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Mary Richards, KSL NewsradioAbout 1,000 people living in other countries have a Utah concealed carry permit good for just about anywhere in the U.S.
Most of these permit holders are business people from countries like Mongolia, Mexico and the Republic of Congo, and were carrying guns for protection in the U.S.
However, Department of Public Safety spokesman Jeff Nigbur says there isn't a way for investigators to check criminal backgrounds in those other countries the same way as here.
Due to these concerns, the DPS recently issued an emergency rule halting permits to non-residential foreigners.
Before Aug. 28, when the emergency rule went into effect, foreigners could get a concealed carry permit by just showing a hunting license to Utah authorities.
Only two other states, New Hampshire and Vermont, issue permits to non-U.S. residents.
The state Department of Public Safety's lawyer Rick Wyss told the Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee that Utah had become the state of choice for people who don't live in the United States but want to carry guns in this country.
Wyss says the backlog of applicants somewhat alarmed the department.
DPS is now working with lawmakers to try and clarify the law or change the law to fix the problem. "Can we actually prove that they have good character through background checks? That's the question," Nigbur said.
Utah permits issued before the emergency rule will remain good for five years.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)