I am a reporter for the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City. We are doing a story looking at a big surge in concealed weapons permits here. Utah has seen permit applications go from about 4,000 a year in 2000 to maybe 30,000 this year. About a third of all permits here go to people from out of state.
We're trying to come up with reasons for that increase, and why so many non-residents seek a Utah permit. Any comments?
For example, have any of you from out of state applied in Utah -- and why did you choose to do so? It's low fee (59)? Because 30 other states recognized it? Is the Utah permit easier to obtain than other states?
Why in general do you think so many more people overall are applying now? Do things like the Virginia Tech shootings make them feel less safe?
(Salt Lake City) Deseret Morning News
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April 25, 2007, 04:15 PM
I am a SLC, Utah resident who just last month completed my CWP class and applied for a permit.
It's something I've thought of doing for some time now. I recently found out that several of my friends have quietly done so in the last year or two.
The Trolley Square shootings helped me decide to finally do it. The shootings also made it easier for my wife to understand why I'd want to get a permit, even if I don't have plans to carry concealed except on rare occasions.
Hope this helps. I enjoy your column.
April 25, 2007, 04:21 PM
Lee, I'm a Utah resident, and a Utah CCW instructor. I teach for FBMG in Draper, and I also teach all of Cabelas classes, so I'm one of the busiest instructors in the state.
Here in Utah, Trolley Square spurred a lot of folks who had been sitting on the fence about the issue. I'm sure that Virginia Tech will also have a similar effect, if not even greater.
Nationally, the Utah permit is loved because of the relatively low cost, and the high number of states that honor it. For anyone that travels much, the Utah permit is great. I can drive from here to Florida and not have to take my gun off.
April 25, 2007, 04:25 PM
Two data points for you.
1. My brother-in-law who lives in Salem, UT just received his permit. I believe the motivating factors were: a) Trolley Square, b) his daughter had gone ahead and obtained her's, c) he had traditionally carried a pistol in his car, now he wanted to do so legally.
2. I visit UT frequently. The Utah permit is reconized in many states that I visit as well. I will take the class and apply for a UT permit next time I visit. I like to support good legislation.
As to your other questions, the UT permit is recognized in many other states and that is useful. It allows a permit holder to obtain one permit as opposed to several. As to the ease of obtaining it, the ND permit is as easy or easier, the OH permit I had when living there was more time consuming, but not harder. I believe the defining characteristic of the popularity of the UT permit is that other states have recognized the quality of the State's permiting process and have chosen to honor that permit. Quite a compliment to Utah.
30 cal slob
April 25, 2007, 04:33 PM
I am not a UT resident (I'm on the East Coast).
FL and UT permits are becoming increasingly sought after because of the number of states that honor them.
Those poor folk processing the UT permit applications would have an easier time if every state had reciprocity with each other, like we have with drivers licenses now.
I just dropped my application for UT in the mail 3 weeks ago.
I would add that I am somewhat late to the scene, as I had to wait to find a UT-approved safety course instructor in my neck of the woods.
April 25, 2007, 04:37 PM
I live in VA and am a UT CCW instructor. I get many people to take the class who want the Utah Permit, for it's reciprocity with Delaware (or Washington State) It has recirpocity with more states than any other permit (I think)
30 cal slob
April 25, 2007, 04:47 PM
According to the BCI website, here are the states that honor UT's carry permit:
UTAH CONCEALED FIREARM PERMIT RECIPROCITY WITH OTHER STATES
Will Utah honor concealed firearm permits from other states?
In accordance with U.C.A. 76-10-523, Utah will honor a permit to carry a concealed firearm issued by another state or county.
Although there are many states that will recognize the Utah concealed firearm permit, the State of Utah has formal reciprocity with the following states: (with a valid UT permit, you can carry concealed in these states, subject to each state's own laws and residency requirements. in turn, citizens with valid permits from these states can carry concealed in UT, subject to UT's carry laws)
Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Washington State
The following states recognize the Utah concealed firearm permit. (with a valid UT permit, you can carry concealed in these states, subject to each state's own laws and residency requirements)
The following states DO NOT recognize the Utah concealed firearm permit.
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin
So there are 19 states that don't have reciprocity or recognize UT permits.
April 25, 2007, 04:50 PM
I am a California resident, and have had a UT CCW for a couple of years now. Californians have two reasons for applying for a Utah CCW that I know of:
1. California CCW's can be hard to obtain, depending on where in the state you live. Some seek UT CCW's so that they can at least carry legally while on vacation.
