Why do most of the arguments on both sides of the gun-control issue fail to address the real benefit of a concealed-weapons permit law? Joseph Stumph, in his April 29 letter to the editor, designated the 15,000 permit holders in Utah as "volunteer security personnel." The concept is interesting but totally wrong in my opinion. If I were a concealed-weapons permit holder and was carrying a weapon, I would certainly not be out looking for ways to protect the general public.

The benefit of having 15,000 permits issued to qualified, law-abiding citizens is the message it sends to would-be criminals. The requirement to have the weapon concealed makes the perpetrator think, "Is this person one of the 15,000 permit holders? If so, I could be killed. I don't want to be killed."Concealed-weapons laws are deterrents to crime and therefore make for safer places to live where these laws are in effect. Furthermore, I would be in favor of a society that required every qualified adult to have a weapon and be proficient in its use and educated in the safety issues related to firearms. Criminals would move out of that society and into a controlled firearm state for their own safety. When the lawfulness of owning a gun is taken away from the citizens, then only criminals and law enforcement personnel have them. That definitely gives the advantage to the criminals.

And to Jay F. Raines of Pleasant Grove (Guns make Utah safer? May 17 letter to the editor), if I were a concealed weapon permit holder and was armed, I would not "un-conceal" my gun to protect you unless my own life depended on it. That goes for the rest of the 2 million liberal residents of Utah and even for the unnumbered conservatives. I am grateful for the concealed-weapons law in Utah and to those who qualify for permits, regardless of whether they carry weapons or not. Thank you for making Utah a safer place.

Lee Stoddard