When the December issue of Guns & Ammo (which I still haven’t got my hands on) came out, readers were apparently met with something of a surprise. Long time gun rights activist Dick Metcalf had penned an editorial for their Backstop column which launched into a discussion of the need for more gun regulation. We don’t have the full column at hand, but the folks at The Free Patriot republished a few of the salient portions.

“I bring this up,” he wrote, “because way too many gun owners still believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is that all Constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.” Facepalm moment anyone? Now that Metcalf is no longer in a fit mental capacity to be left alone, someone should send Adult Protective services over for a welfare check.

“Many argue that any regulation at all is, by definition, an infringement. If that were true, then the authors of the Second Amendment themselves, should not have specified “well-regulated.”

I won’t include more, as it pretty much goes downhill from there, parroting some of the time worn arguments constantly put forward by those opposed to gun ownership who seek to twist the Constitution to their own ends. The response from the readers was instant and pretty much unanimous. In response, G&A editor Jim Bequette took immediate action.

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…

Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with “Guns & Ammo” has officially ended.

Jim’s actions were not limited to Metcalf, though. He seemed to adopt a policy of saying that a housecleaning was in order and it needed to start at the top.

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.

Metcalf took to the pages of another forum to attempt to “explain” what he was trying to do, but that wasn’t going over very well either.

How do I feel about that? Disappointed. If a respected editor can be forced to resign and a controversial writer’s voice be shut down by a one-sided social-media and internet outcry, virtually overnight, simply because they dared to open a discussion or ask questions about a politically sensitive issue . . . then I fear for the future of our industry, and for our Cause. Do not 2nd Amendment adherents also believe in Freedom of Speech? Do Americans now fear open and honest discussion of different opinions about important Constitutional issues? Do voices from cyberspace now control how and why business decisions are made?

Metcalf’s response to his termination is, I’m sad to say, every bit as misguided as the original column. There isn’t a single person I’ve seen who is questioning his First Amendment rights. But he seems to be forgetting that the First Amendment is in place to protect him from retribution by his government to his exercise of free speech. There’s nothing in the Bill of Rights which assures him a fat paycheck or a position at a respected publication if he decides to go entirely off the ranch and start questioning the fundamental principles of the readership it serves.

This entire exercise was a sad affair to watch from start to finish. Let’s hope that with the swift and decisive action by the directors at Guns & Ammo, this little chapter of the publication’s history can be brought to a close and they can move on.