2. Probably because California has such unique CCW practices, relatively few states allow reciprocity. So, even if you do have a California CCW, a Utah CCW increases the places out of state you can carry legally.
April 25, 2007, 04:53 PM
Plan and simple....RECIPROCITY! I am a resident of MN who will often frequent SD and ND. For the price and ease of legally being able to carry in these three states the Utah permit is best fit. Not to mention all the other states you get to use it in.
I would be you would find similiar increases in New Hampshire's permit #'s issued since they have multi-state reciprocity too.
April 25, 2007, 05:05 PM
I live in GA. I have a GA permit. I also have a UT permit to 'fill in the gaps' that GA's reciprocity agreements leave. My options were FL, which is expensive and annoying to get and expensive to renew, or UT which has a reasonable cost and is inexpensively renewed, yet has a list of reciprocal states similar to FL.
I am also a UT instructor. I don't do it as a mainline business, but I was able to get certified so I did.
April 25, 2007, 05:05 PM
Utah CCW and I am in Colorado.
April 25, 2007, 05:12 PM
I am currently going to law school in Philadelphia, and I plan in the next few months to apply for a UT permit, because of the greater reciprocity it comes with compared to Pennsylvania's (my Pennsylvania permit is recognized by only 15 other states), and because I'd like to get the required training anyhow, so I'd like to get full advantage of what that will allow. (Pennsylvania has no training requirement, and though I shoot when I can at both public and private ranges, more training can only be a good idea.)
And when I finish law school, a Utah permit is good in all but one (Nevada) of the nine states I'm considering as long-term homes, whereas my PA resident permit will be meaningless then.
(And besides, a Utah permit would make me even happier to visit Salt Lake City, one of the most beautiful cities in the United States -- the public library alone is worth visiting for!)
timothy (Timothy Lord )
Happy to be quoted or to clarify / expand answers; my email is email@example.com, where firstname and lastname are my own ;)
April 25, 2007, 05:21 PM
I got one because it is the only permit recognized in all of the states I visit, outside of California.
April 25, 2007, 05:26 PM
Two state CCWs are very popular across the country: Utah and Florida. At last count, Florida had issued more than 30,000 licenses to non-residents (I have one). The principal reason for the popularity is the fact that both are honored by 30 or more additional states.
The plus side of the Florida license is that they accept a wide variety of training courses, including any NRA-approved handgun course or a military discharge certificate (DD-214) that reflects handgun training. The down side is the cost: $117 for five years.
Utah requires a unique, Utah-approved course (which is offered in several states and in Canada -- listed on the BCI web site), but runs half the cost.
For the traveler, both are considered the "never leave home without" card.
Exec Dir, CCRKBA
April 25, 2007, 06:02 PM
I work at a gun store in Tooele. Although we've always heard from a good number of people who are interested in concealed carry permits, we had a big jump after the Trolley Square shooting. It diminished very little before the VT shooting, and interest is high again. Probably 1 out of every 2 customers that come in ask me about the concealed carry permit.
Yes, I have my CFP. Since I live here, an answer to the "why do you have a Utah permit" question is probably not necessary. However, it does please me to know that my permit is honored in a majority of the other states. I've debated getting the FL permit to cover the gaps that the UT permit leaves open, but I can't currently justify the cost. As big a pain as getting the UT permit is, getting the FL one is much worse.
30 cal slob
April 25, 2007, 06:45 PM
Yeesh. FL is nothing compared to other states ... come on, you've probably already taken a course, all you need is fingerprints, photos, and a notary.
As an outsider looking in ... UT was kind of a pain b/c i couldn't find a UT approved instructor nearby (and I had to shell out $100 for it even though I've already taken 3 basic NRA safety courses AND LFI-1).
I mean, it's not like Massachusetts where you (as a non-resident) have to renew EVERY YEAR and pay $100 a pop :barf:
April 25, 2007, 07:45 PM
That's why I applied
April 25, 2007, 08:23 PM
Our Texas CHL is recognized by a lot of states but it aint cheap. First time is $140.00 plus the price of the training and testing (usually about $120.00). After that the renewal is $70.00 plus training and testing (usually about $80.00). The license is good for 5 years.
I have had mine since they passed the law in 1996. It's been good just about everywhere I have been except **********.
April 25, 2007, 08:37 PM
I am a California Resident. I frequent Utah many times throughout the year either to ski in and around Salt Lake City or camping in your beautiful Bryce & Zion parks. Not to mention I have freinds in St George and can get to Brian Head from Vegas.
