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I was surprised to see on the Forum page with its own headline an article written by Scott Engen, the "government liaison (lobbyist) for the Utah Shooting Sports Council." This term itself is an oxymoron, since by Engen's own admission, most handguns are kept for "self-defense" (especially the concerned ones) and not for "shooting sports."

I've owned a handgun for years . . . ever since I was issued a Colt .45 in the Air Force. And I own a Winchester shotgun (my dad's) and a Remington deer rifle. I've used the shotgun to hunt pheasants and ducks, and bagged a number of deer with the rifle. So I suppose I could qualify as a shooting sportsman.It is a dangerous world out there, but I still do not feel the need to carry a loaded handgun concealed behind my belt in the small of my back - "Magnum-style" - nor to play Rambo whenever I see a street altercation. (How do our police feel about this?)

I've always had children and now grandchildren in our home and car, and I do not want a loaded gun where they might encounter and play with it.

Before the recent NRA-sponsored legislation took effect, law-abiding citizens were urged to keep guns, especially handguns, under lock in the home with ammunitions in a separate place. Now the gun-toting proponents urge us to keep a loaded weapon with us at all times and places - even in churches, schools and video stores.

Do we really think that the average citizen - many without either military or police training in gun handling in an emergency situation - could get his gun out and shoot an armed robber before he himself was shot? Or that he was mentally prepared to kill with a gun?

Mr. Engen seems disturbed that "our largest religious institution states that firearms are inappropriate in its facilities." I'm incensed that gun-pro-pa-gan-dist and lobbyist Engen thinks that guns are ap-pro-pri-ate in churches, schools, video stores, etc. And I'm surprised that the Deseret News would provide a forum for his views.

G. Robert Ruff

Salt Lake City