"I made a mistake by publishing the column," Mr. Bequette said
the letter, which was posted to the Guns & Ammo website. "I
thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun
rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask
Mr. Metcalf's column, which appeared on the final page of the
December issue, argues that gun regulation does not equal
infringement of the Second Amendment. "The fact is," he wrote, "all
constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to
be." Mr. Metcalf said he supported regulation for training and
preparation, but did not advocate making guns illegal.
"I don't think that requiring 16 hours of training to qualify
for a concealed carry license is infringement in and of itself,"
Mr. Metcalf wrote.
Readers poured onto the Guns & Ammo Facebook page Tuesday
and Wednesday, demanding the magazine fire Mr. Metcalf. Many said
they would stop reading Guns & Ammo and others called for an
advertiser boycott. The magazine and its parent company, InterMedia
Outdoors, stayed quiet as the negative comments piled up.
Mr. Bequette did not mince words in his apology.
Let me be clear: Our commitment to the Second Amendment is
unwavering. It has been so since the beginning. Historically, our
tradition in supporting the Second Amendment has been unflinching.
No strings attached. It is no accident that when others in the gun
culture counseled compromise in the past, hard-core thinkers such
as Harlon Carter, Don Kates and Neal Knox found a place and a voice
in these pages. When large firearms advocacy groups were going soft
in the 1970s, they were prodded in the right direction, away from
the pages of "Guns & Ammo."
In publishing Metcalf's column, I was untrue to that tradition,
and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine -- nor,
most important, "Guns & Ammo"'s. It is very clear to me that
they don't reflect the views of our readership either.
Mr. Bequette, also group editorial director at InterMedia
Outdoors, said in the letter that he had already planned to hand
the reins of the magazine to a new editor, Eric Poole, on Jan. 1 --
but was making the change effective immediately because of recent
events. Mr. Poole had overseen the magazine's special interest
publications "Book of the AR-15" and "Trigger."
"Guns & Ammo will never fail to vigorously lead the struggle
for our Second Amendment rights, and with vigorous young editorial
leadership such as Eric's, it will be done even better in the
future," Mr. Bequette wrote.
Discussion on the magazine's Facebook page Thursday turned from
a one-sided pile-on to a more wide-ranging argument about gun
regulation and the role of a magazine covering the industry. A mix
of readers applauded Mr. Bequette's letter, while others said they
still planned to abandon the magazine. A post from a commenter
claiming to be an Army veteran in favor of gun regulation set off
another similarly heated argument on the topic.