The editor of Guns & Ammo, a popular national magazine for firearm enthusiasts, announced in an editorial published in his December issue that he supports gun control regulations, a position that is bound to shock plenty of his readers.
Dick Metcalf, in his opinion column
, draws a distinction between regulation and infringement of civil rights.
"I bring this up because way too many gun owners still believe that any regulation of the right to continue to keep and bear arms is an infringement," Metcalf writes. "The fact is that 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."
"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."
Metcalf pointed out that the Second Amendment already has some regulation: "It's illegal for convicted felons or the clinically insane to keep and bear arms."
Metcalf's comments, which surprised many in the blogosphere, are certain to outrage gun-rights supporters, many of whom argue that those rights are absolute. Some postings on the website freepatriot.org
called Metcalf a liberal and a "traitor."
Others simply opposed his opinion, saying it ran counter to what is outlined in the Constitution. They said his was a misinterpretation of the Second Amendment's protections, noting that Metcalf should be fired or that they would cancel subscriptions.
Revolver specialist Grant Cunningham, writing on his website
, also called Metcalf out over what he called a misreading of the law's provisions.
"Metcalf's article buys into the idea that regulated means legislated, and then — inexplicably for someone who calls himself an expert on constitutional law — uses his misunderstanding to say, in essence, that all legislated infringements are perfectly acceptable because they're just the regulations that the amendment allows," Cunningham wrote. "This is, obviously, nonsense.
"This lack of understanding of the language and historical background of the Second Amendment," Cunningham wrote, "leads Metcalf to regurgitate a number of prohibitionist talking points, including the ridiculous comparisons to automobiles and driver's licenses."
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