Friday, January 10, 2014

The NRA and the March towards Censorship

Dick Metcalf, longtime writer for Guns and Ammo, the official magazine of the National Rifle Association, has been fired. The NRA, avowed champions of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, would seem to have no regard for their own rights under the First Amendment, which guarantees Freedom of Speech. Personally, I have always thought that the Second Amendment was there to protect the First one. Indeed, that has been the spin put forth by the NRA over the past several decades.

Yet, this disregard for that Amendment was on full display last week when the magazine, along with the full blessing of the NRA, dismissed Mr. Metcalf for having done his job when assigned the task of writing an article for the magazine entitled “Let’s Talk Limits”. Bear in mind that the theme of this article was not chosen by Mr. Metcalf, and the finished product was subsequently approved by those same editors who assigned him the task in the first place.

But, Mr. Metcalf apparently drew the wrong conclusion (I have not read the article and am relying upon news stories for this post) and opined that “all Constitutional Rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.” This modest statement of fact implied that Mr. Metcalf; and by extension the magazine itself; were in favor of gun control. Whether or not that is true is beside the point; it's what happened next which should trouble you.

The backlash was faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than the gun lobby. Within days, InterMedia Outlet, the entity which actually owns Guns and Ammo, fired Mr. Metcalf. They also control production of his TV show, the fate of which is now in limbo. The reason given was straightforward enough; several of the leading gun advertisers were cancelling their accounts.

While it is true that Guns and Ammo is a business and runs for profit, it was quite a surprise to see a magazine; which presents itself as so principled when it concerns the Second Amendment;  running for cover so quickly in detriment to the First Amendment, which the vaunted Second Amendment is supposed to protect. You would think that a bunch of gun totin’, highly principled magazine execs would take a stand on free speech and NOT take the money in exchange for that principle. 

So, there you have it, The NRA stands solidly behind your Second Amendment Right to bear arms. But they don’t even care enough about their own First Amendment Rights for me to ever trust them enough to protect mine. Apparently,  it’s just the corporations who make guns that will determine what you can read by virtue of the economic pressure they can bring to bear. Way to go for freedom and democracy!

So, the next time you see an NRA bumper sticker, keep that in mind...

PS: I am a registered gun owner and a supporter of Gun Rights; just not of the NRA.

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