June 25, 2021
By Eric R. Poole
WHAT YOU SEE within Guns & Ammo was not created unintentionally. Within a few issues of being selected as this publication’s 14th editor, Art Director Michael Ulrich and I worked together to update the magazine’s appearance and reorganize its columns and features. We surveyed a focus group of gun enthusiasts ranging in age and background before selecting details such as the font families and sizes, as well as colors within the spectrum that we knew our printers could accurately reproduce. Though G&A hasn’t had a significant redesign since the April 2014 issue, we still tweak design templates, layouts and our editorial processes to improve readability and familiarity.
The “letters” section — now called “Reader Blowback” — was not always the first column in the magazine. The Fall 1958 issue was the first to print letters under the column “Pinwheels and Flyers.” These were positioned towards the back of the magazine. Since my days fielding and responding to “Dope Bag” correspondence for “American Rifleman” (2004 to 2006), I have always valued reader feedback above all. It is important to me that reader letters appear first in each issue for this reason. Most letters to Guns & Ammo now arrive by email, but many still handwrite their comments and questions — and I read them all. We distribute those written to specific authors and publish succinct replies when space allows.
Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity (and foul language), but we are careful not to manipulate the reader’s message if a letter is to be published. In fact, as many readers have complained that we will publish any letter to include less-popular opinions on the subject of politics and firearms! We do, if it is interesting and attracts further engagement. (If we prohibited certain letters, we could never accurately gauge the number of counterarguments.)
We are not above publishing criticism or a balance of social-political letters on either side of an argument. For example, some readers abhor hunting-related articles, and they are welcome to sound off. “Reader Blowback” is your column to fill, and we do not censor your voices. And, when a published letter garners its own reaction, we publish a sampling of the responses in the following issue.
Why do we publish letters that even our editorial staff may not agree with? It is our responsibility to maintain the magazine’s social-political neutrality on topics outside of gun rights and the firearm industry. You purchase and subscribe to Guns & Ammo for our testing and analysis, reflections on history and commentary on firearm topics. As your letters have shown, G&A’s readership is a collection of diverse experiences, opinions and personalities; and we respect that.
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