I’ve resisted typing this piece because honestly any and every little thing on these subjects is akin to pouring gasoline on a fire that is already roaring.
In many ways the Guns and Ammo story with Dick Metcalf, is comparable to what I called a “Quackaroo” with Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, Duck and Buck Commander, the Robertson family, and the A&E network. Personally I felt then just as I do today that Phil Robertson has the freedom to voice his opinions, and that A&E has the freedom to either hire or fire an employee. It is more complicated in that I have no idea as to the terms of any contracts between the participants, and honestly feel that the entire episode was much ado about nothing because it had nothing to do with freedom of speech or freedom of religion.
Dick Metcalf, now a former employee of Guns and Ammo Magazine, used to write a column called “Backstop” for the periodical. His December 2013 column entitled “Let’s Talk Limits: Do certain firearms regulations really constitute infringement” resulted in an outcry from readers of the magazine and those who advertise in the magazine.
Mr. Metcalf wrote:
Note carefully: 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.”
He continued later:
“I firmly believe that all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to 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.”
He concluded with a statement concerning the state of Illinois and their “shall issue” law.
“I don’t think that requiring 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry license is infringement in and of itself. But that’s just me … .”
Soon afterwards, Guns and Ammo Magazine terminated Dick Metcalf. In what I believe to be the following issue, magazine editor Jim Bequette penned a response which begins:
“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.”
Later Mr. Bequette continued:
“In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, “Guns & Ammo”’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either.
Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with “Guns & Ammo” has officially ended.
I once again offer my personal apology. I understand what our valued readers want. I understand what you believe in when it comes to gun rights, and I believe the same thing.
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.”
Again, I am not privy to any contractual provisions between the parties. On the surface I will argue that Mr. Metcalf had the right to voice his opinion. As editor, Mr. Bequette could have axed the column before publication. Following the publication of the column, whoever actually owns the magazine had the right to terminate Mr. Metcalf, Mr. Bequette, both, or neither.
What bothers me is a double standard applied by many people. If one believes that Mr. Phil Robertson received unjust treatment for his positions then shouldn’t one also believe that Mr. Dick Metcalf received the same unjust treatment?
Why are feelings based primarily upon whether one agrees or disagrees with the opinions expressed?
I do not hunt, but I do own and shoot guns. In rural Louisiana, guns were a part of my upbringing but so was a respect and appreciation of the power of each type of gun. If any of my friends did something unsafe or acted irresponsibly in any manner with a weapon or any tool for that matter, he or she would face repercussions. If those repercussions did not come from parent, grandparent, or other adult, your peers would address the issue. Rights and Freedoms are one thing, but no paper or doctrine gives me or you the right or freedom to put the other in mortal danger whether intentional, unintentional, through ignorance, stupidity, or just by freak occurrence. Not everything is an infringement of rights.
Religiously, I personally believe in Christianity. I have friends who identify with different Protestant versions and Roman Catholics. I also have friends who are Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist, Jewish, and probably other faiths as well. I do not feel that one manner of thinking is superior to the other. If someone observed my friends, just from their daily actions they might feel that one of the Agnostics or Atheists display more of the Christian testaments than some of those who profess Christianity. We’re friends because we all believe in doing what we can to make others just a little healthier or a little happier through things within our control. Sure we have different opinions and beliefs, especially in regard to specifics, but only by taking the time to know and listen to each other have we discovered that our similarities outweigh these differences as many of our cores feelings are comparable.
Guns and religion can become volatile topics. The thing is, however, that we allow others to light the fuses leading to these explosions. Any stances which suggest that aspects from both extremes have merit and that an answer can be discovered someplace in between by mutual accord have become the worst type of evil imaginable. Keeping emotions high, stirring trouble, preventing, and discrediting efforts to find common points are proving to be very profitable to some.
Are you profiting? Am I profiting?
Or have we reached a stage where everyone is supposed to be a hypocrite, blame others, and disrespect the ideas of communication, compromise, and working together which previous generations embraced, albeit at times reluctantly, to turn the United States of America in a World Power?