Monday, June 23, 2008

Utah Concealed Carry Permits Debated

According to this report, Utah is on track to issue more than 40,000 permits this year, more than half of which will likely be non-resident permits (a Utah permit is desirable because it's recognized in many states). Contrast the Utah annual number with the 400 total permits issued in California's Los Angeles County (see here), which boasts a population of almost 10 million residents.

The non-resident permits are so popular, however, that the Utah Dept. of Public Safety is having a hard time administering the program. Predictably, the anti-gun crowd is afraid:
Gov. Jon Huntsman has recently asked the Department of Public safety to seek clarification of the law, but is it working? Is it a good idea? It was exclusively democrat lawmakers asking those questions at a legislative meeting. In particular: application of rigorous background checks for gun permit applicants. Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, said, "That same process that doesn't exist for any permit that leaves the state of Utah. And goes to a resident that isn't a resident of the state of Utah." [emphasis added]

Dee Rowland, with the Gun Violence Prevention Center, said, "Utah residents have a daily background check, I think that's good, I think until we can do that kind of thing with out-of-state permits, we are taking a great risk with other people's lives."

Defenders of gun owners' rights say Utah's law and permit system is working so well, in fact, that it's an example for other states. The majority of this committee hinted that future legislation on the issue is premature.

Clark Aposhian, with the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said, "We have yet to see a problem, let alone a pattern of problems with people being issued permits in other states. The ability to defend oneself should not stop at the border of a state."
Stories like this one highlight the need to elect pro-gun candidates not just at the federal level, but at the state and local level as well. Indeed, most of the gains in self-defense rights in the past 20 years have been at the state level, and with likely anti-gun, anti-self defense majorities in both houses of Congress and the executive branch next year, electing pro-gun state legislators is going to be even more important this November.

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