SHOOTING — Dick Metcalf, one of the country’s preeminent gun journalists for decades, has been dropped from a firearms TV show and dismissed as a columnist for Guns & Ammo magazine — and gun companies have stopped wining, dining and flying him to exotic locations to shoot.
His violation? Telling the truth.
The New York Times recently reported on the man who has been blackballed despite devoting his life to the shooting sports and monitoring gun laws. He foolishly dared to stray the tiniest bit off the gun-lobby reservation.
In October, Metcalf wrote a column that the magazine titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” which debated gun laws.
“The fact is,” wrote Metcalf, who has taught history at Cornell and Yale, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”
He said that too many gun owners believed that the constitution prohibits any regulation of firearms. He noted that all rights are regulated, like freedom of speech. “You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater,” he wrote.
“The question is, when does regulation become infringement?” he continued. Mr. Metcalf ended the column arguing that requiring 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry license was not an infringement.
Guns & Ammo editors had approved the column before it went to press, but they reversed course after publication when firearms-related companies threatened to pull their advertising if Metcalf wasn't canned.
The viciousness of the gun crowd to their own kind isn't new. In 2007, Jim Zumbo, long-time hunting editor for Outdoor Life and author of 23 hunting books, wrote a blog post for Outdoor Life’s website suggesting that military-style rifles were “terrorist” weapons, best avoided by hunters. His writing, television and endorsement deals were quickly put on hiatus. The term “Zumboed” was coined and applied to anyone ostracized for saying anything counter to the party line on guns. He had to grovel and be rehabilitated by letting Ted Nugent show him the virtues of an AR-15.
In 2012, Jerry Tsai, the editor of Recoil magazine, wrote that the Heckler & Koch MP7A1 gun, designed for law enforcement, was “unavailable to civilians and for good reason.” He was pressured to step down, and despite apologizing, has not written since, the Times reported.