FL and UT permits are becoming increasingly sought after because of the number of states that honor them. Also because California has no reciprocity with other states. In Los Angeles County It's nearly impossibel to get a permit unless you're a large political donor or Law Enforcement. Even good cause is denied by sheriff Bacca. But Chief Bratton can get one even though he is not qualified.
I recieved my Utah and Florida permist this year and look forward to spending time in both your beautiful states.
April 25, 2007, 10:16 PM
I have visited your lovely state, and made good use of the Mormon geneological library in SLC. I enjoyed reading your paper while I was there.
IIRC, the Univ of Utah administration got it's panties all in a wad over the state legislature's refusal to allow public universities in Utah to prohibit concealed weapons on campus. Seems the good profs there were worried that they would be shunned, or worse, laughingstocks at academic meetings because students and faculty could legally carry concealed weapons.
Why don't you contrast what happened at Virginia Tech with what might have happened had the incident occurred at the University of Utah? You could use the Trolley Square incident as an alternative possible outcome that might have left considerably less than 32 victims dead!
Be sure to post your article here when it's published! And welcome -- stick around and get to know the culture. :)
April 25, 2007, 11:25 PM
I got my FL permit because I reside in a "liberal" state where carry permits aren't issued to law-abiding peasants such as myself. (NJ, in case you're interested)
While the permit is useless in NJ, I travel frequently to states where, unlike NJ and other such bastions of socialism, citizens are entrusted with the right to safely bear arms. A carry permit that is recognized in these states is a valuable enough asset to merit the investment of Florida's $117 fee.
It takes no great amount of imagination or historical research to be cognizant of the threats a family with small children faces on the highway, far from home. Car breaks down and you're stuck on the side of the road, hopefully with working cellphone service to call for help...but still immobilized nonetheless. Late-night stops for fuel or restrooms have led to carjackings and worse for others.
I'm greatly appreciative of Utah and Florida making the effort to extend their carry permit process beyond their borders. Sadly, it's the only way those of us in "liberal" Northeastern states have the opportunity to gain access to the right to defend ourselves and our families when we're away from home.
April 26, 2007, 08:43 AM
We greatly appreciate Utah
April 26, 2007, 09:35 AM
About a third of all permits here go to people from out of state.
April 26, 2007, 11:14 AM
The basic reason for the popularity of the Utah permit is as others have noted: many state recognize the Utah permit so it makes a good choice in a non-resident permit for people who travel or live in states that don't issue permits.
I lived in Utah 1996-2001 and I still maintain my Utah permit (now as a non-resident) because it's recognized in more states than is the permit I hold from my home state.
Not all states will honor a non-resident permit, but many do and the Utah permit is a good one to have.
April 26, 2007, 12:32 PM
:p Utah was the hardest for me to get I’m from NJ and it was not easy to find someone authorized to give the training that was required The reason that I wanted it was because of the states it covers , More west coast coverage
April 26, 2007, 02:54 PM
I'm a Las Vegas resident and frequently travel to both Utah and Arizona. I Have 3 CCW permits (NV, UT, AZ) mainly because I don't trust the reciprocity deals. Laws can change and agreements can end, but in Utah, Arizona and Nevada, I can carry with full confidence because of my permits.
People who bother to get permits (resident and non-resident) are going WAY out of their way to make certain they are in full compliance with the law. For every permit they get, they are submitting themselves to a criminal background check. They are putting their fingerprints and photographs into multiple law enforcement databases. They are taking instructional courses to educate themselves on concealed carry law. They are demonstrating proficiency in firearm use.
If you know someone who has a valid CCW permit, you can rest assured that someone ISN'T a convicted felon and hasn't been convicted of any form of violent assault.
April 26, 2007, 03:37 PM
One word: Reciprocity
April 26, 2007, 08:22 PM
Here's another reason that no one (that I noticed anyway) has mentioned. The Utah non-resident permit can be acquired totally by mail, once the applicant has found a Utah approved instructor. Most other states require the applicant to apply in that state.
I live in Oregon, and I can either spend all day going up to Washington, then finding a local cop shop, and going through the procedures; or I can find a local approved instructor, and take the Utah course evenings or weekends here. Washington honors the Utah permit (which is also cheaper than Washington's) and the Utah permit, is honored in more places.
But to answer the OP's question, the main reason I was considering the Utah non-resident permit was the ability to get it without having to leave my hometown.
