In response to the recent uproar over an opinion article by longtime gun writer Dick Metcalf, Guns & Ammo editor Jim Bequette released an apology to readers stating that both he and Metcalf would be leaving the magazine. Metcalf, a technical editor for Guns & Ammo, wrote the editorial in the “Backstop” section of the magazine’s December edition. In it he discussed gun control, the Second Amendment, and his beliefs on infringements and regulations of rights.

“The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be,” Metcalf penned in the editorial.

Reactions from the magazine’s readers came swiftly and were overwhelmingly negative. Bequette later wrote that he published the article in the hopes of starting a “healthy exchange of ideas on gun control.” Instead, some of the magazine’s subscribers took the editorial to mean that the publication was moving towards accepting gun control and called the article a betrayal. Many visited Guns & Ammo’s Facebook, venting their anger there.

“Not buying another one of your magazines until Metcalf is fired,” one online commentor wrote. “Also [sic] will not be supporting companies that advertise with you until this is resolved.”

Others called the publication “cowardly.” Although Bequette emphasized that the editorial did not represent the views of the magazine at large, the damage was already done. Former Guns & Ammo readers called for a boycott while gun rights advocates also expressed their concern over Metcalf’s article.

The publication was not without support, however, and the editorial was highlighted by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“In an upcoming column sure to shock many of his readers, the editor of Guns & Ammo makes an argument for gun regulation,” the organization wrote on its Facebook page.

This however, only further agitated critics.

“Sure Metcalf’s bone-headed, uninformed, patently obvious misinterpretation of the Second Amendment’s introductory clause isn’t as bad as the antis’ assertion that the [Second Amendment] only applies to Americans in a militia, but it’s the next worst thing,” wrote Robert Farago, publisher of the popular gun blog The Truth About Guns.

Bequette released the apology on Wednesday, and it can be read in its entirety below:

From Jim Bequette, editor, “Guns & Ammo” Magazine:

As editor of “Guns & Ammo,” I owe each and every reader a personal apology.

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.


Jim Bequette

The timely response from Bequette, as well as the announcement of both his and Metcalf’s departure from the magazine may change some subscribers’ minds. However, others said the editorial should have never been published in the first place and that they will be canceling their monthly subscription.

Guns & Ammo is widely considered one of the most popular firearm-related publications in print, with a reported readership of 5.8 million. The magazine was founded by avid hunter and firearms collector Robert E. Peterson in 1958, who is perhaps best known for his 400-piece collection that now resides in the National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum.

Image from Ken on the Wikimedia Commons

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57 thoughts on “‘Guns & Ammo’ Editor Issues Apology for Controversial Opinion Piece

  1. I see the magazine also ran some specials on subscriptions today too. What a coincident. I’ll never have a copy in my house again .

    1. That’s probably for the best! People like you who have never made a mistake in their whole life, probably wouldn’t understand the premise anyway. I am and always will be an avid supporter for second amendment rights along with all the other rights offered by the Constitution. Including free speech. I don’t agree with things that anti-gunners say, but I fought on foreign soil so they could at least have that right. You need to fall back, take a deep breath and understand that they made a mistake, as they admitted, and not “hot headedly” over-react, like the opposition is so happy to see. Try a little forgiveness! It is and always has been a great magazine. Remember, you can’t make ALL the people happy ALL of the time.

      1. I have fought on foreign soil too. Metcalf is a writer; his conviction and words used were proof read and published. I’ve made my share of mistakes in life too. This one, as far as I’m concerned isn’t forgivable. If he had any common sense he would never consider his so called ” healthy exchange”. He got a “healthy” kick in the ass for his stupidity and rightly so.

      2. If you and the girls opting to give you
        a thumbs up want to dance with political correctness feel free.
        Don’t forget – – – you’ll be expected to where the dresses.

        I served what is left of this Country
        too, and find many all to willing to grant a pass to political
        correctness without giving it a second thought as to what the outcome
        will be.

