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Judging from recent editorial content, I guess it's time again for a barrage of ignorant and emotional commentary about firearms.

True, we have a serious problem with violent crime in which firearms are used. But if any genuine progress is to be made toward a solution, an honest and reasoned approach must be taken. Much misinformation is generated by the anti-gun coalition. "Cop-killer" bullets, "Saturday night specials," "assault rifles," "drug guns" and other meaningless designations may serve the purposes of propagandists, but they will do nothing toward achieving the solution desired. Perhaps the following points need reiteration:First, the repeatedly expressed notion that people are killed by guns must be discarded. No one was ever killed by a gun. If people want to persist in scapegoat thinking, shooting victims are killed by bullets, specifically by tissue disruption caused by bullet impact. While in each case a gun was necessary to fire the bullet, it's equally true that there had to be a human firing the gun.

Second, a firearm is a tool, period! Though often misused, it is neither the embodiment of evil nor a magical device as presented in the entertainment media - which is where most ignorance about guns is generated. Those who say the only purpose of guns is to kill betray their own ignorance. Many firearms are made specifically for target shooting. Yes they, too, can be used to kill, but they bear the same resemblance to a combat arm as a butter knife does to a dagger.

Third, some would have us believe that the mere presence of guns induces aggressive or violent behavior. This is utter nonsense, and the fuss over the new concealed carry law typifies the idiocy of this thinking. Contrary to the dire predictions of some folks (including representatives of Utahns Against Gun Violence), there hasn't been a rash of "Wild West shoot-outs" as predicted. Many peaceable individuals who obtained concealed carry permits go about their business as usual - peaceably. On the other hand, it's baffling that anyone with a functioning brain stem could believe that someone already possessing murderous or anti-social intentions would be the least bit dissuaded from taking a gun anywhere they want simply because of a policy statement forbidding the concealed carrying of firearms. These policies are obviously more meaningless political gesturing and will do nothing to ensure the safety of anyone.

The place of firearms - both their value and liability in a free society - is legitimate ground for discussion and debate. Such discussion, fairly presented and with equal access to facts, should be encouraged. It serves no one, however, to obscure the issue with some of the nonsensical postulates and distortions that often appear in the media.

Steve Cannon

Salt Lake City