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Gun Columnist Loses Job After Opinion Column

In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, assault weapons and hand guns are seen for sale at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Ill. The deadline for local governments in Illinois to enact assault weapons ordinances is Friday, July 19, 2013. In recent days, about a dozen communities have passed ordinances either banning assault weapons or imposing regulations concerning how they are stored and transported.

CREDIT: AP/Seth Perlman.

Guns and Ammo Magazine‘s December issue was longtime firearms journalist Dick Metcalf’s final issue with the publication

Metcalf penned a single page opinion column entitled “Let’s Talk Limits,” which led him to be fired from Guns and Ammo, and Executive Editor Jim Bequette issued an apology to readers about the column and resigned.

What exactly did this veteran firearms columnist write to cost him his position on a pro-gun publication’s masthead?

The columnwhich has been pulled from the magazine’s websitedrew some distinction between gun “regulation” and “infringement,” questioning the notion held by many gun owners that, “any regulation is, by definition, an infringement.”

Metcalf argued that, “If that were true, then the authors of the Second Amendment themselves should not have specified ‘well regulated.'”

Metcalf simply sought to argue that state regulatory laws, which require adequate training and preparation for gun owners wanting a conceal and carry license are part of, “the responsibility of bearing arms.” He closed his column by stating, “I don’t think that requiring 16 hours of concealed carry license training is an infringement in and of itself.”

Further, he states in his column that he firmly believes, “that all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms.”

The column seemed like a reasonable call for discussion, right down to its title. Yet, the response from the pro gun lobby to the column was immediate and swift, ranging from questioning Metcalf’s understanding of the Constitution to claiming he had “betrayed the Second Amendment.”

A little history about Metcalf.

He has covered firearms law for Shooting Times for 14 years.

He worked with the late Senator Jim McClure (R-ID), late Representative Harold Volkmer (D-MO), and National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Neal Knox to craft the 1986 Volkmer-McClure Firearms Owners Protection Act.

Bequette has issued an apology, acknowledges the “unprecedented controversy” the column had sparked despite his hopes that the column would, “generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights.”

After re-affirming Guns and Ammo’s “unflinching” and “unwavering” commitment to the Second Amendment “no strings attached,” Bequette immediately resigned.

Bequette’s resignation and Metcalf being fired raise the question of whether a dialogue about gun regulation is actually possible when one side resists all appearance of compromise, suppressing any suggestion of internal dissent.

As Metcalf himself said a week after he was fired, “We expected we would generate a conversation. We didn’t think we were going to incite a riot.”

David Moyer is a reporter with Generation Progress.

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