If the 10,000-plus Utahns with permits to legally carry concealed weapons were proving to be even a minor source of criminal activity, then your June 6 editorial position against them might make sense. The fact is, however, that the people who obtain the permits are virtually absent in crime statistics. The criminals the public rightfully worries about don't bother with permits. The distinctions between criminals and law-abiding citizens who obtain concealed weapons permits are clear, bright and numerous. Unfortunately, these distinctions are largely overlooked by those who write newspaper editorials.
Examine the experiences of other states with similar concealed weapons laws and you will find no evidence that permit holders pose a threat to public safety. To qualify for the permit in Utah, a person must be fingerprinted and photographed for criminal background checks, successfully complete a firearms safety training course, and provide letters of reference attesting to the applicant's stability and maturity. In short, the permit holder has to submit to the type of official scrutiny that gun-control lobbyists have been demanding. Yet, in spite of this, and in the complete absence of data showing that they are a source of criminal activity, they are routinely characterized as dangerous yahoos in newspaper editorials. Is it any wonder that gun-rights advocates are upset by this treatment by the press?I ask the editors of the Deseret News to look beyond their "politically correct" opinion and to objectively research and re-evaluate their position.
Salt Lake City