This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The latest figures are in, ladies and gentlemen, and Utah continues to be the go-to place in the United States for permits to carry concealed handguns. It is understandable why gun enthusiasts in the Legislature would want to provide this permit for Utahns, but it remains baffling why the Beehive State would voluntarily shoulder this regulatory burden for people in 32 other states who have never set foot in this place and probably never will.
We continue to believe that Utah should license this privilege only for Utahns. Let other states do it for their own people.
That's not the way it works now. Utah permits are available to any American who qualifies, and 32 other states recognize Utah's permit.
That helps to explain why, during the fiscal year that ended June 30, some 44,043 out-of-state residents received Utah permits. By comparison, only 17,315 Utahns did. That means that 72 percent of the permits issued that year went to people who live in other states.
A spokesman for Utah's Bureau of Criminal Identification, which administers the permits, told The Tribune he's not sure why the ratio has tilted so strongly to outlanders. Maybe, he suggested, most of the folks in Utah who want one already have it.
We suspect, however, that the Utah permit is popular elsewhere because it is relatively cheap, its training standards are minimal, and an applicant doesn't even have to come here to get one. It is enough to take the training course from a Utah-licensed instructor and meet the application's other requirements. People who have been convicted of a felony, a crime of violence or an offense involving alcohol, illegal drugs or moral turpitude, or who have been judged mentally incompetent, are not eligible to hold permits. The same restrictions apply to instructors.
About half of the roughly 250,000 people who hold active Utah permits are Utahns. The remainder are not, which means that the state BCI is responsible for keeping track of the criminal records of people all around the nation. The agency checks databases of Utah criminal records daily and national computer databases quarterly. It revokes permits of those who no longer qualify. The revocation rate is about 1 percent.
That's a regulatory burden that we do not believe this state should have to worry about. We worry that a mistake could leave a permit in the hands of someone who should not have it. To minimize that risk, Utah should limit its permit to Utahns.