Deconstructing the Dick Metcalf Mess

By Tom Gresham

Dick Metcalf
Dick Metcalf
Gun Talk Radio
Gun Talk Radio

MANDEVILLE, LA –-( Unless you just got back from a two-week sheep hunt in the Wrangell Mountains, you know about the firestorm that blew up after Guns & Ammo magazine writer Dick Metcalf wrote — and the magazine published — an article which essentially says that not all gun regulations are infringements on our gun rights.

As you might expect, the web exploded, with untold thousands of gun rights activists calling for Metcalf’s head.

Last Sunday Dick (whom I’ve known for at least 30 years) did his one and only media interview on Gun Talk Radio. We didn’t have enough time (I’m not sure the entire three hours would have been enough), but he explained how the column came about, what he had hoped it would do (start conversations), and how the instant and vociferous reaction caught him and the editors at Guns & Ammo by surprise.

You can hear Metcalf on last week’s show at Also, we now put the archived shows on YouTube (more convenient for many listeners), so you can hear that hour of last week’s show at

Some listeners thought I should not have even offered Metcalf a platform from which to explain/discuss what happened. Others welcomed it, but disagreed with him and were glad he was fired. Still others thought his logic was flawed and his understanding of history lacking, but didn’t think it warranted losing his job. You can judge for yourself when you hear the interview.

My take? I am of two minds on this. The first is that it’s a shame we can’t have an open conversation about pretty much anything. That’s the journalist and lover of free expression in me. But, the realist in me says that this column, which was picked up and paraded by the Brady Campaign and many national media outlets as an example of what they have been calling “reasonable restrictions” were, in fact, reasonable, hurt gun rights and helped, if even slightly, advance the efforts of the gun banners.

Metcalf and his editors should have seen this coming. The fact that they didn’t well may indicate that they really are not terribly plugged into the current culture of gun rights. The simple fact is that you can not give up hard-won ground in this fight, and agreeing to any form of restriction on what is a natural right (not given to us by the government) makes it more difficult for us to regain what has been lost.

In the end, the decision to fire Metcalf was one of economics. Readers were canceling subscriptions in G&A, and advertisers were serving notice that they could not remain in the magazine if Metcalf stayed.

That’s what sealed the deal.

About Gun Talk Radio:In its 18th year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio airs live on Sundays from 2PM-5PM Eastern, and runs on more than 135 stations, plus on XM (Ch. 165) Satellite Radio. All Gun Talk shows can be downloaded as podcasts at and Apple iTunes, or through one of the available Apps: the Gun Talk iPhone App, the Blackberry Podcast App, and the Gun Talk App for Android on Amazon. The Gun Talk Minute on XM also airs on XM 165, 166, 168 and Fox Sports every day throughout the week. More information is available at

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Cal S.

Seriously, yes, they should have seen it coming. To your point, yes, we can talk about pretty much anything. However, there are consequences for everything. In a paid-for publication, the readers have a right to vote with their $$. We did.

Unfortunately, the readership of Guns & Ammo Magazine is 50/50 for an assault weapons ban, along with their publication of fraudulent company’s advertising, caused me to let my subscription run out.


I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the tens of thousands of dollars that disappeared under Metcalf’s watch from the 95 Masters competition. I met him briefly during that time, and a more arrogant, condescending prick I have never met.

James A. Ritchie

Free speech means the government cannot interfere with or right to say what we wish. It does not mean the public can’t rake us over the coals when we say something they think is stupid. It astounds me how many actually believe free speech means we can say anything we like without any consequence whatsoever. Metcalf is so far wrong on this issue that it makes me wonder how he survived all these years. Just what is an “infringement”, if mandatory, and undoubtedly costly, training is not? Metcalf has always struck me a the kind of man who has good… Read more »

Floyd McCarty

Now gentleman that is what I’m excited about dialogue! FrankInFl your laconic statement made all the sense in the world. Not One More Damn Inch. I get it. As far as I can see Mr Metcalf is or was a voice in the gun world. I don’t want to see us fighting each other it shows instability. Not that I agree with all that he says. If nothing else I am more informed. I feel that he has the right to say and print what they choose. Not to say that his statements should not be met with serious intelegent… Read more »




Those who live in comfort will never understand the needs of those who do not. Because people like Metcalf live pampered lives they believe they should decide how everyone, who is not as successful as they are, should live. My God given rights are non-negotiable.

Dick, and busybodies like him, have never hired me for one seconds worth of work nor have they ever paid for the sweat and blood I’ve leaked for my family, my community, my country or my God. They should keep their noses out of my business.


Here’s a little something that was written back in 92 by a man named DR.Gene Howard. Do You Want My Gun By Dr. Gene Howard c. 1992 Do you want my gun, or do you want my life Do you want my gun, or do you want my wife. Do you want my gun, or do you want mt store. Do you want my gun, or much, much more. What is it you really want, I must ask myself, For it is one of the few freedoms we have left. Mabe it’s something more political you seek, But cannot accomplish… Read more »


Wow Floyd, this veteran is ashamed to see that you don’t even know that Metcalf’s rights were never denied. However, I did put my constitutional rights on hold in order to defend your agument based upon emotion and ignorance. As the author pointed out, it seems that Metcalf, G&A honchos, and the establishment cabal in D.C. are completely out of touch with reality. Metcalf is just another Joe Manchin-Pat Toomey neo-Marxist.

Big Boy

Metcalf and his editors were “head in the sand” fools. If their defense is (and that’s how I interpret his whining on the radio) that they should be protected from the aftereffects of their stupidity because they are Journalists, they are wrong. They write FOR an audience. Without the support of that audience they are out of a job. THEY quite deliberately risked losing their audience. Like poker players who try to improve 2 pairs by drawing 3 cards, they risked it all and . . . lost. They lost their audience and their jobs. So be it. And BTW,… Read more »

Chris Rakes

you are absolutely right MARK. his rights have not been violated. he can call the huff’n’puff post all he wants. when you come and want to limit carry then you do not belong on a pro firearm publication. who would they has next, Gabby Gifford, Hass, or any other Brady bunch. though i might like to hear how they justify taking my firearms away from me


Hay Floyd, you just don’t get it. Go ahead and cry for your buddy Metcalf. He’s a joke!

Mark Are

No one was denying Mr. Metcalf his rights. No more than it is denying rights by saying you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater. You may have freedom of speech in a public venue regarding the government, but when you sign on to a private company if the company doesn’t want you to say certain things, (disclosure agreements come to mind) then YOU DON’T SAY THOSE CERTAIN THINGS Floyd! There are no “reasonable’ restriction on gun rights. ANY restriction is unreasonable. PERIOD.

Floyd McCarty

Where am I. This is not the America I thought I knew. For us to claim that we are Fighting for our rights. And deny Mr Metcalf his is kind of like shooting yourself in the foot. I’m sure that Mr. Metcalf had his reasons for saying what he said. We are saying that one right is more than another when it is clear,to I’m sure some of us,that all bills in the bill of rights are written in an indelible spirit. Mr Metcalf is a citizen right? Then if we take away his right to freedom of speech we… Read more »