        As for the Editor, several states
        including mine require a drivers license and a clearn background
        check . . . . Concealed Carry granted, and our states have very low
        crime rates. Huh. So to protect your family and those of your
        neighbors you want to side with a man who wants MORE RED TAPE for law
        abiding citizens? Whatever champ, whatever.

        There are HUNDREDS of resources for
        reading current firearms info, for any real men reading this, choose
        and alternative and avoid those who lean to the left.

      3. I served too, but it did not leave me leaning left. And you are right, you cannot make all the people all of the time . . .but that does not mean you join those who wish to bring you down.

  2. I am so far behind in reading all my magazines, I hadn’t yet seen the editorial. I agree it shouldn’t have been published. But, apology accepted; I’ll keep my subscription. Keep up the good work.

  3. Hey, folks ou there who think guns AREN’t regulated: try buying a fully automatic weapon without registering it. It’s called REGULATION.

    1. You are correct. There is also forcible rape in the world – it is a fact. The fact that it exists, in itself does not make it right. We have stupidly permitted our out-of-control government to apply “regulation” to our God-given right. This does not make it good.

      1. Where in the bible did God give you the right to own a firearm? The last time i checked the scripture there was nothing about the second amendment. So if you dont want to follow government regulations yet state that God gave you the right to do so something remember to properly quote the scripture and be fruitful and increase in number.

  4. Great magazine!! I understand that sometimes people make mistakes. This will not affect my subscription with your fine magazine, as I believe it is still one of the best out there!

  5. This is interesting – “Bequette later wrote that he published the article in the hopes of starting a “healthy exchange of ideas on gun control.”” This is an oxymoron – there is no such thing as a “healthy exchange of ideas” regarding “gun control”. The right to bear arms is a natural right – one which emanates from God himself. The right to posess arms is no different from the right of all living creatures to breathe air. We do not need “air control”, or “breathing control”. Either bearing arms is a right (as so stated) or it is not. If it is not, then logically none of the enumerated “rights” in the first 10 Constitutional amendments is guaranteed or natural, and must therefore be questioned, regulated and quite possibly repealed. I am more disturbed by the fact that this idea was even considered by someone who professes to be “pro gun”. Now I wonder who else in that organization is actually an anti-second amendment plant?!

    1. I say this sincerely: where in the Bible does God state we’ve got a natural right to bear arms emanating from God? I must be missing it.

      1. Here’s the deal. Whether or not you believe in God is irrelevant here. Either our rights as we call them come from government (men, institutions, human-created) or they come from somewhere else. I hold that they do not come from government or from anything created and instituted by man. I also happen to believe in God. You may not, and that is your business – my purpose is not to wrangle you to God. However, be careful about where you say your rights come from. I am disturbed by all the gun-guys who rush in and state the Supreme’s opinion in Heller. That is the government’s opinion. What if, in a few years, more liberal justices are installed and they opine that the second amendment is NOT an individual right? Does that mean that the right suddenly disappeared? If it does, then all of our rights come at the pleasure of some group of people, and not from “elsewhere”. That which government gives, can be ever-so-easily taken away with the stroke of a pen. Think it over.

      2. Who EVER said anything about believing or not believing in God? Jeesh! I’m asking for proof. That’s all. One line in one book of a book of many books does not proof make.

      3. ManoftheLog never said “Bible”. Bill Semion did.

        The right to firearms arises from our right to self-defense which comes from our human nature- a nature right to life.

      4. If the Bible is the “word of God,” then where in the words of God is that right? that’s all I’m asking. How else do we find out the “word of God” but in the words of God? Unless of course, you’re interpreting your beliefs as emanating from God. from your earlier conversation:

        “We have stupidly permitted our out-of-control government to apply “regulation” to our God-given right”

        “The right to bear arms is a natural right – one which emanates from God himself.”

        I believe I merely asked the question.

        This, however, I agree with:

        “Here’s the deal. Whether or not you believe in God is irrelevant here.”

      5. The Bible also has lines relating to the countless begets and begets about men sleeping with their daughters. So, does that make it right? Hmmm.

