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Old 01-06-2014, 01:38 AM   #1
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Default The pro-fear establishment shows its cowardly nature.

Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns


Dick Metcalf in Barry, Ill. He said in a column that “all constitutional rights are regulated,” alarming the gun community.

BARRY, Ill. — The byline of Dick Metcalf, one of the country’s pre-eminent gun journalists, has gone missing. It has been removed from Guns & Ammo magazine, where his widely-read column once ran on the back page. He no longer stars on a popular television show about firearms. Gun companies have stopped flying him around the world and sending him the latest weapons to review.

In late October, Mr. Metcalf wrote a column that the magazine titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” which debated gun laws. “The fact is,” wrote Mr. Metcalf, who has taught history at Cornell and Yale, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”

The backlash was swift, and fierce. Readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Death threats poured in by email. His television program was pulled from the air.


Dick Metcalf was fired after a nuanced column in Guns & Ammo.

Just days after the column appeared, Mr. Metcalf said, his editor called to tell him that two major gun manufacturers had said “in no uncertain terms” that they could no longer do business with InterMedia Outdoors, the company that publishes Guns & Ammo and co-produces his TV show, if he continued to work there. He was let go immediately.

“I’ve been vanished, disappeared,” Mr. Metcalf, 67, said in an interview last month on his gun range here, about 100 miles north of St. Louis, surrounded by snow-blanketed fields and towering grain elevators. “Now you see him. Now you don’t.”

He is unsure of his next move, but fears he has become a pariah in the gun industry, to which, he said, he has devoted nearly his entire adult life.

His experience sheds light on the close-knit world of gun journalism, where editors and reporters say there is little room for nuance in the debate over gun laws. Moderate voices that might broaden the discussion from within are silenced. When writers stray from the party line promoting an absolutist view of an unfettered right to bear arms, their publications — often under pressure from advertisers — excommunicate them.

“We are locked in a struggle with powerful forces in this country who will do anything to destroy the Second Amendment,” said Richard Venola, a former editor of Guns & Ammo. “The time for ceding some rational points is gone.”

There have been other cases like Mr. Metcalf’s. 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. In 2007, Jim Zumbo, by then the 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.

Garry James, a senior editor at Guns & Ammo, said in a phone interview several weeks ago that its readers were the magazine’s main concern and its editorial independence was not at risk. But, he added, “advertisers obviously always have power, and you always feel some pressure.” He declined to discuss Mr. Metcalf’s matter specifically, and the company did not respond to further phone calls and emails seeking comment on other aspects of the operation.

Mr. Metcalf said he was told that advertisers feared customers would boycott their products if they continued to advertise on TV shows and magazines featuring his work.

Two major advertisers with InterMedia are the gun companies Ruger and the Remington Arms Company. Ruger’s general counsel, Kevin B. Reid Sr., said in an email that it did have a conference call with InterMedia to discuss the column, but that it was informed “that the decision had already been made to part ways with Mr. Metcalf.” He denied Ruger pressured InterMedia to fire Mr. Metcalf.

A spokesman for Remington did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Editors of gun magazines are unapologetic in acknowledging that their content caters to the gun enthusiasts who believe their rights are under constant threat, and to the firearms companies that account for much of their revenue. At some magazines, said Jan Libourel, a former editor of both Guns & Ammo Handguns and Gun World magazines, “the editors only want editorial content for some key advertisers.”

Reporters and editors say that reviews are often written in close consultation with manufacturers. If a gun is judged to be of poor quality, magazines will quietly send it back for improvements rather than writing a negative review. The system is broadly accepted at these publications, gun writers say.

Mr. Venola, the former Guns & Ammo editor, described the relationship between the magazine’s editors and the gun makers as a necessarily cozy one. “You have to be in cahoots with the manufacturer, in order to make the publication appeal to the readership,” he said. “Say you write about boats. At some point you’re going to end up on the sun deck of a boat, downing sundowners after testing one, with the guy who makes it. It’s just how it happens.”

(Mr. Venola had murder charges against him dismissed in Arizona last year. He said he was defending himself after fatally shooting a neighbor during an argument.)

