While the gun industry often quotes the Second Amendment, gun companies are not nearly as supportive of the First Amendment and exercise editorial control over articles in gun publications, says a new report.
The New York Times recently reported on writer Dick Metcalf, who was fired from Guns & Ammo magazine for daring to state that gun regulation had existed for decades.
In the December 2013 issue of Guns & Ammo, Metcalf wrote, "Way too many gun owners still seem to believe that any regulation of the right to keep and bear arms is an infringement. The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be."
The gun industry was outraged, Metcalf was fired and Guns & Ammo editor Jim Bequette resigned.
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Metcalf had his life threatened and lost his TV show on the Sportsman Channel, which is owned by Guns & Ammo publisher InterMedia Outdoors (IMO).
In 2012, Metcalf wrote in an Op-Ed in TheOutdoorWire.com:
IMO was contacted by two major firearms industry manufacturers, stating that they would do no further business with IMO if it continued with its present personnel structure. Within hours, Jim Bequette resigned as editor of Guns & Ammo, and my relationship with all IMO publications and TV shows was terminated.
Former Guns & Ammo editor Jan Libourel told The New York Times that at some gun magazines, "The editors only want editorial content for some key advertisers."
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Ex-Guns & Ammo editor, Richard Venola added, "You have to be in cahoots with the manufacturer, in order to make the publication appeal to the readership. Say you write about boats. At some point you're going to end up on the sun deck of a boat, downing sundowners after testing one, with the guy who makes it. It's just how it happens."
The New York Times says that gun magazines are terrified of publishing bad reviews about guns, and, instead, send the gun back to the manufacturer with notes for improvement:
Reporters and editors say that reviews are often written in close consultation with manufacturers. If a gun is judged to be of poor quality, magazines will quietly send it back for improvements rather than writing a negative review. The system is broadly accepted at these publications, gun writers say.
However, if a writer advocates guns, he is given a free rein to bash anyone, notes MediaMatters.org.
NRA board member Jeff Cooper had a regular column at Guns & Ammo until 2004 even though he published a newsletter "Jeff Cooper's Commentaries," in which he defended slavery as "the normal condition of mankind."
Speaking of Muslims, Cooper wrote, "But the ragheads still insist that we infidels are the accursed of God, and they seek to flaunt this without any prospect for amelioration."