Metcalf Really Needs to Stop Digging

Thanks to Bearing Arms for pointing to Dick Metcalf digging ever deeper whining about the premature demise of his career. He also shows a poor understanding of the standard model of the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, Metcalf noted, “not that it shall not be regulated.” Rather the first four words of the amendment, “a well regulated militia,” not only allow but mandate regulation.

We’ve been over and over this, again and again. The prefatory clause is simply a justification for acknowledging the right. There are other such prefatory clauses in the Constitution, such as:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

People have argued, in front of the Supreme Court, that the prefatory clause meaningfully modifies the nature of the power in question, and the Supreme Court rejected the idea. Only two justices tried to argue that the prefatory clause limited the power to only those things which promoted the progress of science and useful arts. The structure of the Second Amendment is nearly identical. The prefatory clause, which states the case for acknowledging the right, does not meaningfully limit it, anymore than the patent and copyright prefatory clause limits Congress’ power. That’s without even needing dissect the 18th century meaning of “well-regulated,” which in this case means regulated like a clock, and not regulated like a chemical plant.

“Everything is regulated, but everything is not infringed. Not all regulation is infringement. Is your right to drive a car being infringed by a speed limit?”

There is no right to drive a car. Some may say there ought to be, and I would be among those who would agree with that, but current law treats the “right” to drive a car on public roads as a “privilege.” If it was recognized as a right, things might be different. Also, a speed limit only regulates what you may do with a car. No one would argue the Second Amendment is so absolute as to preclude how one may employ a firearm. You have no Second Amendment right to rob a bank with a gun. No one would argue that you have a Second Amendment right to shoot across your neighbor’s yard, or shoot across a public road or waterway absent any exigent circumstances. That’s very different than some of the regulations Metcalf has advocated for, which would amount to a prior restraint when it comes to other rights.

Those are debates we can have. Some have argued that the prior restraint doctrine from First Amendment law might not be completely applicable to Second Amendment law, and I don’t see people calling for Dave Kopel’s career on a platter. The problem with Metcalf’s article, and his continuing statements in the media was/is ignorance. I can point to numerous examples of people getting away with the kind of things he’s been saying without getting skewered. Metcalf’s problem is he’s adopted many of the shopworn arguments of our opponents. No one argues the Second Amendment is absolute, or that we could reasonably expect the courts to find it as such. There’s plenty of room to argue about this or that. But when you adopt the same rhetoric and tired arguments as our opponents, people are going to react badly. That’s what Metcalf did, and has been continuing to do.

24 thoughts on “Metcalf Really Needs to Stop Digging”

  1. I’ll say it again, his Cornell background is a precursor to his Dunning-Kruger effect/affect. His cognitive bias blurs the effects he intends – he thinks he’s smarter than he really is and without adequate verification is unable to recognize or correct for mistakes.

  2. Its getting disturbing that Metcalf either refuses to recognize what his critics are actually saying, or is so dishonest that he intentionally lies about the dispute.

  3. He was fired for giving cover to the enemy while we were in the middle of serious political battle for our rights. Watching him for the past year constantly allow himself to be used by every leftist as a prop for gun control just proves that firing this ass clown was the right decision.

  4. How do you even enter this debate without understanding the 18th century meaning of “regulated? “

    1. “Well regulated” : In good working order; Well trained and equipped.

      I would argue that mandatory training (through the schools) of basic firearm proficiency is certainly permitted by the Second Amendment.

      You could probably also argue that a system of compulsory militia service (e.g. The Swiss) is permissible under the second amendment.

      On the other hand, banning types of firearms due to their physical characteristics (barrel length, overall length, fire modes, visible parts, bore diameter, etc.) is NOT acceptable under the Second Amendment.

  5. “a well regulated militia,” not only allow but mandate regulation.
    He has been studying and writing about the Bill of Rights and firearms for 37 years.

    He studied the BOR for 37 years and NEVER got a chance to read any of the writings of the people who wrote the document? How does someone ‘study’ and not even accidently stumble upon what was debated at the time?

    He never pursued digging into the REAL meaning of “regulated” and just ignorantly assumes that it’s the same as the the modern day usage?
    Dick Metcalf could be the picture in the dictionary next to “over-educated idiot”.

  6. Metcalf also strongly implies that 1/3 of current gun-owners should have the ability to legally purchase or posses firearms stripped away. His stance reeks of an attitude of elitism. He is a big time hunter who has even been to Africa, you lot are a bunch of scruffy rednecks just one oops away from killing yourself with your own firearm.

    1. Just for the sake of accuracy, the quote was, “I can’t tell you how many senior executives at firearms companies, over a beer when no one’s watching, will say, ‘You do know we realize that, of course, at least a third of our customers shouldn’t be let within five miles of a gun.'” Granted, that doesn’t mean that Dick didn’t agree (he certainly didn’t disagree) with the statement.

      1. I would dearly love for him to name names. There are certainly people who should not be let within five miles of a gun. But they are overwhelmingly people who can’t legally own one today.