      6. Jacques Ellul and John Howard Yoder do not believe Luke 22:36 overturns the many times Jesus urged his followers to practice turning the other cheek and not resist evil when confronted by violence during his Sermon on the Mount and years of ministry. They show when the passage is taken in context (Luke 22:36-38), Jesus is also aware of fulfilling prophecy and makes a surprising statement that two swords are “enough”.[1]

        He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

        —Gospel of Luke 22:36-38, NIV

        Ellul, Yoder and Archie Penner claim that two swords could not possibly have been “enough” to defend Jesus from his pending arrest, trial and execution, so their sole purpose must have been Jesus’ wish to fulfill a prophecy (Isaiah 53:9-12).[1] As Ellul explains:

        The further comment of Jesus explains in part the surprising statement, for he says: “It is necessary that the prophecy be fulfilled according to which I would be put in the ranks of criminals” (Luke 22:36-37). The idea of fighting with just two swords is ridiculous. The swords are enough, however, to justify the accusation that Jesus is the head of a band of brigands. We have to note here that Jesus is consciously fulfilling prophecy. If he were not the saying would make no sense.[2]

        This theory is further substantiated by Penner when Peter draws one of the swords a few hours later at Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, slashing the ear of Malchus, one of the priests’ servants, and Jesus rebukes him saying: “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”(Matthew 26:52)[1]

        Figurative interpretation[edit]

        Well known theologian John Gill said in his Exposition of the Entire Bible:

        These words of Christ are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish themselves with swords at any rate, since he would never have said, as he afterwards does, that two were sufficient; which could not be enough for eleven men; or have forbid Peter the use of one, as he did in a very little time after this: but his meaning is, that wherever they came, and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries, and these powerful, and would be used with great violence, and be followed with rage and persecution; so that they might seem to stand in need of swords to defend them: the phrase is expressive of the danger they would be exposed to, and of their need of protection; and therefore it was wrong in them to be disputing and quarrelling about superiority, or looking out for, and expecting temporal pomp and grandeur, when this would be their forlorn, destitute, and afflicted condition; and they would quickly see the affliction and distress begin in himself. In “seven” ancient copies of Beza’s, it is read in the future tense, “he shall take, he shall sell, he shall buy”.

      7. So, once again, ’tis open to interpretation. Hundreds of ’em. If not thousands. Here endeth the lesson.

      8. You have to be kidding?!?!? What idiot wants book, chapter, verse for self preservation. The fact that 99.9999% of humans will fight for their life is proof enough that God intends for us to protect ourselves. Jesus by admission of Satan in the wilderness was protected by angels. He gave his life at the appropriate time for remission of sins. Not for Cesar’s taxes, protection of the temple or ANY other reason. Sure there is the .0001%, they’re called cowards, like Judas and others looking to be Socialized. Willing to call a cop to kill a bad guy but not having the intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger themselves. What has happened to America? Total sissies! The men have become as women! Yeah, that’s in the Bible too and not presented as favorable in God’s eyes.

  6. GOOD RIDDANCE….(I gist read that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has two positions open as of yesterday!LoL!!!LMAO!!!)IF Eric R.Poole has a lick’ a sense he’ll take a job “somewhere” else too….Metcalf & Bequette have effectively buried Guns & Ammo magazine more than six feet under!!GOODBYE!!!!

  7. It must really suck having a job you can be forced out of for being reasonable. And then so sad to see Zumbo, and now Metcalf and Bequette apologizing for actually being reasonable. I have plenty of guns, and I like shooting them, and I’m thankful we can have them in our country. But I don’t read the magazines because “gun culture” doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would i entrench myself within such a culture who’s views are based around emotional reactions to misinformation? For example, guns and ammo sales did great for the six months following Sandy Hook, but now they’ve dropped off, again. Obviously these sales spikes are proof that Americas gun culture operates out of emotion and fear, rather than prudence and reason, the very things that made the U.S. Great to begin with.

  8. So they apologized! So did the President. So What! They got the endorsement of the Brady Bunch and that is enough for me to cut even the few newsstands that have them off my list.

