Applications for concealed gun permits slow

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- State crime bureau officials says the number of applications for Utah's concealed weapons permits appears to be slowing down.

The Utah Bureau of Criminal of Identification now projects it will field 71,259 applications by the end of the year. The projection is based on application activity since January.

Last year the state processed 74,925 applications. Five years ago, Utah saw just 10,767 applications.

Fewer people in Utah are applying. I don't know why that is. I don't know if it's because everybody already has one.

–Lt. Doug Anderson

"Fewer people in Utah are applying," said Lt. Doug Anderson, of BCI. "I don't know why that is. I don't know if it's because everybody already has one."

Out-of-staters continue to covet the permit, which is recognized in 32 states and are good for five years. Applicants do not need to travel to Utah to secure a permit, but must take a course from a Utah-certified instructor.

More than 250,000 people have sought Utah permits since the state started issuing them in 1994.

Anderson is set to report state data on the concealed weapons permits to a committee of state lawmakers on Wednesday.

State data shows that during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 33,043 out-of-staters were issued Utah permits. The number is up from 35,962 in the previous fiscal year. It increases the one-year ratio of permits issues to 72 percent nonresident and 28 percent resident. Historically the split was roughly 50-50.

Clark Aposhian, of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said it could be that most Utahns who want a permit now have one. He said he expects out-of-state permit numbers to continue to grow.

"Other states are very restrictive," Aposhian said. "Some of their hoops are insurmountable."

The relative ease and low cost -- $65.25 -- of getting a Utah permit perplex Steve Gunn, a board member for the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah. Gunn would like to see tougher permitting requirements, but also said the state should charge nonresidents higher fees.

"Why not make this a cost center if the Legislature is determined to arm America with concealed weapons?" he said. "Why not make some money off of it?"

State Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, has proposed creating a second tier of permits allowing people to get the proficiency training if they want.

Aposhian opposes the proposal and said firing range training won't improve safety because it can't approximate real-life emergencies.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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