Are the Ammunitionally Correct violating a writer’s free speech rights?


by David Safier

Dick Metcalf is a gun enthusiast, writer on guns and hunting and defender of a pretty strict interpretation of the Second Amendment and gun rights. But in his regular Guns & Ammo column in October, he wrote a column, "Let's Talk Limits," where he said, “The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.” He argued that the Second Amendment talks about a "well regulated militia" and says the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed," but it doesn't say "shall not be regulated."

He's been banished, or, as the Duck Dynasty defenders would say, his free speech rights have been violated. The gun mags won't publish him, and his television program is off the air.

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.”

Obviously, no, Metcalf's free speech rights haven't been harmed any more than those of Duckster Phil Robertson. Neither of them has a constitutional right to be published or be on television. Metcalf is still a free man who can write, blog, publish youtube videos or stand on a soapbox in a public square to his heart's content. If gun mags don't want to publish him and TV networks don't want to air his shows, that's their right.

Beyond the ridiculous talk of First Amendment rights being violated, when it comes to what groups consider acceptable speech, the right is far less tolerant than the left, and the gun crazies may be the least tolerant of all. Whispering that maybe, in some cases, some guns shouldn't be, you know, in some people's hands and maybe people don't really need, um, huge gun magazines hanging from their weapons is enough to get you banished for life. The NY Times article about Metcalf talks about an author of 23 hunting books who was banished in 2007 for "suggesting that military-style rifles were 'terrorist' weapons, best avoided by hunters." And in 2012, the editor of Recoil magazine had to step down because he said there's a good reason that the Heckler & Koch MP7A1 gun, made for use in law enforcement, shouldn't be in civilian hands.