This morning’s NY Times article Utah Gun Permits Popular With Out-of-Staters caught my eye. I have a old friend with the same name as the gentlemen applying for his Utah concealed carry permit. Frankly, the idea of getting a concealed carry permit from someplace I’ve never even visited leaves me shaking my head. [Farago notes that Huffington Post columnist and Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence chief Paul Helmke is also head-shaking, but probably for different reasons.] Meanwhile . . .
James Roe, a 64-year-old computer consultant from rural Pennsylvania, spent a recent Saturday in a Pittsburgh suburb learning about riflings, hangfires and powder charges. The gun safety class was for people seeking a concealed-firearm permit in Utah, some 1,500 miles away. Never mind that Mr. Roe has not been to Utah in 20 years and has no plans to visit anytime soon.
Like thousands of other gun owners who will most likely never set foot in Utah, Mr. Roe wants a permit there for one reason: It allows him to carry his semiautomatic .45-caliber pistol in 32 other states that recognize or have formal reciprocity with Utah’s gun regulations.
“I think that all states should be as broad based with reciprocity and as careful as the state of Utah is,” said Mr. Roe, who wants the option of taking his handgun with him when he visits his son in Ohio, both for protection and for target practice. (Ohio does not honor Pennsylvania’s firearm permit.)
For OH to honor UT instead of PA permits is awfully strange. Somehow I doubt that Baltimore is one of the jurisdictions that would honor a Utah carry permit.
But Utah’s permit program has its critics. Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, asserted that Utah’s policy was dangerous because many states were lax in submitting felony and mental health records to the federal database used for background checks.
“I think it’s absolutely shameful and ludicrously irresponsible to say that anybody anywhere who wants one of our concealed-carry permits, and thus will be able to carry legally in dozens of states, can just log on to our Web site and pay 60 bucks and that’s all she wrote,” Mr. Hamm said.
Supporters of Utah’s policy counter that the state’s 50-page curriculum on gun safety, and background checks that are updated every 24 hours, ensure that the system is safe.
Robert likes Brad’s idea of a nationally recognized concealed carry permit, which I must have missed. The advantage of a national carry license, national driver’s license, national dog license, etc. is that they remain valid even when we cross state lines, which many people who live in tri-state areas do all the time. The disadvantage is that the administering body may be distant and impersonal. It’s all in how you implement it.