The New York Times has a story today about Dick Metcalf, a longtime columnist for Guns & Ammo and host of a TV show about firearms who's lost his television and magazine jobs after suggesting, in an October column, that some gun regulations are necessary.
Metcalf seems hurt by his banishment, and somewhat stunned:
"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."I'm not sure why Metcalf is surprised -- as a man who (in the words of the Times) "has devoted nearly his entire adult life" to the gun industry, doesn't he realize that gunners have been doing this for years and years?
... Mr. Metcalf said he invited a reporter to his home because he despairs that the debate over gun policy in America is so bitterly polarized and dominated by extreme voices. He says he is still contemplating how a self-described "Second Amendment fundamentalist" who keeps a .38 snub-nose Smith & Wesson revolver within easy reach has been ostracized from his community.
"Compromise is a bad word these days," he said. "People think it means giving up your principles."
I've written many times about the gunner boycott of Smith & Wesson, which began in 2000, after the company worked out an agreement with the Clinton administration to alter some of its distribution and manufacturing practices. The boycott lasted until 2003, by which time the company had been sold at a loss (and had agreed not to abide by the Clinton-era restraints). The gunners played hardball, and Simth & Wesson was forced to blink.
I've also written about Reed Exhibitions, which announced that it wouldn't allow the display of assault weapons at a gun show it ran just after the Newtown massacre; much of the gun community boycotted the show, and Reed eventually lost the right to run the SHOT Show, America's biggest annual gun show in America. Reed lost the SHOT Show only a few months before Metcalf wrote his column -- could he possibly have been surprised that the community turned on him the way it turned on Smith & Wesson and Reed?
But I blame the gun-buying public. It's clear from polls that support for at least some gun restrictions is widespread even among gun owners -- but the gun community sees itself as embroiled in a culture war with supporters of gun control, and supporters of wars really don't get upset at any harm that comes to anyone if it can be justified as part of the path to victory.
Still, you'd think some of these people would actually read Metcalf if he were published elsewhere -- which makes me think that maybe some publication outside the closed gun community ought to pick Metcalf's column up. Isn't that how the Internet is supposed to work? We get our news and opinions from a wide variety of sources? So why not gun news and opinions, too?
Maybe Metcalf should be hired by Vice, or BuzzFeed, or Reason? They don't rely on gun advertising, and maybe they'd broaden their readership and strike a blow for diversity of opinion in the gun world. Or maybe Pierre Omidyar ought to start a gun column in that new media venture he's starting for Glenn Greenwald and his pals.
Or, well, if this response to the Metcalf story isn't snark....
This is outrageous and unhealthy and conservatives and Second Amendment advocates should find it chilling: http://t.co/rqBvXbC7HZ— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) January 5, 2014
... then maybe Cooke's own National Review Online ought to pick Metcalf up. It would be like William F. Buckley taking on the Birchers back in the day, y'know?
Nahhh, forget it. It'll never happen.