Utah’s concealed-carry permits skyrocket in popularity
SALT LAKE CITY — Tens of thousands of gun owners from around the country are taking advantage of Utah’s concealed firearm permits each year — often taking a required class given by instructors licensed by Utah but who live in other states.
About two-thirds of the nearly 577,000 permits Utah has issued in the last two decades have gone to residents from other states. More than 81,000 out-of-staters obtained permits from Utah in fiscal year 2014, accounting for 80 percent of the cards issued, shows a new state report issued this week.
Utah’s permit is attractive to out-of-state residents because it’s recognized in 35 states and allows them to travel more widely with it, said Rep. Curt Oda, a Republican lawmaker from Clearfield and a concealed-carry permit instructor.
Utah ranks alongside Arizona and Florida as being the most popular for out-of-state permit seekers not because it’s easy to get one, but because of the widespread acceptance around the country, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state’s biggest gun lobby.
The requirements are fairly simple: Anyone 21 or older who passes a criminal background check and takes a firearms course taught by an instructor certified by Utah can get the permit. Most of the 2,300 current instructors — 72 percent — don’t live in Utah. Not all states allow classes to be taken from out-of-state instructors, adding another layer of simplicity for permit-seekers, Aposhian said.
Utah runs background checks on a nearly daily basis, and permits can be suspended or revoked if holders are convicted of a crime that take away their eligibility, Aposhian said.
Illinois, Oregon, New York and California account for states with the most Utah-issued permits, state records show. That’s likely because permits from those states aren’t widely recognized, so gun owners get a second card from Utah for travel, Aposhian said. Because Utah’s permit isn’t recognized in those states, it’s easier to get a Utah card because residents there don’t have to first get a permit from their own state.