By now you’ve probably read or heard about the cashiering of Guns & Ammo editor Dick Metcalf over his December 2013 “Let’s Talk” column in which he parsed “infringing” vs. “regulating” our right to keep and bear firearms. (Read the subsequent apologia here.)
I’ve not yet read – or heard – Metcalf called to task for the real mistake he made in his column – which was not tub-thumping forinfringing our rights but for being dishonest (or perhaps merely ignorant) when he discussed regulating them.
Metcalf did the usual thing and quoted the language of the Second Amendment, which reads, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
Where Metcalf erred – or perhaps deliberately hoped to mislead – was by not filtering the language of the late 18th century through a 21st century English translator. “Well-regulated” meant something rather different to the powdered wig set than it means to us, today. (Much in the same way that “gay” meant something rather different to the people of 1920s America than it means to the people of 2013 America.)
So, what did “well-regulated” mean circa 1787?
It meant, simply, well-trained and equipped.
The men who wrote and approved the Second Amendment desired that every yeoman farmer – every able-bodied man – know how to handle a gun for self-defense of himself, his family and his country. And more, they believed he had every right to do these things.
Don’t believe me? Look into it.