Utah Becomes the State of Choice for Gun Permits

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
(graphic: Putnam Shooters)

In the world of gun permits, Utah is king.


The Beehive State has the most popular gun permit in the United States, with 35 states recognizing its authority within their jurisdictions. This would explain why sales of the permits are booming—more than a half million sold to date. Most of the permits (62%) have been issued to out-of-state residents.


“Utah’s permit is a huge value. No other single state’s permit will get you 35 states’ recognition and reciprocity for $51 for out-of-staters, and $46 for in-staters,” Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, told the Salt Lake Tribune.


“It’s not the most popular permit because we made it so, but because 35 other states made it so,” he said. “Each state can decide individually if they will recognize Utah’s permit. All Utah does when it issues the permit, is guarantee it is good in Utah.”


Some observers believe that one of the draws for getting a gun permit in Utah is because it costs less than it does in other states. But Utah corrected that problem a few years ago when it modified its law to require that people first have a permit from their home state in order to get one in Utah.


Nonetheless, gun control advocates say Utah’s permit is still too easy to obtain.


“I think it’s absolutely shameful and ludicrously irresponsible to say that anybody anywhere who wants one of our concealed-carry permits, and thus will be able to carry legally in dozens of states, can just log on to our Web site and pay 60 bucks…” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spokesman Peter Hamm told The New York Times.


Steven Gunn, board member of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah (GVPCU), told the Tribune that the state mandates only “cursory knowledge of firearms laws” and doesn’t “require that people actually know how to use the firearm they possess.”


Some states, like Nevada and New Mexico, decided to withdraw their recognition of Utah’s permit because it does not require live-fire training.


“Residents of other states should be aware that people who have a Utah concealed-weapon permit may not have actually fired a weapon,” GVPCU chairwoman Dee Rowland told the Times. “I think that would be quite shocking to members of the public.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Permits for Concealed Guns: Utah Hits 500K (by Lee Davidson, Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah’s Gun Permit Popular With Nonresidents (by Dan Frosch, New York Times)

TSA Confiscates an Average of more than 3 Loaded Guns a Day at Airports (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Utah Becomes First State to Honor a State Gun (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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