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Utah gov. concerned about gun permit laws

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he doesn't want his state to be a national clearinghouse for concealed weapons permits.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he doesn't want his state to be a national clearinghouse for concealed weapons permits.

In the fiscal year that ended in June, just over 50 percent of the state's concealed weapons applicants were from outside Utah. Utah's permit is considered one of the most valuable in the country because it allows the holder to carry a hidden weapon in nearly three dozen states.

Herbert told reporters Thursday during a taping of his monthly news conference for public television station KUED that he's concerned about the state's ability to track permit holders outside of Utah. The event will be broadcast Friday night.

"I think we need to protect the Second Amendment, that's for sure, and Utah ought to stand tall in that regard," said Herbert, a Republican. "That being said, I don't want to be a wholesale clearinghouse for anybody who comes to Utah that we don't have the ability to kind of track ... that they then go some place else outside of our borders and conduct theirselves inappropriately."

As of Sept. 1, there were about 196,000 people with Utah permits, according to state records. About 116,000 of those were Utah residents.

In Utah, law enforcement officials continually check criminal records against a list of permit holders, but they don't have the ability to do the same thing with every other state.

Most states that issue concealed weapon permits also allow people to carry hidden guns if they have a permit from another state with similar requirements to obtain a permit.

Among other things, Utah permit holders must be 21 years old, complete a firearms course, and have no convictions for felonies, violent crimes, or offenses involving drugs, alcohol or domestic violence.

Herbert said he would support tighter controls on concealed weapons permits, but he didn't specify what those controls might be.

"I'm not much into reciprocity, whether it's real estate licenses or gun licenses. I think Utah needs to find out what we think is important for Second Amendment issues and do what we think is right as a state right here in Utah. Let others do the same," he said.

Former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Scott Duncan had advocated to stop issuing permits to nonresidents, but the conservative-dominated Legislature rebuffed his attempts. Duncan resigned earlier this year for health and personal reasons.

Another effort — to end Utah's practice of certifying instructors who teach Utah's concealed weapons permit courses outside the state — was dropped in the legislative session that ended in March after opposition from the National Rifle Association.