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Robert can wax prophetically about the virtues of pistol-packing, but traveling interstate with your pistola ranks right up there with syphilis. It will make you yearn for Alexander Hamilton to reincarnate and deem all of the power of licensing to the federal government. But alas, we have to put up with restrictive state covenants that make it darn near impossible to keep up with all the local laws and licensing bureaus. Luckily, the state of Utah has reciprocity with an ever-changing 33 states.  This makes it the most sought-after CCW license to obtain . . .

Simple math tells us that it’s easier to list the states that don’t recognize Utah’s permit than those who do. No surprises here.

The supposed “scam” part of the program: most of the states that recognize Utah’s concealed carry permit have more stringent qualification procedures than the Beehive State. For example, Utah doesn’t require any actual firing of firearms training or shooting qualification tests. A four-hour course and you’re good to stow.

I recently took the Utah concealed carry course in New York. In terms of handling of firearms and the legal issues surrounding armed self-defense, it’s all boilerplate stuff. This is a semi, this is a revolver, the bullets go here, your muzzle doesn’t go there. Don’t shoot until Donny Osmond gives you the all clear—I mean, don’t shoot unless you and/or an innocent third party are in imminent danger of death or dismemberment.

I picked up a few useful tidbits. For example, Utah law says it is OK to fire when mayhem ensues. The 45th state defines “mayhem” as when sword-wielding pirates attack a social hall with the purpose of willfully and unlawfully crippling or mutilating another human being. Cool shit.

Another interesting tidbit: in Utah, it’s OK to pull the trigger in a carjacking if the carjacker is forcefully trying to enter the vehicle. Gently rapping on the window? Not so much. In New York City, you have to carry the pistol and ammo in a locked briefcase in the trunk—unless you have a City-issued concealed carry permit. Which are harder to get than a bris in Daggett County (UT).

I asked the instructor how he came to be registered with the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. Teach’s real job is armed security guard training. The Utah concealed carry permit roadshow added something else to his repertoire (like cash). He had to fly into Salt Lake City and take the training in state, but now can do it on the road whenever there is an audience willing to pay his fee and the $62.50 to the State of Utah.

The next time one of these guys rolls into town (local gun clubs usually have the skinny), it’s not a bad way to spend four hours. You then get to carry a concealed weapon in a whole bunch of states. You won’t know much about drawing and firing said weapon, un less you already do. Common sense suggests you’ll get that training elsewhere. Right?

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Brett Solomon got his first taste of the magazine world covering car electronics for CarSound & Performance Magazine. He landed the job by being noticed for designing high-end car audio systems. Which was fine by him because there was no way he was going to pass the third level of calculus toward an electrical engineering degree at University of Delaware. Not with those DuPont scholars around campus, he’ll take Journalism over Engineering, thank you very much. He has since written for a number of publications (think in-flight journalism) that lack the chutzpah of Robert Farago, and having all of those milquetoast reviews pent up in his system now allows his pen to spit fire. We’ll, he is just not that mean but happy to tell the truth…and the truth is most firearms are fun!


  1. Florida is also a good licensing jurisdiction. The list of reciprocal states is about as lengthy as Utah's, and the NRA safety course taken anywhere will satisfy Florida's training requirement. On top of which, I might actually go to Florida, which I understand is somewhat of a tourist destination. While I'm sure that Utah has many natural splendors, I prefer the natural splendors that I've seen in bikinis along South Beach. Okay, so maybe they're not all that natural, but who cares?

  2. Brett: You need to add Colorado to that list. Your Utah permit is no good in Colorado unless you are a Utah resident and have an ID to prove it.

    Don’t take my word for it, go straight to the source, Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-213 (1)(b).

    You also need to check other state’s reciprocity laws to see if they apply to out-of-state permit holders (i.e., permit holders who are not residence of the same state that issued the permit.) In many states (besides Colorado) they don’t. This is particularly true if you reside in a state that does issue a CCW permit but does so under more restrictive rules. For obvious reasons, the state doesn’t like the idea of its citzens using another states laws to circumvent their own state’s laws.

  3. Remember that the list of "We Don't Recognize No Stinkin' Utah Permits" states above is not exclusive! Some states (Colorado comes to mind) recognize Utah permits, but only in the hands of Utah residents.

