SALT LAKE CITY — A report from a national publication, Mother Jones, highlights just how easy it is to get a Utah concealed weapons permit.
The writer, Tim Murphy, said Utah permits have become a cottage industry in some far-off states. The report said Maryland alone has 33 Utah-certified concealed weapons permit instructors.
The report calls Utah's permit a "de facto national ID for handgun owners" because it is accepted in 32 states.
The Mother Jones report said as of June, 60 percent of Utah permits belonged to non-residents.
Murphy offers a first-hand perspective. A sub-headline states, "I was clueless, hung over, and totally worthless with a firearm. Four hours later, I was officially qualified to pack heat."
He explains how he worked to obtain a Utah permit by attending a course and points out he never had to fire a gun.
The issue has drawn the ire of gun control activists for some time.
Gary Sackett of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah said, "I think it's ludicrous that somebody from a long distance can get a concealed weapons permit by simply spending a few hours in some back room someplace, never having fired a weapon."
But pro-gun groups cast Utah's situation in a different light.
"Obviously to someone from New York, our permit would look incredibly easy to get and very cheap," said Charles Hardy of Gun Owner of Utah. "But bear in mind you're talking about someone from a state where they still have discriminatory permits."
He said to get a permit in those states, citizens must convince a government official they deserve one and then take a class.