In its 11 years on the books, Utah’s concealed-weapon law has become the closest thing to a national concealed-carry permit, with six of every 10 permits this year going to out-of-state residents, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. A wave of nonresident applicants since January has state Bureau of Criminal Identification officials overwhelmed and concerned that Utah taxpayers are subsidizing nonresidents’ gun permits. The huge numbers of out-of-state applicants are taking resources from other important public safety duties – particularly doing criminal background checks on school employees.
“Utah’s is the de facto national concealed-carry permit,” says Ed McConkie, chief of BCI. Of more than 62,000 permits issued from 1995 to 2005, 19,000 have gone to nonresidents. Applying for Utah’s permit requires a gun-safety class, fingerprinting, a criminal background check, and $59. An applicant does not have to be a Utah resident – or even have set foot in the state – to get a permit. Utah has licensed instructors in 42 other states and Canada to remotely train applicants for its permit. Most out-of-state applicants want to carry weapons in the more than 30 states that recognize Utah’s permit. Many nonresident applicants apply for Utah permits because their own state’s regulations are more stringent or the fees are higher. Utah’s reciprocity allows them to carry a concealed handgun on their own turf.