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GOOD QUESTION: Is “gun culture” just a paycheck for Guns & Ammo staff?

August 7, 2017

Is "gun culture" just a paycheck for Guns & Ammo staff?

The Outdoor Sportsmen's Group is headquartered at #2 News Plaza in Peoria, IL.  While you may not have heard of the company, you surely recognize and probably grew up with their dead-tree publications:  Guns & Ammo, Firearms News (formerly Shotgun News), Handguns, Shooting Times, and many more.  Employing scores of staff, you would think these people would live and breath die-hard gun culture, would you not?

We thought so in Central Illinois.  Which is why we invited them to attend any Guns Save Life monthly meeting right smack in their backyard in Peoria, IL.  We even invited them to come and promote their publications and company.  All we got back?  Crickets chirping.

With seventy to ninety people showing up each month at the Peoria location, it's a happening meeting in the heartland of America.  The old expression "If it plays in Peoria" carries more than a bit of truth about the river town and its cross section of peoples.  And Guns Save Life plays well in Peoria.  Our past speakers – just at the Peoria site these past five years – have included industry professionals, training experts, war veterans, lawyers, cops, judges and even a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

GSL has thousands of members in a total of 39 states.  We work as an influential gun rights group in the Land of Lincoln and beyond.  Our highway sign program is seen by a half-million people a day.  We meet in six cities across Illinois each month and our monthly journal GunNews has a circulation of nearly 20,000 per month.  No, it's not Guns & Ammo's 400,000, but then again, GSL does not hire any big (or little) companies to create our publication.

So we found it surprising that none of OSG's dozens of staff members have once bothered to come out.

Here's the list of publications – all with their headquarters at #2 News Plaza in Peoria.

  • Bowhunter
  • Florida Sportsman
  • Fly Fisherman
  • Game & Fish
  • Guns & Ammo
  • Gun Dog
  • Handguns
  • In-Fisherman
  • North American Whitetail
  • Petersen's Bowhunting
  • Petersen's Hunting
  • Rifle Shooter
  • Shallow Water Angler
  • Shooting Times
  • Shotgun News (Now Firearms News)
  • Walleye In-Sider
  • Wildfowl

In late 2014, when we called out Guns & Ammo for their glowing review of the problematic Taurus Curve, they threatened to sue.  Ironically, when we published their threat to sue, that story effectively tripled the reach of the original story to nearly a million reads – almost two and a half times more than the circulation of the original Taurus Curve story.

Once more, after calmer heads prevailed at Guns & Ammo's then publisher, we had no hard feelings.  We had merely called them out on what we saw as a blatant, advertiser-driven "promotion piece" and life goes on for everyone involved.  Once more we invited them to come out and introduce themselves.  That was at the end of the year 2014.

Guess what we've heard since:


Now, we realize that the economy and trends in dead-tree publishing have not been kind to the Guns & Ammo family of mags, judging by the declining number of pages found in the magazines.  However, we have to think that at least someone at the Outdoor Sportsman's Group would want to join us to advocate for defending gun owners' rights to defend themselves, right?  And for their writers' right to receive and test those guns provided by manufacturers, correct?

Nope.  Apparently not.

Or if they have, they kept a low, low profile and didn't reveal themselves to us.

Which leads many to question whether or not these people really are truly part of the gun culture.  We can't help but wonder if they look at their jobs at these publications as nothing more than a paycheck.  And maybe a stepping stone to something bigger.

It would not be without precedent that G&A staff aren't all dead-set opposed to gun control.  We know how even Dick Metcalf penned a piece supporting gun control at Guns & Ammo in late 2013.  In that piece, the then long-time contributor to G&A wrote:

I wondered whether those same people believed that just anybody should be able to buy a vehicle and take it out on public roadways without any kind of driver’s training, test or license.

I understand that driving a car is not a right protected by the Constitution, but to me the basic principle is the same. I firmly believe that all U.S. citizens have the right to bear arms, but . . .

and then he closed with this:

I don't think that requiring 16 hours of training to qualify for a concealed carry license is infringement in and of itself.

But that's just me.

Ol' Dick might be a nice guy, but if he doesn't view a 16-hour training requirement to exercise a Constitutionally protected right as an infringement, then he is just plain wrong.  And gun owners nationwide agreed.  Only after an angry reaction from every corner of the gun world did the then-publisher finally fire Mr. Metcalf.  His termination effectively ended Metcalf's career writing about firearms.

Today, there are a number of employment positions available at the Outdoor Sportsmen's Group publishing headquarters in Peoria.  Interestingly, only the Associate Editor position mentioned any requirement for the applicant to have and maintain eligibility to possess firearms in Illinois.

Supplemental duties will include:

  • Contribute to OSG media outlets including online and television broadcast video.
  • Must be legally qualified and possess a current Illinois Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card. A copy will be kept on file with OSG’s Peoria office.
  • The Associate Editor will need a gun club membership or other access to areas for testing and photography.
  • Must be willing and able to travel on OSG business.

The other two positions – a managing editor and editor position – made zero mention of any requirement to maintain firearms ownership eligibility under state or federal law.  Imagine that.

Maybe these people really do just see their work as a job, not a calling.

That's probably one of many reasons why I let my subscription to Shotgun News lapse many years ago and my grandfather's subscription to G&A lapsed following his death many years before that.  I grew up pawing through G&A and the American Riflemen in my elementary school years and beyond.  Both nurtured my interest in the shooting sports, along with my grandfather.

But today, other alternatives exist to nurture interest in guns, both online and in print.  From people who really do look at gun culture as a calling and not so much a paycheck.

5 Responses to GOOD QUESTION: Is “gun culture” just a paycheck for Guns & Ammo staff?

  1. Sam Whittemore on August 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Good question indeed.  After Dick Metcalf spewed his fecal matter all over G&A, I wouldn't wipe my rear end with it, much less pay them a dime.

    My wife gave me a subscription to Recoil two Christmases ago.  I love that woman.

  2. Mark on August 7, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Cancelled my subscription to all of their publications a long time ago. I get all the info I need from "Gun News", my favorite publication.

  3. Jack Ryan on August 8, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Who reads Guns & Ammo anymore?

    I am shocked that being a gun owner isn't a requirement to work at those places.  That doesn't inspire confidence in their brands, IMHO.  But again, who reads those mags?

  4. G. Thompson on August 13, 2017 at 7:00 am

    G&A is nothing but a shill. Look at the Springfield (crap) Armory glowing display on the front cover. Saw that and I guickly cancelled my subscription for ever.

    George Thompson

    Elgin, Il.


  5. johnjohn on August 19, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Gun News, TTAG and Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network……all the reading I will ever need.