  9. Ignorant response/published the article to generate a “healthy” discussion regarding the 2nd Amendment… seriously, you have no idea how your (now-ex) loyal readers feel about their right to bear arms? good riddance to both of you …

  10. It appears that there are several unforgiving, know-it-all, piss ants out there! Don’t you people recognize the value in knowing the thoughts and actions of your opposition? This also looks like a bunch of ignorant, uneducated people.

  11. Well how intolerant! We all know that the Brady Campaign would keep on an editor who wrote “it’s wrong to keep law abiding adults from buying and carrying guns as they choose.” Right?

  12. What a shame that an intelligent, educated author who probably has one of the most nuanced and accurate views of the subject of guns and gun control in the nation can’t try to educate his readers without a few of them screaming bloody murder because there isn’t room in their world for alternate opinions. My personal opinion is that this is a loss for the magazine and a loss for readers who don’t just want reinforcement of their own opinion and truly care about hearing every side of the story. I think those readers who so vehemently rejected the notion that there’s room for opinions that aren’t identical to their own should maybe investigate living someplace with a government that shares their beliefs. Off the top of my head, Russia, Syria, Iran, and China come to mind……

    1. So he can have his opinion and is intelligent and educated, but those who disagree with that opinion scream and are vehement? Spoken like a loyal subject of the realm.

  13. People do make mistakes. They did the right thing to correct a mistake. So, I’m willing to forgive but not forget. I will be always on the lookout for any sign of treasonous behavior, just as I am with the NRA who is famous for “compromising” with the enemy of We The People.

  14. Metcalf was correct in principle but should have mentioned that all regulation gets corrupted so must be avoided. We don’t mind being safety Nazis but would mind having some legislator in an expensive suit try to make it a law or assign enforcement to some regulator with complete discretion. Ever heard of “shall issue” being necessary to override interpretations of “will issue”?

  15. Metcalf lives just across the river in IL. he seemed like a pretty cool guy on the gun shows I’ve watched him on –but maybe toooooo much time in IL. and the gun control there made him wacky (short term ) I hope !!! ——-I Have Fam in IL and as I cross the river heading back to MO. I always say (Thank God –its good to be back in America again ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m Glad they fired him –But as a elder and prob a good guy who drank toooooo much IL. cool aide –i kinda feel sorry for the Ole Boy —–Ps –I have seen some ministers –who served God faithfully for many yrs and always preached truth —get old and say some weird stuff —old, tired, etc —-anyway Help us all Jesus Amen

  16. There is no need for a “Healthy exchange of ideas on gun control”. There is no debating or negotiating with what is clearly wrong and unjust. Controlling, monitoring a regulating the freedoms of innocent law abiding majority of citizens in response to the evil acts of a few is an unjust and morally corrupt concept plain and simple! The NRA has been an unwavering rock when it comes to the protection of our rights. That’s why it has been so successful and effective. Any sign of caving in to the gun grabbers is an insult and threat to everyone’s freedom. Metcalf was wrong PERIOD!

  17. Hmm, regulation is a tough one, but honestly as long as we are talking about ‘arms’ as in something you can lift and carry about as a small arm, I don’t see the need to excuse or explain to anyone. I don’t think many on here are trying to argue we need nuclear tipped ICBM’s or a fully fitted Abrams tank. Military and police can always keep up with civilian technology.

    On the subject of where the right comes from, it clearly comes from ‘other than govt’ as in ‘I don’t need the govt’s permission’. That is the view of the founding fathers and the founding documents. If you live in the USA, then that is what we should operate from; not a silly individual court case and ‘legal precedence’. The FF happened to be Christian like myself. Chapter and Verse explanation is unnecessary, but God clearly led the Jews into battle, so he was not completely pacifist as ‘Bill’ appears to be implying. I don’t think anyone is interested in convincing you, Bill. Move over to the left aisle where you belong, if you like. Thanks for stopping by.
    On forgiving the editor, hmm, I don’t think anyone should be using political correctness to obligate someone one way or another. We can each make our own choice as our rights allow us. I personally think the Editor messed up and missed it. Oops. He should have known what sort of uproar it would cause. Not to mention ‘ammunition’ for the opposing side since they cannot find statistical data to use.