        1. I would dearly love for him to name names.

          He’s obviously lying through his teeth. Not only wouldn’t any of these senior executive be dumb enough to say something like that, but they sure wouldn’t say it to a [thankfully, former] journalist. Even “after a beer”, which I guess we’re supposed to take as, just a couple of dudes talking mano-a-mano about the ‘ol killin’ industry or whatever. C’mon, now. The takeaway is supposed to be that everyone in the industry is evil, and knows they’re selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them. His lies are crafted specifically to try and do the most harm.

          So, more likely he feels betrayed by the gun community and is now in a “F%ck me? No, F%CK YOU!” mode of trying to screw the gun community in any and every way possible. He’s like a little girl whose crush asked someone else to the dance. Good riddance to him.

          1. Yes Metcalf lied. You almost have it, but I don’t think his intention was to imply gun companies are evil though it certainly comes out that way. Since there is no evidence to support what Metcalf claims to have heard, the logical conclusion is that he is voicing his own true opinion about fellow gun-owners by using a convenient false frontman to deflect anger. That’s why I said “Metcalf implied…”

      2. If I recall the numbers correctly, there are about 300M guns, and 49M gun owners; according to this quote, that means about 17M people shouldn’t be owning guns, who have them (I’m rounding up to keep the math simple in my head).

        Considering that only 30k people die from guns every year, and that allegedly 150k are injured by guns for year (probably not that high; I’m going off memory, and deliberately “rounding up” to be on the safe side of this), I would estimate that, in a given year, only 1% of this population who shouldn’t have guns, is causing a problem.

        This is ignoring the fact that these injuries and deaths include suicides, things committed by people already banned from guns, and justifiable shootings.

        This is also ignoring the fact that it’s impossible to determine who is in this magical 33% group of gun owners who shouldn’t have guns; indeed, it even fluctuates from year to year!

        Finally, I also wonder how many of those alleged “senior executives” sell exclusively (or near enough to be pretty much exclusive) to the police and the military….who are also, precisely, the people gun-banners like to say should be allowed to own weapons!

  7. Metcalf reminds me of the person who gets really upset when their passion becomes more mainstream. Remember, Metcalf was into guns back when practically no states had concealed carry and semi-auto rifle and even pistol ownership was viewed as more fringe.

    I’m willing to bet that as gun rights grew over the decades and more people became gun owners, Metcalf threw a hissy fit that people clearly not as intelligent or cultured as him started carrying and collecting/shooting ARs. His only response to this (like a fan of an obscure band that suddenly becomes popular) is to lash out at the newer generations of enthusiasts and even the interest itself.

    In other words, he never cared so much about gun rights as he did his own enjoyment with guns. When his exclusivity started to die out among his friends and colleagues he didn’t know how to react other than with disdain.

    1. So, what you’re saying basically boils down to: “he’s a hipster.”

      They really do ruin everything, don’t they….

      1. So, what you’re saying basically boils down to: “he’s a hipster Fudd.”

        They really do ruin everything, don’t they….

        Fixed it for you.

        1. Actually, I think the point Joe was trying to make is that he was a Fudd before it was cool to be a Fudd (or something along those lines)…..

          In other words, he’s the answer to the question: “What do you get when you cross a hipster with a Fudd?”

  8. This notion that dialogue is impossible irks me, because of the assumption that it’s the People of the Gun that are responsible, and not the Nanny Gun Grabbers. There are two problems with this notion:

    First, People of the Gun actually welcome dialogue; they’ve had so much of it, that pretty much anything a Nanny Gun Grabber says has been refuted, time and again, six ways since Sunday. To me, at least, I feel as though we’ve had the dialogue and won, and we are now working diligently to make sure that the dialogue continues wherever Gun Grabbing Advocacy rears its ugly head.

    Second, Nanny Gun Grabbers have demonstrated time and again that People of the Gun cannot trust them. For every proclamation that “no one wants to take your guns”, we can find three editorials, two of them from politicians, illustrating that yes, they Nanny Gun Grabbers really are out to take our guns, and that every regulation, no matter how small, is a baby step towards their goal of a complete and utter ban.

    Is it any wonder when a supposed Person of the Gun proclaims the thoroughly debunked notions of the Nanny Gun Grabbers, the reaction of the People of the Gun is “You can take your ‘dialogue’, stuff it up where the sun don’t shine, and then retire early so you can move to your new residence in a particularly warm spot reserved for traitors to Freedom, and may the chains rest lightly on your soul?”

    Particularly since Metcalf seems to welcome the burning coals that we’re so eager to shovel onto his head….

    1. Indeed, my trust and ascribing “good intentions” to them has expired.

      Anyone who proposes infringements on ANY of the Bill of Rights, I consider to be un-American and traitors. It goes double for those who attack the Second Amendment because it protects the others.

      So, dialogue is impossible. What they want is incompatible with my liberty and freedom. There can be no negotiation or concessions.

  9. “whining about the premature demise of his career”
    Career? What career?

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