Utah's concealed-weapon permit is currently recognized in 33 states, considerably more than any other state permit. As a result of its wide reciprocity, the permit may be obtained through classes held by Utah-certified instructors across the country, including states that often have more restrictive systems and training courses.
In recent months, Nevada and New Mexico ceased to recognize Utah CCW permits, citing, among other reasons, the Utah training course's failure to require hands-on shooting and lost revenue from its own residents opting for the Utah course rather that its in-state one.
Last week, the Utah state legislature gave final approval to a bill that would require out-of-state gun owners who seek a Utah concealed-weapon permit to first obtain a permit from their home states, if one is available.
Gov. Herbert has not yet indicated if he will sign the measure.
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, the bill's sponsor, said he introduced the measure to address the concerns of other states considering ending CCW permit reciprocity with Utah. Valentine said he understands states prefer to train and qualify their own residents for concealed-carry permits, and they should retain that option, if applicable.
Further, Sen. Valentine said his measure gives states control over their own residents, while ensuring Utahns' permits will be recognized more widely.
In the state of Texas, for example, from 2009 to 2010 Utah permits issued to Texans more than doubled, from 2,173 to 5,678. Further, a Utah permit requires only four hours course work and no hands-on firearms training, while Texas requires 10 hours, including firing a gun on a shooting range. The Utah training/permit fee is $65, compared to $140 in Texas.
Of the 66,371 concealed-carry permits Utah issued in 2010, more than 70 percent went to non-residents, according to Utah's Bureau of Criminal Identification. In 2010, Utah had certified 1,123 instructors for its concealed-carry permit courses, up from 926 at the end 2009, and from 825 in 2008.
Approximately 250,000 Americans currently hold a valid Utah Concealed Weapons Permit, a number that increased by nearly 40,000 last year.