I started shooting at age five. By the time I turned 12, my parents gave me an NRA Life Membership. I’ve studied, written and taught about firearms law and the Bill of Rights since the 1960s, helping to enact concealed-carry laws in states across the country and authoring numerous other pieces of pro-firearms legislation. I’m a competitive shooter who’s hunted on five continents, and I founded a 150-acre shooting park in my home state of Illinois.
All told, I’ve written more than 1,700 articles for firearms publications over the last four decades, as well as hosting and producing several firearms television programs.
Yet today I am labeled a “gun control collaborator,” a “Bloomberg supporter” and a “modern-day Benedict Arnold”—not to mention a “decrepit, mentally defunct self-important old fart.” And on Nov. 6, 2013, my 37-year career as a firearms journalist came to an abrupt end.
Why? Because I wrote an 800-word column for Guns & Ammo magazine exploring the distinction between regulation and infringement as it applies to constitutional rights. As discussions of the Second Amendment go, the column was innocuous. I did not call for any new regulations, but merely noted the Second Amendment was already regulated and that such regulations had been validated even in recent Supreme Court and federal appeals court rulings affirming an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
“Way too many gun owners seem to believe any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement,” I wrote. “The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”