To get a Utah permit to carry a concealed gun, most applicants have to attend a class. That class must be taught by a certified instructor. But because Utah law allows people in other states to obtain Utah permits and teach the classes, most of the people with Utah permits are not Utahns, nor are most of the instructors. There's no way that Utah's three investigators can possibly assure that the 1,124 instructors in other states do more than rubber-stamp applications for Utah permits.
Unless Utah is willing to allow its permit to become a sham, it should limit the program to Utah residents. That goes for both permit holders and instructors.
Utah should not shoulder the regulatory responsibility for permits carried by people who live elsewhere.
There is a reason why Utah has allowed its concealed-carry permit to become, in effect, a national permit recognized in 34 other states. The goal is to spread the gospel of Second Amendment rights.
But that missionary zeal should not blind Utah legislators to their duty to make sure that the state's permits are conscientiously policed.
Today, that's not the case. Utah permits are hot export commodities. Almost 60 percent of the more than 380,000 Utah concealed weapons permits in circulation are held by people in other states. There are 1,622 instructors licensed to teach Utah's concealed-weapons courses 1,124 of them live outside of Utah.
Utah permits are popular because they are relatively cheap, easy to acquire and widely honored. The class is supposed to teach the basics of the safe handling and lawful use of firearms, but it doesn't even require that a person spend any time on a firing range. Someone can get a Utah permit literally without ever having fired a gun. That's a travesty, because it puts at greater risk both the carrier of the gun and the public at large.
In recognition of this, a couple of states Nevada and New Mexico have withdrawn their reciprocal recognition of Utah permits. Others could follow.
In response, Utah's Legislature required that people in other states that issue permits first get their own state's permit before obtaining one from Utah. But that still doesn't answer the basic criticism that the training requirements for Utah's permit are lax and that Utah has no credible way to police instructors in other states to make sure they aren't just rubber-stamping Utah applications.
The answer is simple enough. Utah permits for Utahns only, taught by Utahns.