Utah lawmakers need to take a hard look at changing a law that allows the State's Department of Public Safety to issue concealed weapon permits to out-of-state residents.
Utah, it seems, has become the permit-issuer of choice for thousands of hand-gun owners across the nation. This year, Utah is projected to issue some 40,000 permits. That will be a 143-percent increase over last year and a 257-percent increase over 2006. About half of all permits are issued to people who don't reside in Utah. They apply here, it seems, because lawmakers have made the process efficient and inexpensive.
The person who oversees the issuance of permits for the Department of Public Safety recently told a legislative committee that the program "is becoming unmanageable." While the department does a good job of monitoring concealed carry holders in Utah, Richard Townsend said it is "increasingly difficult" to keep tabs on out-of-state permit holders and the 650 individuals in other states who are authorized under Utah statute to teach firearms safety.
It begs a couple of simple questions: why is the state of Utah even in the business of arming the nation? How does it benefit the people of Utah?
Without solid, non-ideological answers to those questions, it would be best to stop issuing permits to out-of-state applicants.