Mr. Metcalf said he invited a reporter to his home because he despairs that the debate over gun policy in America is so bitterly polarized and dominated by extreme voices. He says he is still contemplating how a self-described “Second Amendment fundamentalist” who keeps a .38 snub-nose Smith & Wesson revolver within easy reach has been ostracized from his community.

“Compromise is a bad word these days,” he said. “People think it means giving up your principles.”

A trim, avuncular man, Mr. Metcalf lives on a farm that has been in his family since 1837. The heads of 23 giant bucks line the walls of his shooting club. Plump wild turkeys gather by the dozen nearby.

Mr. Metcalf began his journalism career with a column in Shooting Times, a more technical gun publication, explaining the patchwork of gun laws across America to readers, while teaching at Cornell. Since then, he said, he has written for dozens of gun magazines within the group now owned by InterMedia, culminating with the back-page column in Guns & Ammo.

In the column that led to his dismissal, 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.

Though his editors had approved the column before it went to press, they reversed course after publication. Jim Bequette, editor of Guns & Ammo, issued an apology to the magazine’s roughly 400,000 readers. He told them Mr. Metcalf had been dismissed, and that he, Mr. Bequette, would move forward plans to hand the editorship on to his successor.

Acknowledging that some readers were “hopping mad,” he wrote: “Let me be clear: Our commitment to the Second Amendment is unwavering.”

Mr. Metcalf says his only regret about the column is that it was too short. “Some topics you should never try and discuss too briefly because they can’t be dealt with like that,” he said.

He knows that the odds of returning seamlessly to his old career are slim. When people ask him what’s next, he shows them a photograph taken shortly after InterMedia dismissed him. In it, he holds a gun, and a sign that reads “Will Hunt For Food.”
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:51 AM   #2
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Private magazine publishes opinion that pisses off customer base. Magazine fires writer in response to customer reaction. Magazine survives to continue publishing for profit.

Anything else?
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:42 AM   #3
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Gun people are some of the most irrationally paranoid people on the planet. They always feel threatened from every direction, and somehow always feel like people are trying to pry their guns out of their cold dead hands. I would place them on a level as bad or possibly even worse than some fundamentalist religious people, in that they are completely unwilling to listen to the other side of the story, discuss compromise or admit to any of their own faults. They stick their fingers in their ears and hum while everyone else tries to have an intelligent discussion on how to improve things.
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Old 01-06-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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Yeah? Look at the gun laws in NY and tell me they aren't trying to eliminate all guns.


It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
Gun people are some of the most irrationally paranoid people on the planet. They always feel threatened from every direction, and somehow always feel like people are trying to pry their guns out of their cold dead hands. I would place them on a level as bad or possibly even worse than some fundamentalist religious people, in that they are completely unwilling to listen to the other side of the story, discuss compromise or admit to any of their own faults. They stick their fingers in their ears and hum while everyone else tries to have an intelligent discussion on how to improve things.
Because most gun legislation comes in the form of restrictions of what can be done with the firearms, very rarely does legislation come that expands what you can legally do with a firearm.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by NA6C-Guy View Post
Gun people are some of the most irrationally paranoid people on the planet. They always feel threatened from every direction, and somehow always feel like people are trying to pry their guns out of their cold dead hands. I would place them on a level as bad or possibly even worse than some fundamentalist religious people, in that they are completely unwilling to listen to the other side of the story, discuss compromise or admit to any of their own faults. They stick their fingers in their ears and hum while everyone else tries to have an intelligent discussion on how to improve things.
Yah... but paranoid for a good reason. It has been continual 'compromise' by only the 2A folks...
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:07 AM   #7
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For 2A folks, the cake truly is a lie.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:18 AM   #8
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Did someone say cake?

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Old 01-06-2014, 09:31 AM   #9
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I was thinking of that exact same picture, and I am an Aussie.

Dann
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #10
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Let me try adding in the full size with the edit function...

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Old 01-06-2014, 10:59 AM   #11
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I'm not surprised by the magazines response. Computer magazines were even worse in the 90's.

He is a big name, he could launch a blog or his own site and continue to rake in the dollars for his articles.

That comic strip is perfect.
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:14 AM   #12
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Yeah, it's certainly within the pervue of a magazine to fire someone for saying something that they disagree with. And while the first amendment obviously applies only to government censorship and not censorship by private agencies, it's still kind of an interesting peek below the skirt, as it were, to just how radically paranoid some folks within the pro-fear industry have become. It illustrates the futility of even attempting to have a rational conversation about the topic.

