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Concealed Weapons Permits

December 29, 1996

* I take issue with Scott Harris' column (Dec. 19) wherein he recounts his brush with crime. He then takes a gratuitous swipe at the NRA and citizens who want to legally carry concealed weapons and poses rhetorical questions about whether it would be more dangerous to let citizens have concealed weapon permits.

Until recently, the city of Los Angeles did not issue any such permits. As a result of a lawsuit and subsequent settlement, some permits are being issued upon a showing of good moral character and good cause. All applicants must be fingerprinted, photographed, have a state background check and show completion of a course in firearm safety and proficiency and knowledge of the laws concerning the use of deadly force.

A citizens review panel was created as a result of the lawsuit settlement and I am the chairman. I can say from personal experience that criminals don't apply for the right to legally carry a firearm.

What would Harris have done had this robber decided to shoot the store owner, and maybe any witnesses? What if the robber was a potential three-strikes candidate and thought he had nothing to lose? Would Harris have felt a little more secure if he knew there was an armed, law-abiding citizen crouching next to him, knowledgeable in firearms. Would Harris have felt more secure if he had a firearm?

Deadly force can and should be employed only to save one's life or the life of another. I have interviewed hundreds of applicants for permits and none of them want to be heroes. Their only desire is to protect themselves and their families.

DAVID A. YOCHELSON

Los Angeles

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