Dick Metcalf Speaks Up About Gun Control And The NRA Stays Silent

One of the most esteemed and long-time gun supporters, Dick Metcalf, recently came out with an article that supports the bizarre idea that people who walk around with guns should have training before they do so.  What makes Metcalf’s comments so significant is that his essay appeared in the December issue of Guns and Ammo magazine, the most widely-circulated commercial firearms magazine in the world.  Metcalf has been writing for G&A for decades and he was instrumental in advising Senator Jim McClure and Congressman Harold Volkmer on the drafting of the McClure-Volkmer Act, which corrected some of the abuses of the 1968 law that created federal regulation of retail and interstate gun sales.

Metcalf makes the argument, similar to an argument that you have seen in my posts, that the 2nd Amendment does not prohibit the government from regulating firearms, a point underscored by Scalia in the majority decision – District of Columbia Versus Heller – that affirmed the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun for self defense.  Scalia put it this way: “Nothing in our opinion should cast doubt on well-established laws…that regulate the legal commerce in firearms.”

photograph of the justices, cropped to show Ju...

photograph of the justices, cropped to show Justice Scalia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since Heller, the NRA and its supporters have been going all out to justify the spread of concealed-carry laws based on the notion that the 2nd Amendment covers any sort of firearm use for self-protection in the home or anywhere else.  In fact, last week the SCOTUS refused to hear, without comment, a Maryland case in which the concealed-carry statute gives police the authority to grant concealed privileges only if an applicant can prove need.  There are a number of other concealed-carry laws that are currently moving through the courts and it’s not clear when or if the SCOTUS will decide to clarify the Heller decision with reference to concealed carry.  But if they do rule that concealed-carry laws are not an unquestioned extension of the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun, then a very major part of the NRA’s strategy to extend gun ownership goes right down the drain.

What Metcalf argues is no different from what many of us have been saying, namely, that if you want the privilege of walking around with a gun you should be required to take serious training in using it properly. There are very few states that require any special training for concealed carry permits; in my home state – Massachusetts – you don’t even need to shoot a gun one time in order to qualify for a concealed carry license.

Metcalf’s comments are attracting the usual screams and yells from the “take it from my cold, dead hands” crowd but the NRA, which usually jumps up and down when someone tries to put any limitations on gun ownership, has been quiet on this one.  And the reason that the NRA doesn’t want to go after Metcalf is: 1) he’s been a very important link between the NRA and pro-gun members of Congress; and 2) the NRA would prefer not to get into a public argument over whether gun owners who want to carry concealed weapons need to be trained. After all, the NRA has been obsessively promoting “safety” and “responsibility” since Newtown.  Why remind people that they have also been promoting an extension of unrestricted concealed carry laws at the same time?

7 thoughts on “Dick Metcalf Speaks Up About Gun Control And The NRA Stays Silent

  1. Texas has a good balance. You have to demonstrate some minimum proficiency with a handgun and its classroom course is very good. CCH holders don’t need the training of police – they are not expected to aggressively go on the offense against criminals. Their main concern is self defense at a human size target at “spitting range” and most people can learn to do well enough for that. It is really not whether they can hit a person at that range – most can – but whether they are willing to.


  2. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH! Carrying/owning a firearm is NOT A PRIVILEGE; IT IS A RIGHT! A right that ‘shall not be infringed’. That means NO ‘proficiency class’ (which can be abolished at any time); NO limitations on private sales/transfers and NO waiting period. ‘Laws repugnant to the Constitution are null and void’ – Marbury v. Madison. Wake up! CRIMINALS IGNORE FIREARM LAWS; they only have an impact on the law-abiding and restrict my inalienable (look the word up in the dictionary) RIGHTS.

  3. On the one hand I understand people being upset when a member of the firearms community suggest a new or additional law or regulation on firearms. Bill Rugar suggested a magazine limit of 15 rounds, Politicians expanded that suggestion and set up a restriction of 10 rounds (NY just “improved” that restriction to 7 rounds). The feeling is, after compromising firearm freedoms regularly since 1968, if we give the Anti-gun crowd an inch and they will take a mile.

    On the other hand, having personally taken both Concealed Carry (CCW) training (which explains the legal use of deadly force) and Firearm safety and Tactics Training, I am aware how much about the legal and technical points of deadly force that a majority of Americans do not know.

    IF we are going to support a requirement for additional training. My suggestion is to make different levels of training a requirement for everyone over the age of 18.

    1. From age 2 – 8. Eddie Eagle rules: If you see a gun STOP, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult.

    2. From age 18 up. Demonstrate the four rules of firearm safety using an Air-Soft, or non-firing, gun and; Be able to pass a written (or multiple choice) test regarding their States rules on the use of deadly force. (you will be surprised by how much you don’t know about what you do not know.)

    If the training is mandatory for all citizens it will keep the training cost low. It would not be discriminatory, everyone receives the same training. and it should lower firearms accidents. This training would count toward the requrements for a States Concealed Handgun license, if the individual can pass the States current requirement for background checks (in States that require a License to carry)

    The roll out of such a law would need to be done in phases. I suggest starting with the High School Junior Class the year after such a law is enacted and all subsequent High School Classes. Older groups can be phased in over a period of say 5 years. The penalty for not getting the training? Not too draconian, but something to encourage compliance. Much like the seat belt laws of today.

    Challenges. Preventing the Anti-gun politicians from morphing this suggestion into a restriction of firearms vice a method for improving safety and legal knowledge.

  4. “If the training is mandatory for all citizens it will keep the training cost low.”

    Why not just mandate basic training with a big emphasis on safety and the the legal use of deadly force in high school (and Eddie Eagle as you said earlier on)? That makes perfectly good sense to me, except of course the anti-gunners will wet their panties at the very idea. 🙂

    As to what size magazines civilians should be able to own for their Glocks or AR-15s, how about making it exactly the same that is legal for police (and I do not believe police ever need fully automatic weapons like the M-16).

    If policeman needs a 19 round (or whatever) clip for self defense then I ought to be able to own the same. If the police think they need a 30 round magazine for their AR-15 then me too.

    I think that is a great formula. If the police can have, then I can have it.


    • My intent isn’t to make the anties “wet there panties”. That is counter productive, instead use the idea of universal training as a way to eliminate some of their ignorance. Also, that might limit the hurdles they put us though because they would have to attend the same training.

      Also, reverse your proposal about police and civilian armorments. The police are a civilian organization, so they should be held to the same requirements as the people. No exceptions for police.

    • “Also, reverse your proposal about police and civilian armorments. The police are a civilian organization, so they should be held to the same requirements as the people. No exceptions for police.”

      I thought that is exactly what I said. I think a good standard for the question “What firearms should a civilian be able to own legally?” is best answered by “Whatever the police can own or use.”

      “My intent isn’t to make the anties “wet there panties”. ”

      I was saying that requiring firearms training with heavy emphasis on safety in High School would cause the antis to have problems with keeping their pants dry. 🙂



  5. You are more than a little selective in regards to which CCW cases you cite. Most gun rights advocates who are familiar with the law did not expect SCOTUS to review the Maryland case because the person in question never applied for a permit.

    On the other hand, the state of Illinois chose not to appeal a federal appeals court ruling mandating a “shall issue” system of citizen carry. This case would have been an excellent case for SCOTUS to address this issue – but it appears that they were afraid of loosing and setting a nationwide precedent as happened in McDonald.

    I have written a detailed defense of Metcalf’s conclusions FROM A GUN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE: http://reasonedpolitics.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-gun-laws-are-compatible-with.html

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