(These, of course, being many of the same people who will gladly jump up and down and scream about how their constitutional rights are being violated at all other times. It's a very selfish, "me-oriented" way of thinking.)

In a way, this reminds me a great deal of certain other groups, such as the Scientology movement, which thrive on finding new ways to be persecuted. It's the mindset of "If you are not mindlessly in complete agreement with us at all times, then you must be our enemy."
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:21 AM   #13
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I just don't see why either aspect of this is surprising.

(1) People tend to be protective and defensive of their own interests. Look at how riled up cyclists get about bike-lanes and cyclists' rights and traffic laws. Imagine what they'd be like if there existed a sizable part of the population (including political lobbying groups) that believed that citizens shouldn't even be ALLOWED to own bicycles much less operate them on public property.

(2) Every magazine sucks up to advertisers. Look at car magazines. Even C&D, probably the boldest of the mainstream car magazines, rarely publishes anything more negative than lukewarm car review. Automobile and R&T are basically magazine-length car ads. Motor Trend gives out awards to cars they've never driven. It's not a secret.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #14
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Okay, I can admit there has been a lot of compromise by the "gun people", but what exactly are they forbidden to do, that they really need to do? At least in my area, you can purchase a rifle or shotgun easily, with very limited hassle. You can also purchase a pistol with again, very little hassle, and you can carry one on person by filling out a 1 page piece of paper and paying $7.50 a year. I don't really understand what gun people are jumping up and down about. Unless I'm just unaware of certain laws, they aren't really forbidden to do anything reasonable with their guns. All the restrictions I know of are perfectly reasonable.

I used to be pro-gun, but recently I have begun to change my mind. Seeing how crazy a lot of people seem, and how incapable so many people are at dealing with daily stress and criticism, maybe it should be harder to get a firearm. And while you are allowed by law to own as many guns as you want, why does one need a whole gun safe full of rifles and pistols? I know the "because I can" and the "why shouldn't I be able to" arguments, but that doesn't explain why so many common people need so many weapons.

And I promise I'm not just trying to be a troll. Please list to me the rights that gun owners have had to give up. I genuinely don't know. Perhaps I am woefully ignorant on this topic. I'm also referring to federal laws, not state or local laws.
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:06 PM   #15
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How about AR-15's? Most common rifle in the US is now on the "bad" list in NYS. Sure, you can register certain guns, but how long before they make them completely illegal, and now you're on the record? How about registering ammo purchases? Would you like it if alcohol was regulated like that? After all, alcohol kills more than illegal guns do.

Stupid **** like 7 rounds in the magazine was deemed unconstitutional, but other stupid **** like no magazines over 10 rounds was not. It's all very arbitrary & nonsensical.

I would have absolutely no problem with them banning anything, provided it applied across the board. I can't have it? Then neither can the police. And certainly not the bodyguards of the rich and famous.
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:20 PM   #16
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"Does everything have to be so black and white in this kindergarten country of ours?"

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Old 01-06-2014, 02:26 PM   #17
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How about AR-15's? Most common rifle in the US is now on the "bad" list in NYS. Sure, you can register certain guns, but how long before they make them completely illegal, and now you're on the record? How about registering ammo purchases? Would you like it if alcohol was regulated like that? After all, alcohol kills more than illegal guns do.

Stupid **** like 7 rounds in the magazine was deemed unconstitutional, but other stupid **** like no magazines over 10 rounds was not. It's all very arbitrary & nonsensical.

I would have absolutely no problem with them banning anything, provided it applied across the board. I can't have it? Then neither can the police. And certainly not the bodyguards of the rich and famous.
Fair enough. How long before they make it completely illegal? Nobody knows. Until then we don't really have a choice but to go along with their brilliant ideas. Registering ammo purchases, I don't guess I know about that one.

I do agree about the magazine restrictions being completely retarded. Both me and my friend have the same pistol, but because mine was made slightly before his, mine fell into an old ban era where my magazine is 10 rounds, his is 14. I don't see where magazine capacity means anything.