April 26, 2007, 10:26 PM
Some states (i.e., Michigan and Florida, and maybe Colorado soon) do not honor the Utah permit if it has been issued to a non-resident of Utah. Nevertheless, for now, my Utah permit gives me the right to defend myself in about 27+/- states as of my last count. Since I live in one of the 2 states that have no CC laws, it allows me to exercise my constitutional rights when I travel out of my home state. Does anyone think that a person who wants to use a weapon to perpetrate a crime would go through the process? Not likely, they would just go out and try to obtain (relatively easily) what they want, be it a gun, drugs, sex or alcohol (which we already have experience in allowing, outlawing, and finding out it didn't work). Many more people die from driving while under the influence than from being exposed to the business end of a firearm. Maybe we should outlaw automobiles and trucks?
April 26, 2007, 10:43 PM
Mike - Can you post links to the state regs on that?
I know that some states will not recognize an out of state permit held by an in-state resident. (they figure a resident should have gotten one locally) I've not heard of a state caring what state a non-resident person had a permit from.
April 26, 2007, 10:50 PM
Michigan (MI), South Carolina (SC), New Hampshire (NH), Florida (FL), Kansas (KS) and West Virginia (WV) only honor permits from residents of the issuing states.
You beat me to the thread!
April 26, 2007, 10:56 PM
I live on the East Coast and got it because it is recognized in so many states, and because it is economical. It's a much better deal than Florida.
April 28, 2007, 01:52 PM
Here is Lee's article from today's paper:
Armed and ready? About 1 in 40 Utahns packs a concealed weapon
Copyright 2007 Deseret Morning News
By Lee Davidson and Bob Bernick Jr.
Deseret Morning News
If you are ever in a room with 40 or so other Utahns — say at a theater, restaurant or back-to-school night — odds are that at least one person there has a concealed weapon permit and could be legally packing a loaded handgun.
Then again, the odds are double that in rural Garfield County, where one of every 19 residents has such a permit.
The popularity of Utah concealed gun permits has increased significantly, up 65 percent, among the state's residents since 2001. Now, nearly 60,000 Utahns hold one, which is roughly equivalent to the population of either Taylorsville or Tooele County.
But what is astounding is how popularity has quintupled since 2001 among nonresidents. About a third of all Utah permits are now held by people who do not live in the state.
They like to obtain Utah's document because the permits are valid in more states than those from just about anywhere else, they tend to be cheaper, Utah shields the anonymity of permit holders, and permits are relatively easy to obtain.
Those findings emerge from a Deseret Morning News analysis of data from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, which issues the permits and conducts criminal background checks on applicants.
The analysis found that statewide, 59,814 Utahns, or 2.3 percent of the population, now have concealed weapons permits — about one of every 43 people. That is up by 65 percent since 2001, when just 36,327 residents had permits.
The newspaper's analysis found that permits are more widespread in some areas than others.
They are most popular in rural Garfield County, where one of every 19 residents has a permit and could be "strapped" — or carrying a gun — as the modern lingo goes.
Garfield County Commission Chairman Maloy Dodds said he was a bit surprised that his county has the highest percentage — but said he "would have guessed it would be more" than "only" 5.3 percent of the population.
Dodds personally doesn't have a concealed weapon permit. "But I know one of the other commissioners does. (Garfield County residents) are comfortable with guns. We have them in our trucks, in our homes. Most of us hunt."
Should any criminals come into the county seeking mischief, "they'd find a lot of folks with guns," Dodds said.
On the other extreme, Cache County has the fewest concealed gun permits per resident, about one for every 56 residents.
Rural counties tend to have far more permits per resident than urban areas. In fact, the urban Wasatch Front counties of Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah rank respectively as numbers 21, 24, 26 and 27 among Utah's 29 counties for permits per resident.
Deseret Morning News graphic
Still, more than 70 percent of all permits issued to Utahns are for those heavily populated Wasatch Front counties. Salt Lake County had the most: 20,995. That's about the same as the population of the city of South Salt Lake.
As popular as the Utah permits are among residents, they are becoming ever more favored among residents of other states. Analysis shows that 29 percent of the total current 84,849 Utah permits are held by non-Utahns.
Nonresidents hold 24,955 Utah permits, a fivefold increase since 2001, when they held 4,036.
New applications, from residents and nonresidents, also have spiraled upward from about 7,400 in 2002 to what Sgt. Jeff Nigbur, spokesman for the Bureau of Criminal Identification, said is expected to be 25,000 to 30,000 this year.
