I’m a 61 year old lifetime shooter and gun owner, I have a concealed weapons permit, I held a Federal Firearms (dealers) License for years, I owned a gun store at one time, and I was a firearms instructor at the U.S Military Academy during my Army days. So I’m a gun guy. Let’s put that on the table up front for anyone who doesn’t know that already.

That being said, I believe that the biggest threat to our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms does not come from the left wing extremists or the ultra liberals who live in LaLa Land and believe that if we all just love one another we have nothing to fear from our fellow man, even if he is Charles Manson. No, the biggest threat comes from my fellow gun owners.

Not the majority, those millions of gun owners who use their firearms safely and who understand that with the freedom to own a gun comes a great responsibility. No, the danger comes from those gun owners who wear blinders and have an all or nothing mentality. Those who think any attempt to inject reason into the gun control debate is a plot to disarm them.

Consider the current furor over a column written by Dick Matcalf, longtime Guns & Ammo contributing editor, in the popular gun magazine’s current issue. Metcalf wrote that “Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be. All U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly."

Predictability, Metcalf’s words ignited a firestorm of protest from Guns & Ammo readers, cancelling subscriptions and demanding he be fired, and the magazine responded by dismissing him.

Why? What did he say that any level-headed gun owner has a problem with? Mr. Metcalf said all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but he does not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly. What part of that do you disagree with, the right to own a firearm, or that we should be responsible gun owners? To me, they go hand in hand. I don’t see what the hell everybody is upset about.

The reaction of those who are throwing a fit over Metcalf’s column is just what the anti-gunners love to see. To them we are all a bunch of ignorant hillbillies who refuse to accept responsibility and shouldn’t be trusted with anything more lethal than a butter knife. And sooner or later that attitude is going to cost us supporters as, over time, terrible things like school shootings continue to happen, and that extremist faction of gun owners respond by parading around with their AR-15s like a bunch of cartoon characters saying, “Look at me, I’ve got a big old gun!” like we saw on one newscast after the Sandy Hook shooting.

You see, the majority of Americans who don’t own firearms really don’t care if you or I do. The fact that they don’t own guns is not because they are necessarily opposed to them, they just don’t feel a need for one in their lives. And that’s fine; they have that right just as surely as I have the right to own my guns.

But those are the people who can be swayed, and when the gun control debate kicks up, as it does after every shooting incident, they have two sides to listen to. One side is the Brady gun grabber type who believe all guns are evil, and the other side is the extremists who believe any attempt to interject reason into the debate, which is what Dick Metcalf tried to do in Guns & Ammo, is a plot to disarm them. Given the choices, I can understand why some will be swayed to the wrong side and take that new opinion to the polls with them. Because the alternative, those fellow gun owners of mine who wear blinders and believe it’s all or nothing, scare the hell out of them. They scare the hell out of me, too.

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24 Comments on All Or Nothing

  1. Richard Robinson says:

    Right on Nick!! I’m a longtime NRA member. I’ve been a gun owner for over 50 years and come from a family of hunters, shooters, and half a dozen cops. I support private gun ownership 100%. However, I don’t think everybody should have a gun. Not those who are mentally incompetent, or criminals, or those who present a danger to themselves or others. And any gun owner who does think so is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Keep telling it like it is, Bad Nick. There has to be a voice of reason in the wilderness of paranoia.

  2. Sally Holt says:

    Oh Nick, I am so going to send this to my brothers!!! We grew up with guns but they think any kind of rule or regulation about guns is evil. One brother told me he disagrees with the required hunter safety class because its gun control. He also says anyone over age 14 should be able to carry a gun. Can you imagine some of today’s kids packing a .45???

  3. Nick,

    You are, as usual, spot on. The people you mentioned, like the one who was parading around after Sandy Hook carrying his own “assault” rifle, are the ones who give responsible gun owners a bad name.

    Just like anything else, you’ve got some nutbars out there who will scare the bejeezus out of everyone around them.

    Like you I’m a gun owner, but I like to think myself responsible. And I have no problem whatsoever with realistic regulation of guns and their ownership. I absolutely know quite a few people who own guns when I personally don’t think they should (because they’re crazy as hell).

    Keep on speaking the truth, Nick. Eventually they have to listen.