I completely agree with you here. I actually wish they would ban a lot of things across the board, given that everyone else followed and it wasn't just civilians.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:03 PM   #18
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Please list to me the rights that gun owners have had to give up. (...) I'm also referring to federal laws, not state or local laws.
And that's part of what I find interesting.

As Roger noted, there are certain states and cities which have enacted what some might consider overly conservative limitations on the ownership and possession of certain types of firearms and firearm accessories. California, New York, Washington DC, and so on. Further, while many regions do technically permit certain classes of possession (eg: concealed carry in CA), they have, in practice, tended to make such affordances nearly inaccessible.



And then, I drive around small towns in the southeast, like the unincorporated township of Port Charlotte, FL where I spent the past two weeks visiting my family. And I note what seems to be a disproportionate growth in the number of gun stores located in strip malls and such on US41, which is the main drag through town. The gun shops now vastly outnumber the book stores in town, and when I ask locals about this, I'm told that there's a rush to stock up on guns and ammunition before Obama outlaws them all (paraphrased.)


It's interesting that some people genuinely fear that the executive branch of the federal government is going to take away their right to purchase military assault rifles for personal use.

Or that they ever even had this "right" in the first place. A lot of folks seem to think that this is granted to them by the constitution, though if you really dig deep into the second amendment and take the time to grok its meaning, it actually says nothing of the sort.



Jesse kinda nailed this one. No, I don't walk around the streets of New York City fearing that I'm going to be assaulted at any moment. I suspect that, of those who do, at least a simple majority would benefit more from therapy and a stiff drink than from having an AR15 in their pocket.

And then I try to imagine what the world would be like if every single person who I see on the Jerry Springer show were walking around with a 9mm Beretta in their oversized knockoff Prada purse.

Actually, that would probably be the best thing imaginable in terms of welfare reform.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:25 PM   #19
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And that's part of what I find interesting.

As Roger noted, there are certain states and cities which have enacted what some might consider overly conservative limitations on the ownership and possession of certain types of firearms and firearm accessories. California, New York, Washington DC, and so on. Further, while many regions do technically permit certain classes of possession (eg: concealed carry in CA), they have, in practice, tended to make such affordances nearly inaccessible.



And then, I drive around small towns in the southeast, like the unincorporated township of Port Charlotte, FL where I spent the past two weeks visiting my family. And I note what seems to be a disproportionate growth in the number of gun stores located in strip malls and such on US41, which is the main drag through town. The gun shops now vastly outnumber the book stores in town, and when I ask locals about this, I'm told that there's a rush to stock up on guns and ammunition before Obama outlaws them all (paraphrased.)


It's interesting that some people genuinely fear that the executive branch of the federal government is going to take away their right to purchase military assault rifles for personal use.

Or that they ever even had this "right" in the first place. A lot of folks seem to think that this is granted to them by the constitution, though if you really dig deep into the second amendment and take the time to grok its meaning, it actually says nothing of the sort.



Jesse kinda nailed this one. No, I don't walk around the streets of New York City fearing that I'm going to be assaulted at any moment. I suspect that, of those who do, at least a simple majority would benefit more from therapy and a stiff drink than from having an AR15 in their pocket.

And then I try to imagine what the world would be like if every single person who I see on the Jerry Springer show were walking around with a 9mm Beretta in their oversized knockoff Prada purse.

Actually, that would probably be the best thing imaginable in terms of welfare reform.
Joe, bit ridiculous of statements by you. Have I forgotten how you typically talk through topics like this such that you go for absurd inaccurate statements?

AR15s in their pocket?
Take away their right to purchase military assault rifles?

You are better than that I thought, those are the sad absurd statements made by the people who think no one should ever own any type of firearm (except them and their bodyguards).

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Old 01-06-2014, 04:32 PM   #20
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those are the sad absurd statements made by the people who think no one should ever own any type of firearm (except them and their bodyguards).

It's always to that extreme isn't it? I think this is kind of the point to this whole thread. Someone brings up that maybe there are things about current gun laws that should be discussed and people lose their ****. Nobody ever said anything about no one should ever be allowed to own any type of firearm. And I think most of the gun rights people aren't saying that either. They might ask why one needs to own an assault rifle and the gun people starts soap boxing that people are trying to hold them down and take their guns away from them. It always feel like a lot of overreaction to me.
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