'Guns & Ammo' editor apologizes for column calling for gun control

Gun rights supporter at the LPAC conference in Chantilly, Virginia
The image of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) hangs over a M16 replica on display at a gun rights supporter sign up table at the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC ) in Chantilly, Virginia September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) (REUTERS)

The editor of "Guns & Ammo" magazine has issued a lengthy apology to outraged readers for publishing an editorial that called for gun control.

"As editor of 'Guns & Ammo,' I owe each and every reader a personal apology," Jim Bequette wrote in a letter posted on the magazine's website late Wednesday. "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 [our] commitment to the Second Amendment. I understand why."

In the column, Metcalf argued that gun owners can no longer hide behind the Second Amendment.

"Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement," contributing editor Metcalf wrote in a column titled "Let's Talk Limits." "The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be."

"Our commitment to the Second Amendment is unwavering," Bequette wrote in his apology to readers. "It has been so since the beginning. Historically, our tradition in supporting the Second Amendment has been unflinching. No strings attached.

"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."

Earlier this week, outraged readers flocked to the magazine's Facebook page, threatening to cancel their subscriptions and boycott the magazine's advertisers unless Metcalf was fired.

"I will NEVER read your magazine again," one reader wrote. "I will NEVER buy anything offered in your magazine. You can kiss my red blooded, white American ass!!!"

"If Dick Metcalf isn't given the boot, I will give the boot to my subscription," wrote another. "Stabbed in the back by one of our own. What a shame."

They got what they wanted.

"Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with 'Guns & Ammo' has officially ended," Bequette wrote.

"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."

Bequette, who was planning to step down as editor on Jan. 1, wrote that he would do so immediately.

He added: “'Guns & Ammo' will never fail to vigorously lead the struggle for our Second Amendment rights."