Gun Bullies

I have written several times about liberal bullies who threaten people who dare to question their ideals with the loss of employment, or worse. Most recently I have defended Phil Robertson’s right to express his opinion about homosexuality and other issues. There are some who do not regard this sort of thing as an infringement of the right of free speech because it is not a case of the police or government agents jailing anyone. I do not agree. If a clique of activists can pressure employers to blacklist anyone who dissents from politically correct orthodoxy, the effect is much the same as the threat of sending that person to prison. The whole point is to instill fear and compliance.

It is with a sense of disappointment, then, that I must now write about a case of conservative bullying , this time on the subject of gun control. I have been and still am a supporter of the second amendment right to bear arms. I do not own a gun and have never fired one. I am under no illusions that I could use a gun to defeat a criminal. I do not even like guns very much. I wish they had never been invented and that people still fought wars with spears and swords. My support for the second amendment is solely due to my support for freedom. I believe that if someone wants to own a gun, they should be allowed to own a gun and ought not to have to explain themselves to anyone. I agree with the NRA and others that this is a freedom issue.

For this reason, I believe that those who purport to defend freedom ought to play any role in restricting freedom, especially when it comes to a man who is on their side and has himself been a firm supporter of the second amendment. Such an action, however, can be found in the case of Dick Metcalf. Mr. Metcalf is a well-known gun writer who had a column in Guns & Ammo as well as a television show. He had the column and show, until he wrote a column suggesting that there should be some sort of regulations on gun ownership. This act of heresy got him fired. Here are more details from the New York Times. I realize that the Times is not the most credible source, being only one notch above the Weekly World News these days, but I think the article is worth reading.

he 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.

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.

He is right, of course, in suggesting that the constitutional right to bear arms must have some limits. I don’t believe that even the most fanatic gun rights advocate would suggest that citizens be permitted to own rocket-propelled grenades, or surface to air missiles, then again I could be wrong.

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.”

That is the problem, though. The people who call for “reasonable restrictions” to prevent “gun violence” often seem to believe that the only reasonable restriction is to ban private ownership of firearms. Still, I don’t think that it is necessary to circle the wagons as it were. Public opinion and political momentum are on the side of the defenders of the second amendment. Remember, the measures that President Obama wanted Congress to pass were very mild compared to the sort of proposals that were discussed a couple of decades ago, and it still didn’t pass. The Supreme Court has affirmed the second amendment grants individuals the right to own guns. We shouldn’t grow complacent, but there is no need to be defensive or set up an inquisition to ensure ideological purity. We don’t have to act like liberals.

What has happened to Dick Metcalf  and others is no different than what happened to Phil Robertson. Both men were fired after expressing an opinion which offended an activist group, in Metcalf’s case seemingly an entire industry. I would hope that the people who supported Phil Robertson’s rights would also support Dick Metcalf, even if they don’t agree with what he wrote. I am not very hopeful that will happen, though. These days, all too many people only support the right to express opinions they personally agree with.



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Gun Free Zones for Politicians

Some smart-aleck petitioned the White House to eliminate armed guards for politicians, perhaps on the grounds that what is good enough for the little people is good enough for our leaders.

Gun Free Zones are supposed to protect our children, and some politicians wish to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms. Those same politicians and their families are currently under the protection of armed Secret Service agents. If Gun Free Zones are sufficient protection for our children, then Gun Free Zones should be good enough for politicians.

If gun free zones really deter people from committing violence with guns, then we could save a lot of taxpayer money by just putting up gun free zone signs all about the White House, right? The White House doesn’t agree with that reasoning.

Thanks for your petition.

We live in a world where our elected leaders and representatives are subject to serious, persistent, and credible threats on a daily basis. Even those who are mere candidates in a national election become symbols of our country, which makes them potential targets for those seeking to do harm to the United States and its interests. In 1901, after the third assassination of a sitting President, Congress mandated that the President receive full-time protection, and that law is still in effect today. Because of it, those who are the subject of ongoing threats must receive the necessary and appropriate protection.

