"I firmly believe that all U.S. citizens have a right to keep and bear arms, but I do not believe that they have a right to use them irresponsibly," he added.
Readers threatened to boycott the magazine and cancel their subscriptions until Dick Metcalf was fired.
In a lengthy note published on the "Guns & Ammo" website, Bequette apologized and explained he only wanted to spur a "healthy exchange of ideas."
"I once again offer my personal apology. 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," he said. "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."
Assuring readers that the magazine's committment to the Second Amendment was "unwavering," Bequette announced a new editorial hire to advance the interests of its readership.