Nevada draws fire after shooting down Utah gun permits
Proof of proficiency » Silver State insists on live-fire training for concealed weapons.
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Utah gun owners are protesting Nevada's decision to reject Utah-issued concealed-weapon permits.

On July 1, the Nevada Sheriffs' and Chiefs' Association, which sets the Silver State's permit recognition requirements, dropped Utah from the list of states whose permit holders also may carry concealed firearms in Nevada.

The reason: Utah does not require permit holders to prove their proficiency with a live-fire test on a shooting range.

"You don't get a driver's license without taking a driving-in-the-car test," Frank Adams, the Nevada association's executive director, said Monday. The same should apply for weapons owners, he said. "You should at least show proficiency."

The policy group Gun Owners of Utah this past weekend issued a call for letters and e-mails of protest after getting an alert from the National Rifle Association. On Monday, though, group spokesman Bill Clayton said the cause appears hopeless because Nevada authorities interpret their state law as backing up the ban.

Nevada law requires permittees from other states to meet substantially the same requirements as Nevada holders, and Nevada requires a shooting test.

"We don't want to impose any more burdens on permit applicants than are necessary," Clayton said, but other states do. "I guess for the time being that's a fact of life."

Gun Owners of Utah sees no difference in safety records among states that require a shooting test and those that don't, Clayton said. So the group does not support changing Utah's requirements to regain Nevada's confidence.

Clark Aposhian, of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said he plans to fly to Las Vegas today to protest at the Nevada association's concealed-weapons forum. The meeting actually is in Carson City but is accessible by teleconference in Las Vegas.

A shooting test has no bearing on safety, Aposhian said, because it does not translate to real-world uses of concealed weapons. Hitting a target at 25 yards is not the same as handling a weapon during a life-threatening situation, he said, often at arm's length.

"It's insignificant," Aposhian said of a live-fire test. "At best it's insignificant."

Aposhian accused Nevada of trying to protect the livelihood of its firearm instructors by nixing Utah's permits within its boundaries. Utah's permits are recognized in roughly double the number of states where Nevada's permits are good. As a result, he said, some people have opted to get Utah permits instead of paying for training in Nevada.

Utah's permits currently are recognized in 33 states, according to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. That list accounts for Nevada's recent withdrawal and Nebraska's new policy recognizing Utah permits.

Adams said Utahns still can carry concealed weapons in Nevada if they first get a Nevada permit. That means visiting a Nevada county and taking training that he said takes eight to 16 hours.

bloomis@sltrib.com