UPDATE: Here’s G&A’s official response, which was posted on their Facebook site late Wednesday.
Our Response to the December 2013 Backpage Column
From Jim Bequette, editor, “Guns & Ammo” Magazine:
No excuses, no backtracking.
Dick Metcalf’s “Backstop” column in the December issue has aroused unprecedented controversy. Readers are hopping mad about it, and some are questioning “Guns & Ammo”’s commitment to the Second Amendment. I understand why.
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.
Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with “Guns & Ammo” has officially ended.
I once again offer my personal apology. I understand what our valued readers want. I understand what you believe in when it comes to gun rights, and I believe the same thing.
I made a mistake by publishing the column. I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.
Plans were already in place for a new editor to take the reins of “Guns & Ammo” on January 1. However, these recent events have convinced me that I should advance that schedule immediately.
Your new “Guns & Ammo” editor will be Eric R. Poole, who has so effectively been running our special interest publications, such as “Book of the AR-15” and “TRIGGER.” You will be hearing much more about this talented editor soon.
“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.
EARLIER: This is a lesson for all aspiring gun writers – in what not to do.
At the risk of piling on – I never thought I’d see the day when longtime Guns & Ammo technical editor Dick Metcalf would join the ranks of the dispossessed.
For those who missed it, Metcalf penned an opinion piece for the magazine’s December issue, in which he horribly misinterprets the Second Amendment and actually voices support for more government regulation – more gun control.
It’s a painful read.
G&A’s Facebook site is being bombarded – inundated – with snarky posts from longtime readers telling the magazine to cancel their subscriptions. I don’t blame them.
While Metcalf bears the ultimate responsibility – every gun writer is accountable for their own work – the staffers at G&A are far from blameless.
In the print world, no one writes in a vacuum – especially at a monthly magazine. There are layers of editors and sub-editors who copy-edit each piece, lay it out for print, write headlines and sub-headlines, add photos and design graphics. Surely someone could have voiced some concern.
‘Dick, is this really what you want to say?’ would have been a good question to ask. The story could also have been prefaced with an editor’s note, clarifying that the opinions were Metcalf’s, not G&A’s.
So far, neither Metcalf nor the magazine has stepped up and addressed the growing scandal. Sad that.
The publisher needs to take action immediately: make the call on Metcalf’s tenure at the magazine, issue a retraction, make an apology and promise it won’t happen again.
As someone who creates scandal for a living, I can assure you it’s probably already too late.
I have never been a big Metcalf fan. He’s rarely met a firearm he hasn’t liked. However, I do respect his longevity and his platform agnosticism – his byline appears in numerous magazines, and he’s a frequent guest on cable shooting shows.
However, given the nature of the opinions he expressed, I doubt this will help him much.
Jim Zumbo had a television spot too.