  4. The whole issue of requiring training is often debated. I am a huge advocate of getting as much training as possible. Even advanced instructors, who are honest, will say that they still need to practice regularly and a lot to maintain the highest level of proficiency. But for licensing it's not as black and white as requiring training or not. Simply taking an NRA class with some range time does not transform a newbie into a safety expert. But where do you draw the line? Should there be firearms training classes similar to Driver's Education classes? Is firearms training even constitutionally provided for? I'd rather get my training on my own. Personally I like the govt to stay out of the process as much as possible. That includes licensing at all.

    • I actually took a course in MD. for my UT & FL CWP. It included safty used several types of guns, loading and unloading. Covered laws, transportation ect. Plus we went out to shoot at the range. As a vet I found it interesting even though I knew how to break down all of the semi autos. He even went over stance’s, proper grip ect. And he still recommend that everyone take a safty course and go to the range often. In total he spent almost 6-7 hours with the group. I guess as a DC detective he was more interested in teaching than just collecting the money, as a vet I was surprised and learned new things.

  5. In 2007, the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act" was introduced in the US Senate and House. The proposal would have given "full faith and credit" status to handgun licenses, meaning that a license granted in any state would be valid in all, just like a driver's license. The proposal would have created a set of national standards, just as a set of national standards apply to licensing drivers. The proposal went to the Senate floor under a deal requiring a supermajority of 60 votes for passage. It received 58.

  6. Hi Fellas,
    Martin: thanks for the heads-up on Colorado. That is why I wrote 'ever-changing,' especially since the Arizona reneg of the Utah CCW licenses.
    Ralph: Florida is also a good option. In fact, our course instructor included the Florida application which will accept the Utah course training certificate instead of the NRA basic class! The only downside is an extra $120.

    This class rolled into town unbeknownced to me until Thursday, so I did not do all of my homework on reciprocity (bad journalist!). But since the course was available I thought it was not a bad item to have. It always makes me wonder how Plaxico Burress would have faired if his Florida CCW was current and not expired in NYC…

    • Wisconsin now recognizes Utah so add one more in the plus category. As a Utah Instructor I require my students to already be familiar with handguns AND I give an “after the course, course” which goes into tactics, low light/night shooting and a host of scenarios. My course goes way beyond what is required simply because I believe students need to know. By the way, as of this writing, 9/12, the fee for the permit is $51.

  7. As a Utah Concealed Firearms Instructor I would like to clear a few misunderstandings about the Utah permit. After May 10, 2011, any out of state person will need a permit from their home state to get a Utah permit. Utah does not require a live fire exercise, but myself, as well as many other Utah instructors require it in our training forms that we have to send into BCI, I just do not feel comfortable signing my name with out seeing my applicants safely loading and unloading a firearm they are going to use for self protection. This is just a small part of firearm safety and a lot more training is in need. I am 56 years old and still in the learning process for safe handing of a tool that has the power of life and death. I served in the U.S. Army and was a Colorado Correctional Officer, and had my Utah Concealed Permit for over 20 years and have never had to pull my firearm. I still keep up on training weekly, especially my brain, This is where safety starts, You can read a lot of news about accidental discharges, 99 percent is negligence and not accident. All because someone did not not follow gun safety rules.

    • (Chuckling) We don’t call them AD’s anymore and rightly so. They are ND’s, negligent discharges. For my brother and sister instructors let’s start telling it like it is.

  8. As a Utah instructor based in Colorado, I get a lot of demand for this license for folks who travel to states that Colorado does not have reciprocity. It is also a state issued license, compared to Colorado, which is a state license but issued at the county level, and more readily identified and accepted by law enforcement in other states.

  9. Hello I am a S.C. Cwp instructor and would like to know more info about becoming a Utah instructor. Please let me know what all this in tales thanks

  10. That’s odd Dave, especially knowing that they both issue out of state permits

  11. Dave, I think you must be confused about the 2013 change to the reciprocity agreement between PA and FL. PA still recognizes non-resident licenses from many states. PA does not recognize a non-resident license issued to a PA resident. In other words, a PA resident must have a PA license.

  12. What does the Utah CCW Instructor training consist of? I’m an NRA Pistol Instructor and RSO, I think I’d like to add Utah to my offerings but am curious about the training in SLC.
    Any feedback would be appreciated.

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