At the same time, all of us deserve to live in safer communities, which is why we need to take responsible, commonsense steps to reduce gun violence, even while respecting individual freedom. And let’s be clear: President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. You can see him talk about that in a previous petition response:

But the common-sense steps the President has proposed don’t infringe in any way on our Second Amendment rights. We ought to be able to keep weapons of war off the streets. We ought to close the loopholes in the background check system that make it too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to buy guns — an idea that has the support of 90 percent of people in the United States.

That’s why the President and an overwhelming majority of Americans are calling on Congress to pass gun safety legislation that closes loopholes in the background check system and makes gun trafficking a federal crime.

A minority in the Senate is blocking this common-sense legislation to reduce gun violence, but President Obama is already taking action to protect our kids with executive actions. He is taking the steps available to him as President to strengthen the existing background check system, give law enforcement officials more tools to prevent gun violence, end the freeze on gun violence research, make schools safer, and improve access to mental health care.

I am not sure the person tasked with responding to the petition quite gets the point. The people in charge of the President’s security have a

Please start shooting here. No one will stop you.
Please start shooting here. No one will stop you.

good idea what works to keep him safe and what does not work. They must know perfectly well that declaring the White House a gun free

zone and disarming his Secret Service detail would be a disaster. Why would anyone think that declaring a place a gun free zone would work anywhere else? Isn’t that as good as telling a criminal or lunatic that he is not likely to run into much resistance?

More to the point, are any of the policies that the President proposes likely to be effective at reducing crime? There doesn’t seem to be a link between stronger gun control laws and reduced crime. Many of the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws seem to have the most gun crimes. On the other hand, the general liberalization of gun laws over the last decade or so doesn’t seem to have increased the crime rate. I am not sure I understand the president’s urgency on this issue, given that violent crime rates have been dropping for the last two decades. Maybe it beats talking about the economy or the mess in the Middle East.

Hey, this is my 1000th post. I didn’t think I could keep this blog going for so long.

Gun Sanity

There has been a terrible tragedy in Ohio. A young man went to Chardin High School and started shooting at the students. Three were killed and another two have been hospitalized.

Naturally, the Left has lost no time in exploiting this crime in order to push gun control, as witness this editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal. This editorial, which they titled “Gun Insanity” is shameless and more than a little dishonest.I’ll give a few excerpts.

The shootings Monday at a suburban Cleveland high school that have now claimed three students’ lives will evoke widespread grief and horror, as they should. They will produce a search for motives and explanations, and there are already hypotheses regarding the teen-age shooter involving bullying, isolation and undetected personal problems. There will be discussion of the role of parenting and social media in such tragedies.What one can be absolutely certain of in today’s America, however, is that no serious political or public pressure will be brought to bear on the national madness that makes such slaughters not only possible but inevitable: an addiction to guns that is so sweeping that it all but prevents limiting access to firearms even by the millions of disturbed American adults and adolescents.

In a world that often emulates the United States, the American obsession with guns, and its Second Amendment that has been twisted to justify nearly unfettered private ownership of even the most powerful military and police firearms, is rejected by every advanced nation — and with good reason. In the January 2011 edition of the Journal of Trauma, researchers compared gun death rates in 23 advanced nations and found that the American numbers were by far the worst.The report noted: “Among these 23 countries, 80 percent of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States, 86 percent of women killed by firearms were U.S. women, and 87 percent of children [up to the age of] 14 killed by firearms were U.S. children.”

The Second Amendment has been twisted? Here is that amendment in its entirety.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I don’t see how anyone would get the idea that the Second Amendment allows gun ownership, except that it is stated in plain English. The only people doing the twisting are activist judges who state the amendment means the precise opposite of its actual words.

Now, as to the level of gun deaths in the United States. I agree that too many people are murdered in this country. I wonder though, if the editors of the Courier-Journal have bothered to examine the evidence that the increasing number of states with concealed carry laws have been associated with lower crime rates, and see this chart. They might have noticed that the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws have the highest crime rates. They might also have observed that since Britain all but banned private ownership of firearms, the crime rate there has been exploding.

The editorial does end on a high note, at least to me.

No matter. There is no political will even to ban assault rifles and rapid-fire guns. Proposals to register guns, just like cars, don’t even get a hearing. States’ rights advocates perversely insist that local and state gun-control laws be superseded by higher authority.

Thank goodness. This, like so many other issues today, is a freedom issue.



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