This is an archived article that was published on in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The state agency that issues concealed gun permits has caught up with a backlog of more than 10,000 applicants - all clamoring for what gun rights supporters call the most sought-after weapon permit in America.

Nearly half of the 28,000 permits issued this year will go to out-of-state residents. Utah has issued more than 100,000 concealed gun permits since the program began in the early 1990s.

Ed McConkie, chief of the Bureau of Criminal Identification, told the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday some rule changes, including one that allows the BCI to keep the fees it collects for concealed weapon permits, has allowed the agency to catch up on its backlog of background checks.

Under law, the agency must issue the permit within 60 days. Before the new rule took effect, the waiting period had reached 120 days, violating the statute. Now it's 49 days for Utah applicants and 53 days for out-of-state residents.

But McConkie warned the new rules have only been in place four months. "We will not know some of the conclusions that we are all looking for for at least another year."

Utah charges only $55 per application for the concealed permit. Though applicants must pass a gun safety course, they are not required to fire a gun or even set foot in Utah to apply.

"When you compare it to other states, it's a great deal," McConkie said.

Through reciprocity agreements, Utah's permit allows holders to carry a concealed gun in 34 states. More than 1,000 nonresident citizens of foreign countries, from the Congo to Switzerland, have been issued Utah permits.

While Utahns have their criminal records screened almost daily, out-of-Utah permit holders don't face another background check until their five-year renewals.

Lawmakers have begun the process of drafting a bill to address inconsistencies in the statute.

* 8,743: permits issued since July 1

* 23,664: permit applications so far this year

* 238: permits revoked in 2007

* 255: permits suspended in 2007

Source: Utah Bureau of Criminal identification