He said the bureau is struggling to keep up with them and the required background checks. Currently, he said, the bureau has a backlog of about 6,000 applications, and it is taking about three months to process applications.
He notes that by law, applications are supposed to be processed in 60 days, but the swamped bureau is unable to meet that right now.
The fear level
Why are Utah gun permits so popular among residents and nonresidents alike, and is that good or bad? Both people who love or hate guns have plenty of opinions.
With the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq war and the Columbine, Trolley Square and Virginia Tech shootings, "The fear level goes up so high that people want a gun so they can shoot the bad guy before he shoots them," says Britt Minshall, a Baltimore psychologist who was a police officer for 16 years near Philadelphia.
"But rank-and-file people without deep handgun training have no business having a gun on their person, and I include myself in that. They say it is for protection, but the bad guy usually will take their gun, shoot them, and then sell their gun for a lot of money on the black market," he said, noting he advocates more gun control.
Similarly, Steve Gunn, a board member for Utahns Against Gun Violence, says the rise in concealed-gun permits is bad, "especially if all these people are carrying their guns on a regular basis." He said domestic murders, suicides and all kinds of gun deaths rise as the number of guns available to citizens rises.
"In a general proposition, proliferation of handguns is unhealthy to our society," Gunn says.
Someone with opposite views, Kevin Michalowski, associate editor of Gun Digest The Magazine, says popularity is rising among Utahns because its residents are "rational people who are strongly independent. The residents and the government officials apparently understand that restrictions on the law-abiding only serve to help criminals."
Showing support for that view is that after the Trolley Square shootings in February, a pro-gun rights advocate in the 104-member Utah Legislature put on the Web close-up pictures of four concealed handguns worn by permitted members of the Legislature — without, of course, naming the "strapped" lawmakers.
Wes Dahl, who works at a gun store in Tooele, says, "Although we've always heard from a good number of people who are interested in concealed carry permits, we had a big jump after the Trolley Square shooting. It diminished very little before the (Virginia Tech) shooting, and interest is high again. Probably one of every two customers who come in ask me about the concealed carry permit."
The Utah bargain
Out-of-staters also list many reasons why they seek Utah permits.
Chief among them is that permits from Utah and Florida are recognized by more states than any other permits — in 30 or more states each, says Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
He says that for the gun-toting traveler, "Both are considered the 'never leave home without' card," so gun carriers can travel legally in many states without the need to obtain permits in each of them.
Because of the popularity of the Utah permit, Utah has licensed instructors who live in 44 different states and two Canadian provinces to teach a specialized class required for a Utah permit.
The SafeArms Academy, which advertises online to teach Utah's course in many states, offers regular classes, for example, in St. Louis, Mo. Why? It says that while Missouri law allows its counties to issue concealed weapons permits, St. Louis County has never done so. But if a St. Louis resident obtains a Utah permit, Missouri law recognizes it as valid anywhere in that state.
SafeArms Academy also advertises other reasons for out-of-staters to get a Utah permit:
• It is often cheaper than permits in their home states, and often just as valid.
• While many states consider names of permit holders to be public, Utah will not release them.
• And Utah's pistol course requires only three hours, while the National Rifle Association course required by many states takes 10 hours.
Voices from the Web
The Deseret Morning News posted an inquiry on an online discussion board of gun enthusiasts, TheHighRoad.org, asking why participants think Utah's permit is popular. Most responses were anonymous, but they offered interesting opinions.
One said, "I am a Salt Lake City resident who just last month completed my CWP class and applied for a permit.... The Trolley Square shootings helped me decide to finally do it. The shootings also made it easier for my wife to understand why I'd want to get a permit."
One who said he is a Utah pistol class instructor said, "Trolley Square spurred a lot of folks who had been sitting on the fence about the issue. I'm sure that Virginia Tech will also have a similar effect, if not even greater." He added, "For anyone that travels much, the Utah permit is great. I can drive from here to Florida and not have to take my gun off."
Several wrote that they like how Utah's permit is recognized by 30 other states. One wrote, "I am a resident of Minnesota who will often frequent South Dakota and North Dakota. For the price and ease of legally being able to carry in these three states, the Utah permit is the best fit."
One from New Jersey said that the Utah permit he holds "is the only way those of us in 'liberal' Northeastern states have the opportunity to gain access to the right to defend ourselves and our families when we're away from home."
Another from Massachusetts said of gun enthusiasts, "We greatly appreciate Utah."
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April 28, 2007, 11:31 PM
Wow. Very fair article. Good work.
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