    Best,
    Clyde O. Watson

  4. Jeff says:

    It is pretty evident that you did not read all of Dick’s article, So with saying that as a Gun owner for 50 years and a Gunsmith. Over the years we have gave and gave on the issue of Gun control until there has become so many laws, over 3000, that essentially today all Guns are illegal, and even with your Carry concealed and you never use it or do anything illegal, there is a law were any LEO can take your Gun if they decide to and there is not a thing you can do about it.
    Now Nick, back to you, do your really trust a Government that says you can keep your healthcare plan, when you can’t ?, do you really believe a Government that spies on you or uses the IRS if you disagree with them, how about a Government that ships Guns to the Cartels in Mexico and Syria to people that want to kill us ?, Sorry Nick, we don’t live with a Government like our Dad’s did.

    Sally, by the time a boy is 14 years old, he should know everything about a Gun, even if he never wants to own one or use one, so when he comes on one, he knows it’s not a toy to be played with and that it is dangerous, that also includes Girls.
    In fact in many schools it was required for you to take a class in Gun Safety in my day.

    When I was 5 years I old knew everything about firearms, when I was 10 years old, living in Ohio, I used to carry my little .22 on the school bus every morning and when I got off the bus, it was locked up in the basement at our School shooting range. Btw, my Son took his first Deer when he was 12 d he has never hurt or used a Gun in an unsafe way ever and is in his 12th year in the Army as a Field Medic.

  5. Greg White says:

    Nick and I have already talked about this, but let me jump in here.

    In checking out the many comments about this article on both gun and political blogs, it seems to me that many(most?) objected to the fact that Dick Metcalf’s whole premise about gun regulation was based on the fact that the 2nd Amendment has the term ‘well regulated’ in it, and because of this, gun regulations are OK.

    The feeling seemed to be that if that’s what he thought ‘well regulated’ means, he probably shouldn’t be writing about gun issues at all.

    Personally I can only assume that he missed that day in class when they explained the 2nd Amendment, and also that he never had to read any of the Federalists Papers in school.

    But that’s just me.

  6. George says:

    Nick,

    You are right on. You know I love to make fun of people not making common sense. People have so lost their minds on this issue, I stay away from it. I was born and raised with guns in my hand, but some reasonable controls need to be put in place. Even the Democrats won’t touch this one as they know people are crazed about it (despite what the rednecks think). It would be like regulating religion. I stay say the Constitution no longer applies when it may keep us safe (many examples of that). That will apply to the 2nd amendment sooner or later. We keep voting in the lesser of two evils and we no longer have a say in our government.

    Somebody will call you Nancy Pelosi over this one. LOL

  7. Carl says:

    Does anyone really think this country would be any safer if all good people didn’t have guns. We know bad people will have them. Look to Mexico. I heard it said that if you have a bullet there you go to prison. Would you really like to live in a country like that.
    I agree with Jeff do you really trust this government.

  8. Nevada Dave says:

    I agree with Jeff & Carl on this one. History repeats its self ! Remember that the Nazis did to the world in the 1930’s ? the first thing they did was disarm a country before they occupied it. Those who read the Koran have a agenda that
    that isn’t all sweetness & kiss’s for us westerners.
    Beware & Prepare is my motto…

  9. BobH says:

    I drive a vehicle and have to have a license to do so. I own a vehicle and have to register it. I have to carry a card indicating that I have insurance. Often I get irritated about all the paperwork required just to live in this society but I never get the feeling it is all part of a great conspiracy to take away my freedom. I believe it is simply an attempt to maintain civilization as we stuff 300+ million people into the space we have.

    Now I DO have a beef with gun owners-at least the ones I know. First: I DON’T WANT YOUR DAMN GUN!!!. Whenever I get the confiscation vs freedom argument from a gun owner, I ask “Are you championing freedom or just your freedom to own a gun?”. They always reply “All freedom!, Freedom!, Freedom!”. My next query is “What is your feeling about the efforts underway in 29 states to restrict your right to vote?” Their response is “Huh?”. By the way, if you think it is just about voter ID, you are missing 90% of the problem. You need to read further and dig deeper.

    My beef is that single issue citizens (guns or any other issue) are not good citizens. Democracy is the toughest form of government there is. You cannot run a nation based on one issue. It takes thoughtful involvement by everyone. I do not see that in our country at this time.

  10. Fred Hammer says:

    Uh, BobH, I agree with your implied reference to requiring a picture ID to vote. It certainly does restrict one’s ability to vote MULTIPLE TIMES. Lay off the Kool Aid.

