September 29, 2022 3:58 am
Utah gun permit applications down after requirement dropped

Utah gun permit applications down after requirement dropped

SALT LAKING CITY (AP). Aaron Turner, a certified firearms instructor, has no one to instruct.

His courses on gun safety, shooting basics, and suicide prevention for concealed carry permit holders were well-received, according to the Desert News . Turner’s classes are now non-existent after Utah repealed the May 5 state-issued permit law. This means that thousands of Utah gun owners are now legally allowed to carry a firearm without having to wear a jacket or shirt.

“My fear? People don’t realize what they don’t know. They don’t have the time to do serious research. Turner stated that the greatest challenge in my classes was to discredit all the preconceived notions and rumors people brought into the classroom.

Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification numbers from the year show what Turner sees — or doesn’t see — in his classroom. The concealed carry permit program is overseen by BCI.

While the drop in Utahns applying for concealed carry permits was not unexpected, the impact of the “constitutional carry law” has been quite dramatic. The new law could also lead to a sharp drop in revenue from permit fees that is earmarked for suicide prevention efforts in the state.

Instate applicants for Utah permits have declined steadily from a peak of 4 ,819 per month to only 765 last September. Since June, less than 780 Utahns have applied for a license.

” I’m certain it’s related the law. Greg Willmore, director of BCI, stated that he couldn’t think of any other reason. “But at the same time we expected that.”

The Utah Legislature earlier this year passed a bill to drop the permit requirement for Utahns to carry a concealed firearm for people age 21 and older. HB60 sailed through the Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate. Governor Spencer Cox signed the bill quickly — something his predecessor refused to do when similar legislation was passed.

Twenty states no longer require permits for open or concealed firearms carry.

Although the Utah law doesn’t eliminate the state’s concealed firearms permit system, it removes the incentive to get a license and to take the firearms safety class including a suicide prevention module. The application fee for a permit is $53. 25 for Utah residents and $63. 25 for nonresidents.

Before the law was implemented, people who wanted to carry concealed guns had to pass a criminal background check. They also had to attend a training course with a state-certified instructor. However, the class does not require firearm proficiency or firing a gun.

Gun buyers in Utah have to go through a criminal background check. However, the elimination of the concealed carry permit does not require a second background check.

Proponents claimed that even though permit applications may be delayed, gun owners would still attend gun courses on their own. This doesn’t seem to be true, although it is possible to measure it through the concealed carry permit program. I have been wondering if these shootings lately could be due to poor education or being ego driven,” Turner stated.

Turner charged $60 for the gun safety class, which included preparing the paperwork for the license. The class, which lasted five hours, covered gun safety, dry shooting, federal and state laws as well as de-escalation techniques and use of force versus death. It also included preparing the paperwork for the license.

Most, if not all of his students thanked him for teaching them things they didn’t know.

Turner used to teach three classes of 20 students a week that were scheduled out at least a month in advance. In September, he had five students in his last class. After only two people had signed up, he cancelled the class. A course on gun laws was offered on his website for half the price, but there were no sign-ups. The classes are no longer possible to teach.

While gun owners may be looking to save money and buy a license instead of taking a class, Turner believes that there are other reasons.

” I think that we are naturally lazy and don’t need to do anything. “Human beings can be lazy.” They think they can cover up the gun and do what they want .”

He is concerned that someone carrying a concealed weapon might enter a school or college campus without a permit. He said that a law-abiding citizen could be charged with felony and all the social and personal consequences.

” It seems like such an eroding slope,” Turner stated.

Turner said that he had a full-time job and made some extra money teaching classes, but it wasn’t the reason why he did it. He stated that he enjoys helping to change the perception that gun-owners are evil.

“I feel lost,” he stated. “I got into this business because I firmly believe in the education portion.”

Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, who sponsored the new law, said there is always concern when a law impacts somebody’s business, but “I’m more of the constitutional right aspect of it.”

Brooks favors directing people to resources that provide gun safety training and persuading — not mandating — them to use them. He stated that he believes Utahns have learned how to handle firearms outside of concealed carry classes.

” I don’t believe it has to be that formalized. A weapon makes me feel safe. He said that he learned the basics from his brother and dad, who were avid hunters growing up. “I think there’s other avenues to teach gun safety, so only using the metric of concealed carry is sort of a false flag or not completely accurate, but not to be dismissed either.”

Turner said training outside of a class might involve a neighbor or friend taking a new gun owner to a shooting range.

“I believe that shooting at the range should be considered the end of training and not the beginning.” he stated. Utah has one of most sought-after concealed carry permits in America. The state regularly issues more permits to residents outside of the state than it does inside. However, the script was reversed in 2020..

With the spread of COVID-19, civil unrest and a presidential election stoking panic-buying, gun stores in Utah and across the country saw a surge in sales last year. This could explain why there was a high number of Utahns applying to conceal carry permits. The peak was 7 in July .

In fact, 56% of applicants last year were Utah residents, compared to 44% of out-of-state residents. Due to reciprocity, it’s often the opposite. Utah’s permit is one of the most coveted in the country because it is recognized in 37 states and out-of-state residents may obtain it without having to come to Utah.

However, 2021 has seen the law change even further. Utah gun owners now make up only 35% of new concealed carry applicants to date. This concerns Neca Allgood, a Syracuse resident, not only for the possible public safety implications but also because it could reduce money for suicide prevention.

The state plans to allocate just over $2million this year to Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to fund suicide prevention programs and education about safe gun storage. However, this number could decrease in the future.

Allgood is a certified suicide prevention instructor and worries that far fewer gun owners will be able to see the suicide prevention module. This module includes safe gun storage options. There is no training requirement.

“I wish there were more people who are educated about safe storage than we have.” Allgood is a volunteer leader for the Utah chapter Moms Demand Action, an advocacy organization affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety.

According to a Harvard T.H., half of Utah’s suicides are firearm-related. Report from Chan School of Public Health in 2018. The overwhelming majority of suicide attempts made with a gun are fatal.

The concealed carry permit requirement in Utah was the only way to train people. Now, residents can trust that gun owners will follow this training without being forced, Allgood stated.

” I’m certain that there are many Utahns who will educate themselves and become responsible gun owners. She said that not everyone will. Those who are uninformed and reckless gun owners have such a deadly tool at their disposal.

Allgood likens it to the state mandating a driver’s education course to obtain a driver’s license. She stated that she was unsure if people would feel comfortable with someone purchasing a car and driving it on the roads without any training.

Gun rights advocates often remind people that driving is a privilege and not a constitutional right.

“I admit that cars aren’t mentioned in the Constitution. Allgood stated that they hadn’t even been invented yet.

Willmore stated that a concealed firearm permit class does not make someone an expert decision-maker, marksman, or marksman overnight. However, it provides a foundation for firearms knowledge, handgun safety, and the law, particularly for new gun owners.

” Safety education and familiarity in firearms, as well as suicide prevention, are always good things,” he stated.

Brooks expressed concern about the loss of revenue that could be attributed to suicide awareness. He said, “But it’s so limiting to think that concealed carry is the only way we’re going solve this problem.”

There was resistance to changing concealed carry laws due to the possibility of decreasing funds. He wants to come up with innovative ways to raise gun safety and prevent suicide.

” We want to ensure that there are funds and that they are used wisely, he stated.

Brooks stated that he is preparing a bill to 2022 Utah Legislature in order to address the financial aspects and ensure the survival of the concealed carry permit program. He said he would not rule out raising permit fees but that he wanted to keep all options open.