“Gun enthusiasts are trying to pack a legislative committee meeting Thursday to protest a recent fee increase for concealed firearms permits in Utah.
The Utah Shooting Sports Council and National Rifle Association are mobilizing supporters to speak against the $20 increase at the Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting at the state Capitol. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in Room 445.
The groups contend the state circumvented the Legislature to raise the cost.
“I don’t think this Legislature nor the people of Utah expect the bureaucracy to do an end run around their Legislature and their elected representatives,” said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the shooting sports council.
The group, he said, doesn’t oppose a fee increase, but the state hasn’t justified $20 or the process for raising it.
The change increased the concealed carry application fee to $57 for Utah residents and $67 for nonresidents, including $12 for an FBI background check. The Utah Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Identification processes the applications.
But DPS spokeswoman Marissa Cote said the bureau has not raised the concealed carry permit fee. Rather, she said it’s following a law the Utah Legislature passed in 2015 allowing it to charge $20 for a fingerprint background check through the Western Identification Network.
For years, teachers, attorneys, real estate agents and others who require a background check for their professional licenses have paid the $20 fee, Cote said. They have essentially subsidized the automated fingerprint identification system program for conceal carry applicants, 70 percent of whom live out of state, she said. Utah’s permit is recognized in 38 states.
Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires said the agency wants to be consistent for all those in the state who need a background check.”