Guns & Ammo Magazine threatens Illinois pro-gun group

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I’m puzzled by the editorial direction that Guns & Ammo magazine has taken recently.

In fact, I’m curious as hell, because I don’t see much sense of direction at all.

The stalwart magazine of my youth now appears rudderless, lunging from one bad decision to another.

First, there was the national scandal caused by the magazine’s longtime technical editor Dick Metcalf, who horribly misinterpreted the Second Amendment and actually voiced support for more government regulation – more gun control.

The magazine survived that, barely. It lost subscribers,  issued an apology and sent Metcalf packing.

Now, they’re at it again, threatening to sue a grassroots pro-gun group.

Guns Save Life is a plucky bunch of dedicated Second Amendment supporters located in central Illinois.

I actually spoke at a couple of their monthly meetings years ago, when they were held in Rantoul.

Nowadays, they’ve grown so big they have monthly meetings in four Illinois cities.

GSL describes itself as “a regional civil rights organization that works
to educate the public about the benefits of firearm ownership.”

They’re well led by John Boch.

John Boch, photo courtesy Guns Save Life

John Boch, photo courtesy Guns Save Life

Since John became president in 2010, their membership has quadrupled.

As of this morning, they’re just shy of 2,000 members.

John holds down an office job during the day, but his passion is writing stories for the GSL website and other publications. He also works as a firearms instructor, and has a long list of training credentials.

On Wednesday, John wrote a story about G&A’s recent review of the new Taurus .380 “Curve.”

He didn’t pull any punches.

John called the new pistol a “Turd,” and he took the magazine to task for its glowing review, which he said was fueled by advertising dollars.

The next day, he got an email from Dusty Gibson, G&A’s Online Shooting Editor, ordering him to remove his post by 8 a.m. Friday morning, or else.

“If the material is not removed by that time, we will seek legal action immediately,” Gibson wrote.

“The fact I effectively called into question G&A’s objectivity does not, in and of itself, make that a defamatory or slanderous statement,” John told me Friday, about two hours after the magazine’s deadline expired.

John also pointed out that GSL now has monthly meetings in Peoria, which also happens to be where G&A is headquartered.

“I’ve never seen them at any of our monthly meetings,” Boch said.

I called Gibson to try to find out why his gun magazine would threaten a grassroots pro-gun group.

I’m still waiting for him or any other G&A editor to call me at (941) 284-8553.

Threatening legal action against such a dedicated group of gun folks is classless.

Besides, if the magazine was so offended by John’s story, maybe they should have tried talking to him first, before threatening to sue.

“If they had asked nicely, maybe we could have worked something out,” John said. “They’re stepping in a cow pie, kind of akin to what they did with Metcalf.”

I couldn’t agree more, John.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

5 Comments

  1. guys,
    You need to be united, not divided. This childish infighting isn’t helping anyone’s cause.
    You know how the mag world works. Grow up.

  2. Pingback: Guns & Ammo Magazine threatens Illinois pro-gun group - The Gun Feed

  3. You’re questioning the integrity of a writer, but I don’t get the impression you have actually seen the pistol in question in the flesh. You’re complaining about G&A while publishing their copyrighted photos on your web site, and then making statements about their writers integrity based purely on speculation for which you have no direct proof such a thing exists. Exactly how well do you think you and your organization (for whom you speak) would fare in court had they pressed the issue?

    While I understand your concerns, I will say that you sir have a lot to learn about writing and how to be the voice of your organization.

    If you have concerns about the pistol in question. The smart way to do it would be to get one for yourself, review it and print your OWN findings, rather than Libel yourself and your organization.

    I offer this as advice to keep yourself and your pro-gun organization out of court. I offer this as constructive criticism. If you feel you have to come up with a witty retort, then it will be apparent that the advise fell on deaf ears. Best of luck to you and your organization in your future endeavors.

    Kevin

  4. Kevin,

    Don’t you think John or anyone else has the right to question my integrity or that of any G&A writer. It’s par for the course nowadays, and it’s far from libel or slander. It’s called criticism, and it’s protected speech.

    My story questions your response – the threat to sue.

    Do you really think that was an appropriate response?

  5. There was clear inference that there was a quid-pro-quo in your piece, I got that message clear as day. I think that puts you on some shaky ground.

    I see NO PROBLEM whatsoever about questioning the conclusions the writer made. But you took it further and make the accusation (if by inference) that he made his conclusions purely based on some sort of a quid pro quo between Primedia and Taurus. I think that’s taking things a bit far, and it puts you on some shaky ground. It’s shaky ground because you have NOTHING to back that accusation other than speculation. In fact, you seem to be inferring that the only way anyone could have a positive opinion of the gun in question is if they were somehow financially incentivised to do so.

    S&W has no real safety on their M&P line of handguns. That two piece trigger does just about nothing, and has much less protection than does the Taurus in question. Same could be said for Kahr which doesn’t even have a silly two piece trigger, it has no safety at all, yet no one is criticizing them. Kel-Tec’s line of .32 & .380 pistols have no safety and used to come with a belt clip, yet no such scorn from the industry. Seecamp pistols are very well respected and regarded, yet they have no sights. Browning 1910 pistols had sights that could only possibly be seen under the most perfect of conditions, because they were intended to be pointed at very close range. So the no sights thing goes back at least a century; again, well established. So the features you’re calling dangerous are actually well established within the industry.

    So could it possibly be that the author in question honestly has no issue with the features you found so offensive. Yet you’re implying that he had to have some financial incentive to not take issue.

    Considering how well established these features are, and that you presented absolutely no supporting evidence to support your quid pro quo claim; I wouldn’t want to be your defense attorney should this ever reach court.

    Hey, I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth before too. Learn from it, go forth and sin no more. Be honest (and I think you were) about how you see things, but never make an accusation you couldn’t back up in a court room; lest you find yourself in one someday.

    Kevin

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