Regarding the editorial {Oct. 6} on Florida's new law on weapons permits, some clarification is in order.

First, it is not likely that the new law will greatly increase the number of guns on the street. Rather, it will enable the thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens who are already carrying guns to "get right with the law." Conversely, prosecutors will now be uninhibited in throwingthe book at those who persist in carrying concealed weapons without a permit.

Admittedly, most proponents of handguns for self-defense would agree that more adequate training should be required for a permit, and many would also prefer that proficiency testing be mandated.

The Post is engaging in straw-man tactics, however, when it misrepresents the views of the National Rifle Association and other gun owners' advocacy groups. No responsible gun owners' group advocates a return to Wild West vigilantism, nor do such groups disparage other anticrime measures, such as Neighborhood Watch, alarms and better locks. The NRA no more tries to "push a gun into the hands of every adult" than the National Organization for Women seeks to have every woman get an abortion. Rather, the NRA defends the right of all citizens to choose freely whether to arm themselves in order to defend themselves and their families. GARY A. MOORE Alexandria

The editorial "Fun and Guns in Florida" expressed distress over the recent changes in the Florida firearms laws. The Post specifically deplores as a particularly egregious lunacy the notion of citizens wearing firearms visibly. I am puzzled.

Is there something particularly offensive about a single-action Colt strapped openly on one's leg that is ameliorated if it is replaced by a nice little gun in a discreet shoulder holster?

Fashion questions aside (I'll write Miss Manners separately), I much prefer to know if someone I'm dealing with has a .357 magnum inches away from his or her hand. There are many localities -- including, I believe, Virginia -- that require a higher and more restrictive form of licensing specifically for concealed weapons. This makes sense to me.

Think about it the next time you exchange heated words with a stranger. DOUGLAS V. ELLICE JR. Bethesda