As with many of his Fourth Estate colleagues these days, magazine editor Jim Bequette wanted to “generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights.”
So in the latest edition he published a commentary by a regular contributor, who wrote in support of limited regulations on firearms. It was no small attempt at reason given that he works for Guns & Ammo magazine — or used to.
“Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement,” wrote long-time contributing editor Dick Metcalf. “The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”
Metcalf, for example, noted that free speech is regulated. “You cannot falsely and deliberately shout, 'fire!' in a crowded theater,” he said.
Freedom of religion is also regulated. “A church cannot practice human sacrifice,” he said.
Even freedom of assembly is regulated. “People who don't like you can't gather an 'anti-you' demonstration on your front lawn without your permission,” he wrote.
Overall, he put forward what should have been grist for the America's ever-grinding debate mill. Unfortunately, in exchange for their food for thought, they got the shaft.
They were vilified by enraged readers who said the mere suggestion that any regulation is tolerable brought into question Guns & Ammo's commitment to the Second Amendment.
“Publishing Metcalf's back page read was like throwing a bucket of blood in shark infested waters, especially here in California,” wrote one reader, according to CNN. “We are one step away from confiscation here as it is ...”
As a result, Metcalf was fired, Bequette apologized to readers, and when that wasn't enough, Bequette resigned on Wednesday, effective immediately.
In apologizing, the editor noted the magazine had a long-standing tradition of standing by the Second Amendment: “In publishing Metcalf's column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize.”