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I knew gun lovers wouldn't like my Sunday column.

No matter how reasonable and even-handed I tried to be (I acknowledged firing guns myself and conceded on concealed weapons, for goodness' sake), I know that people are irrational about their Glocks. So I expected hate mail.

But when some helpful Second Amendment literalist posted my column at" Target="_BLANK">, my e-mail box filled up - and The Salt Lake Tribune's Web hits took off. I'm still being chastised.

Many calmly offered their interpretations of the right to bear arms. They repeatedly compared the Second Amendment to the First, reminding me of the free press rights that shore up my job. Some gun owners said they would never openly carry, worried it would frighten their neighbors. Others said their rural properties require a gun for security and to run off wild animals and stray dogs. A few claimed they're America's citizen militia, holding off an abusive government, a police state.

I've been forwarded quotes from Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, George Washington and Billy Graham.

A dozen writers resorted to the juvenile: I'm "stupid," "consistently idiotic," "a pansy feminist." I should just "shut up." (One obscene missive was written by a 14-year-old boy who's in big trouble now.)

And some reinforced my armchair psychoanalysis that open carriers are paranoid.

Here's a sampling:

Predictably, Dennis Kennedy argued, "If more people carried guns, there would not have been a Trolley Square incident."

"If a lowlife has the intent of mugging or robbing someone, I'm pretty sure he will NOT choose someone who is openly carrying a firearm," added Mike Grogan. "Even if you are not carrying a firearm, the perp will think twice if he THINKS you might be carrying a concealed weapon."

But George McCulley says open carriers are "looking for trouble."

"If someone can explain to me why it's important to casually carry a weapon, I'd love to hear it," McCulley wrote. "I used to carry, many years ago, a rifle in my truck, just in case I saw a coyote. But that is the point! I was looking for trouble with a coyote. It's OK for coyotes, but not people."

Lance Bailles compared his handgun to a fire extinguisher. "I don't secretly hope to use it. I'm not paranoid about fire, nor do I lose sleep at night worrying about it," Bailles wrote. "The fire extinguisher doesn't guarantee that I won't have a fire, but it means I am better prepared to have recourse if one happens. And no, it is not a substitute for the fire department. But, on the other hand, I don't throw away my fire extinguisher because there is a fire department."

Finally, there was a thread of "you dumb female" in several e-mails.

Brian Kovalchik called me a "coddled suburban woman" and held me up and found me lacking next to his 71-year-old, pistol-packing mama. "Did it ever occur to you how useless you are?"

"You, my little fruity lady," added Scott Fyfe, "should stand out of the way and let all of us gun toters protect ourselves (and you).

"It's feminine stupidly [sic] like that displayed by you that is leading me to start to agree with some that I have considered loons for some time...that all of the problems for this country can be traced to August 18, 1920. Women like you belong at home, not out clogging up the streets or in a voting booths [sic] casting ignorant votes."

Well, shut my mouth. Not.