  11. Brian Gore says:

    Something to consider; I believe the “Debate” has been misdirected all along by semantics. Gun Control should NOT be about weapons. Responsible handling of a weapon, has little to do with the weapon itself. I don’t care if my neighbor owns and operates a Howitzer… IF … it is done responsibly. Weapon, car, propane grill, all the same.

    It is not that weapons have become more dangerous in this life, but that the people have become unthinking. Regulating hardware will have minimal impact on that degradation.

    The Debate should not be about Weapon Regulation, but about the imposition of responsibility for what you do with your tools.

  12. Steve says:

    Nick, you seem to be overly trusting of government particularly big federal government whether it’s with gun rights or healthcare “rights”.

    Government is inherently corrupt and should never be given more authority than is absolutely necessary.

    Likewise, all laws and regulations should be short, easily understood and small in number. They should originate at the lowest level of government as possible and they should be applied fairly and consistently.

    While I agree with you in principle that some very basic level of regulation is necessary, in practice gun laws are none of the above. Far too many, far too hard to understand, and far too easily abused by those in power at the moment.

  13. Paul Stough says:

    If there should be no limit on the Second Amendment, shouldnt then we all be allowed to own nuclear arms?

    Paul

  14. BobH says:

    If it were legal for any of the gun manufacturers to sell nuclear weapons, the NRA would immediately argue “it is well documented that our founding fathers intended that all citizens have the right to own nuclear weapons”

  15. Paul Stough says:

    I am surprised that the NRA does not raise hell about the fact that I dont believe it is legal for individual citizens to own nuclear weapons. It looks like to me that the NRA is already accepting limits on the Second Amendment.

    Paul

  16. JB says:

    Good on ya Nick. As a Canadian I am subject to different laws than my friends south of the 49th, but as a gun owner (long guns only) I sympathize with what I assume is the majority, folks who use and care for their firearms responsibly. We have much stricter firearm regulations north of the Medicine Line but nothing that hampers my rights to own sporting arms. I, like you, believe that the great majority of folks have no desire to abscond with my guns, but it is the lunatic fringe, on both sides, that concerns me.

  17. Kevin Murphy says:

    You all do realize, don’t you, that while you are all talking about the government restricting your gun rights, the truth is that in most states the laws have gotten much easier to own and carry a gun? My Texas and Utah CCWs allow me to carry in well over 30 states, and some places like Arizona don’t even require you to have a permit to carry concealed. 20 years ago to get a gun permit in my home state was nearly impossible and you had to jump through a lot of hoops to prove you had a true need, not just a desire, to carry concealed. Yesterday my daughter-in-law got her CCW after proving she had taken a safety course. What Nick said, and what Dick Metcalf wrote, is just common sense. And for those who get all fired up because you think EVERYTHING is an attempt to hurt you or take away your rights, I agree with Nick. You are the ones who scare me more than the gun grabbers.

  18. Nick,
    You are so RIGHT ON!

  19. Denise Gray says:

    Right on point as usual.

  20. Robert Wang says:

    You hit the target on this one for sure. The militia mike’s out there have a paranoia about our government that belies logic as well as reason. I signed the dotted line putting my life on the line in 1966 for this country, would be very unhappy to thing that was for the type country these wingnuts suggest we are these days. Would hate to have the radical viewpoint they hold about our government and country.
    Semper Fi and to all you Marines out there Happy 238th birthday.

  21. Dale says:

    It is a shame that a radical minority are forcing almost all of the controversies in this country, those who fear our government and believe their “rights” are being threatened. This is a very good article. I also agree with the comment that rules and regulations are there to maintain civilization as our population grows.

  22. Norman Bristow says:

    So you’ve gone over to to the other side and are antigun now? No problem, I’ll find new blogs to read

  23. Greg Schiffer says:

    I think my greatest fear for the future of the Constitution comes from anyone with the view that the actions of a few can trump the “rights” of the rest. The Constitution gives rights to “we the people” as a group of individuals. Individuals may lose their rights thru their actions and due process. Once you accept the view that your “right” can be removed because of the actions of another, you’ve lowered it to a privilege. Why would anyone who regards the “right to keep and bear arms” as a privilege make reference to the Constitution and a Right?

  24. will says:

    Nick, I totally agree with you. One should be responsible for the usage of one’s firearms. But, Some restrictions and regulations that the state wants to enforce are stupid an don’t address the real problem. That being the mental health of those on the street who are legally able to buy a weapon. Look at the people who have been doing the shootings. All mental cases. You will never stop the mental derange bent on killing a person from killing. The type of weapon can be anything.

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