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“…you never go full retard.” Kirk Lazarus, Tropic Thunder

There’s a new bit of anti-gun agitprop in the latest issue of Guns & Ammo, one of the worst gun rags there is, right now. In their Backstop commentary, “Technical Editor” Dick (the name is appropriate) Metcalf opines on the nature not just of gun regulations, but the general infringement of civil rights with a “it happens, so just accept it and move on” mentality that seems to be riling up the subscribers. (Here’s a link to a scan of the article...)

Here was my response to the article, sent to the magazine:

Dear Editors:

Imagine my surprise that a magazine purporting to support my civli right to own and carry a weapon would join the ranks of “reasonable” anti-gun propaganda. Originally hailing from Scotland, I am aware of how this “reasonable” talk of regulation ends up: with a population disarmed, subject to the whims of bureaucrats and aristocrats, and preyed on by one of the highest crime rates in the developed world.

Considering his purported historical expertise in matters relating to the Second Amendment, Mr. Metcalf shows a stunning lack of understanding of the very concept of a civil right — a natural right that is inherent in all people — a legal point that Blackstone, Jefferson, and most of the Founding Fathers understood. His rote “You can’t yell ‘Fire’ in a theater” is nonsense; you have that right, but any injury or damage that might be inflicted by doing so is actionable.  The idea that because a government has been picking away at the rights of a people makes it right, or something not to be opposed, is the sort of comfortably cowardly position that people who have not had to suffer tyranny — whether the guns and prisons of the Soviet Union, or the banal bureaucrats malfeasance of the European Union or California — spew in an effort to look thoughtful.

In short, by definition any restriction of a natural right is infringement — whether it is hate speech codes or crushing a legal and peaceable assembly, whether it is warrantless searches or vast electronic spying programs, whether it is the removal of due process rights through asset forfeiture or harassment by the IRS…or being restricted to the kinds of weaponry, ammunition, and accouterments you can purchase for the same; where you can carry; or if you can use force to defend yourself, others, or your property.

His collection of regulations shows his misunderstanding of the primary element of civil rights — that you are your own property. This is why human sacrifice he alludes to is illegal; civil rights are only curtailed when they infringe on the rights of another — you cannot take the life of a person, legally or morally, unless it is in self-defense. Freedom of assembly is infringed upon, yes; that still does not make it right. And yes, people can apply for a permit to have “anti-you” demonstrations just off of your property line (again, because they cannot infringe on your property rights.) — and these sorts of protests do occur. The Westboro Baptist Church and the Cindy Sheehan camp-out in Texas leap readily to mind.

Worse, is his misunderstanding of the meaning of “regulation.” A “well-regulated militia” in 18th Century parlance, meant a collection of civilians who were ready to fight — who had the means (guns) that were maintained properly, and the will to fight. Regulation of interstate commerce is another place where Progressive linguistic manipulation has wrecked the understanding of men like Metcalf: Regulation meant “to make regular” — in other words, to prevent the use of official power in the states to curtail the open trade, movement, and congress of the people, as was seen during the confederacy period after the Revolutionary War.

The other standard line of attack on gun rights is the “driving a car is not a protected right” and that people are required to have instruction on the operation of a vehicle. The staggering number of deaths and injuries caused by auto incidents yearly shows that Metcalf’s assertion “regulation” is necessary to create “responsible” behavior in drivers is fallacious, as well. Likewise, the requirement to have insurance is often no protection from property damage or destruction, thanks to coverage limitations. Similarly, firearms instruction — which I agree is an important step in gaining proficiency, confidence, and restraint in the usage of these devices — is no guarantee of better behavior, the most frequently cited reason for concealed carry permit training.

The primary issue is that of coercion. Forcing someone to behave in a manner you think is appropriate, if that behavior is not imminently harmful, is infringement on the liberties of that individual. You might even be right — maybe they should have training in the use of a firearm, an automobile, or a band saw before they use one — but if you have to force a person to act in a manner consistent with your wishes, you are still wrong.

Scott Rhymer, Albuquerque, NM

UPDATE: Looks like The Backstop‘s email address is now “restricted” and is bouncing back submissions.