Your editorial about Maryland's concealed carry gun law supports the state's policy of requiring "good and substantial reason" for issuing a permit ("Guns and safety," Aug. 5). While I agree that our civil rights may not be absolute (e.g. yelling "fire" in a crowded theater), no one should have to have a "good and substantial reason" for exercising them. I suspect that even your editorialist would object to needing a "good and substantial reason" in order to exercise his right to express an opinion.

When law-abiding citizens who meet the requirements for purchasing firearms are allowed to carry them concealed, crime goes down. Criminals are less likely to commit crimes when they are aware that legal firearms are available to thwart their intentions. Author John Lott documented this effect in his book, "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws."

Your writer also alleges that robberies are the primary source of illegal firearms, while other Sun opinion pieces have alleged that the "gun show loophole" is the primary source. It would certainly benefit your readers if The Sun would settle on one or the other.

The history of concealed-carry permit holders shows they have a vanishingly small number of issues related to the misuse of their firearms. In addition, the number of times these permit holders have to draw or use their firearms is very low; often just the display of a holstered firearm is enough to defuse a potential confrontation. I can state from personal experience that permit holders are not looking for confrontations. The best gunfight is the one you avoid.

Carl Russell, Severn