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All Fired Up Over Guns

May 22, 1988

Thank you for your mostly fair and balanced article on carrying concealed weapons. Yes, many otherwise law-abiding citizens commit that misdemeanor every day because of the restrictive application of the gun permit law in Los Angeles.

I was one of those alluded to in the article, who, when I lived in another county, received a CCW permit from the sheriff after I underwent a background check and demonstrated a reasonable familiarity with firearms.

Unfortunately, your article did not address people like myself when it mentioned, for instance, Kern County, where last year 3,943 CCW permits were issued. My question is, "Yeah, so what about it?" Are those 3,943 legal gun carriers causing any problems? Are they whipping out their pistols and playing cowboy or Rambo? Were they the freeway shooters? No.

The same issue was brought up a couple years ago when The Times reported that, in a small incorporated area in Los Angeles County, the local police chief was issuing CCW permits "to his political cronies." Were those citizens causing any trouble, any problems at all, by being legally armed?

No. Like the other responsible citizens who would like to carry guns legally, they were businessmen and poets and musicians and saleswomen and housewives who caused no trouble, but who had voluntarily made the very serious decision to be able to protect themselves should the need arise. Such people contradict the insulting myth that gun owners are all moronic Ku Klux Neanderthals who are led around by certain pro-gun groups. As the National Rifle Assn. itself frequently laments, most of the millions and millions of gun owners are not NRA members.

And once and for all, handgun ownership is not a "liberal versus conservative" issue. Remember when Proposition 15, which would have limited and eventually banned many handguns, was defeated? It was most severely trounced, not out in the redneck boonies of California, but in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

So yes, it's possible to be a compassionate, humane, caring, even "liberal" citizen and still carry a gun. It's done all the time.

TOM BURNS

Acton

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