harming himself. What a stupid ass, pathetic. Obviously a liberal plant.

  • Mekadave

    Metcalf’s already been fired.

  • FPV

    First, I’m very pro Second Amendment. I consistently argue for legitimate applications for 2A rights, but the knee jerk reaction here is over the top. I understand what Metcalf said was somewhat excessive and certainly explained poorly, but there is no infallible constitutional right. The comparison to the “falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater” is a historic understanding of a limitation on the First Amendment. Though his comparison to the right of driving is stupid since it tries to compare an enumerated right with what is, at best, an implied 9th amendment/substantive due process right.

    But from a constitutional standpoint, all aspects can be limited by the government when there is at least a “compelling interest” and a method that is “narrowly tailored.” These are the strict scrutiny elements which allow courts to determine whether an infringement on a constitutional right is valid. Now courts have warped this definition to be more valid or more strict depending on the outcomes they want (or even applying different review standards), but there are clearly some instances where firearm regulations have a compelling interest (like keeping guns out of the hands of obviously dangerous/deranged individuals/felons) and are narrowly tailored (they explicitly target the dangerous audience and don’t wind up binding/harming people the law wasn’t intended to target).

    As such, a background check would probably pass a strict scrutiny test: gov has a compelling interest in making sure felons can’t buy weapons and it doesn’t impact people with a clean record–thus being narrowly tailored. Though that’s not to say that the use of a background check cannot be unconstitutional if it includes people who aren’t dangerous–such as the felon who was convicted for something like pirating software with no violent history–or when the checks are saved to create a registry of owners to intrude on their privacy.

    It is the duty of Gun Owners to make sure that the courts and government cannot extend the compelling interest and narrow tailoring aspects of strict scrutiny to points which infringe on safe, law abiding citizens’ rights.


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