    I don’t think gun culture is emotionally based. That is silly. All cultures and beliefs have emotional components, but the pro-gun crowd is large and constant. Perhaps you could say that some look to gun culture as a result of a life altering change of events (recent gun violence in ‘gun safe’ areas) which has a huge emotional component to it. I have witnessed plenty of anti-gunners come into personal contact with crime or threats and come running to me for advice on arming themselves. Nothing clears the murky depths of anti-gun sentiment like a personal experience in why people keep them.

    Lastly, when you see someone saying that certain arguments are “intellectual” and “educated” whereas another side is “ignorant” and “emotional”, you can be sure only that the person commenting is already filled with prejudice and preconception.

  18. This guy got screwed by low brow, government fearing morons readers simply for him exercising his 1st amendment right in calling for smart regulation of a 2nd amendment right…….how ironic

  19. Searching the Bible for applicable “literal” quotes is an uneducated fool’s folly.
    The Bible is NOT a literal and all inclusive dictate because as time has
    marched on so did man and all of his new technologies. The Bible represents a hope that man can honor principles and beliefs during his brief time while alive. There is no way to foretell what the circumstances will be in the future, but if man instills his life with accountability and responsible morals then equilibrium has a chance to exist and persevere.

    The Bible is not to be taken as either a literal or limiting document …it is an offering of merciful guidance. I feel sorry for those who travel through life using the Bible only through literal eyes and experiences, and thereby missing the whole point of having lived their life through honest and honorable contributions. Each life is a brief moment in the sum of eternity. Nobody, no government, and no entities have the right to limit or remove any ‘God given’ human rights (granted with birth). If you are an atheist substitute the term ‘Natural’ for God, as in America you still enjoy being Naturally existent, if not Godly. God whether a singular entity, or plural as individual ‘Gods’, all have been defined throughout human history as a common connecting factor of basic humanity between MEN.

    For the sake of humanity don’t throw away your ability to determine your own destiny just because there isn’t a supportive biblical statement or rule written down that enables you to determine your own destiny. Each human destiny is made up of the individual choices made and the Bible, as well as the
    Bill of Rights, leaves each destiny in the hands of its owner. A few people may choose to fritter, waste, or discredit their lives. However, the majority of humanity confronts their destiny and makes the best of the choices they are given.

    It is unfortunate that tyrants and evil people try to trick, enslave, or subjugate others to get their way, and history shows them to be aberrations. It takes time sometimes to clean the slate of such events. So, defend all human rights ‘God given’, ‘Natural given’, or otherwise. The Bill of Rights was defined and ratified because the people did NOT trust nor want to turn their complete lives over to an omnipotent centralized government power such as was defined by the ‘U.S. Constitution’.

    The right, ability, and obligations of the people to throw off an out of control, abusive, corrupt and tyrannical government were retained through the ratification of the ‘U.S. Bill of Rights’. Like it or not, nobody can fault any U.S. citizen for maintaining their inalienable human rights of personal safety, security, well-being, and a life with full liberties.

    I don’t think the Bible literally states it this way, but it sure as hell means it. Otherwise you’re a SLAVE and slaves don’t have a destiny worth living and my guess is they won’t be thanking God for the situation.

  20. Gun regulation is very much like the tax problem. It could start easily with tiny steps but once the precedent is established the right to own and carry guns would be stolen from all of us. And really we are part of the problem. We have allowed a shift in the argument. The very base of the debate is the right to use force to protect life and property. If we hold onto the right to shoot when attacked or have property being stolen then owning and carrying guns is built into that issue. After all, a gun is not a chunk of jewelry that is carried about to look good. Having a gun is about the right to use deadly force as needed. If you are attacked with fists or a pickle fork the right to take life should be yours to use.

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