Utah just crossed a big threshold for a small state with just 2.86 million residents: More than a half million people now hold a Utah permit to carry concealed firearms — 521,914, to be exact, says the Salt Lake Tribune. So Utah has issued enough permits for about one of every five residents. That doesn't mean the state has become the Wild West, though. Sixty-two percent of permits have gone to people who live outside Utah.
Why? Utah's permit is recognized by more states than other permits, so many people want it to allow easier interstate travel with guns. In other words, with a twist to an old TV series title: Have (Utah) gun (permit), will travel. That may also be a key reason why the number of permits has skyrocketed by a record-setting 126,000 during the past year, and nearly quadrupled in the past five years. “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,” says Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.