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Thread: Out-of-state gun instructors may hurt Utah permit

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    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    sltrib.com/ci_11808834

    Out-of-state gun instructors may hurt Utah permit
    NRA veto? » Local pro-gun groups are unhappy with bill rewrite.

    By Sheena Mcfarland

    The Salt Lake Tribune


    Utah's concealed-weapons permit is heralded as the platinum card of permits, accepted in 33 other states. But it may be taking on some tarnish.

    Problems with out-of-state instructors rubber stamping permits or not properly teaching classes has raised the concern of some of those states, and Utah gun-rights advocates worry they will stop recognizing the permit.

    Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, originally drafted a bill that would eliminate all out-of-state instructors in Utah concealed-carry permit process. However, the National Rifle Association balked at taking such a drastic step, and persuaded Oda to rewrite the legislation.

    "We fear this bill is not going to be sufficient to clean up the problems and to make sure the widespread recognition of the Utah permit is protected," said Charles Hardy, policy director for the Gun Owners of Utah. "We would hope the NRA would step up a bit and help us weed out these bad instructors so we can address this problem, real or perceived."

    It is the first major public dispute in memory between the NRA and local gun-rights groups.

    While Oda's bill would require a written complaint about a bad instructor and require the Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI), which oversees the permits, to investigate the problem within 30 days, the problem comes down to collecting evidence outside of Utah.

    Even Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is worried. He has not seen the new version of the bill, but has talked with Oda and NRA officials about nonresident instructors.

    "What I was concerned about was quality control. Do we have some way to measure the quality and standards that are being implemented if it has our name on it?" Huntsman said.

    The simple answer: No.

    "We can't fly out to some other state to collect evidence," said Lt. Doug Anderson, program manager at BCI. "It's almost impossible to collect the evidence to substantiate a claim from out-of-state."

    Currently, three different states' concealed-permit agencies have contacted Anderson with concerns over instructors simply taking an applicant's money and approving a license with no instruction, or of instructors not properly teaching Utah laws.

    "It's important that if someone is going to carry a concealed, loaded firearm in a public setting, and something happens, that person has the knowledge needed to act justifiably," Anderson said.

    Oda says BCI investigators can conduct investigations over the phone, but Anderson says that likely will not provide enough evidence.

    "It will turn into a he-said, she-said situation," he said.

    BCI already has a complaint system and has documentation of problems with about a dozen instructors in and out of the state. A backlog of out-of-state instructor complaints already exists and likely will go nowhere as BCI doesn't have the resources to pursue them.

    Oda's bill has no additional funding for more instructors or for out-of-state travel.

    Regulating in-state instructors is much easier, and BCI randomly attends instructors' classes and has pre-emptive talks with instructors about potential problems, Anderson said. Such steps aren't possible in other states.

    That lack of oversight makes many gun-rights advocates worry that other states will stop recognizing Utah's permit. If that happens, Hardy said it would make Utah's permit less valuable to the current 150,000 permit holders nationwide, half of whom are Utahns.

    "We would hope the many law-abiding, good instructors would police themselves instead of have a few bad apples ruin it for everyone," Hardy said.

    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    The NRA liaison has made very clear that he is unwilling to accept ANY additional burden on non-resident instructors even if it means the loss of recognition of the Utah permit in some States. Nevada and Arizona are two of the States expressing concern over our perceived inability to regulate or police the 600 non-resident instructors we currently have certified to teach the Utah permit class.

    The liason has gone so far as to begin to make insinuation that Utah's own Clark Aposhian is responsible for stirring up problems in some kind of attempt to eliminate non-res instructors to the financial advantage of Utah resident instructors. I flat out reject such allegations and mention them here so all who see this here will understand how ugly this has been and what excuses you are likely to hear from the NRA come July or August if we do lose recognition in some of our neighboring States.

    The initial proposal to fix this problem this year was to eliminate all non-res instructors. I supported that as a temporary fix, intending to take time over the summer and have a bill prepared for next year to allow non-resident instructors with adequate additional controls as to maintain the integrity of our permit system.

    Instructors must have some kind of firearms instruction certification before they can be BCI certified to teach the Utah class. That is most often some kind of NRA certification, though we also accept certification to instruct in firearms from other groups and agencies including the Utah Police Officers' Standards Training board (POST).

    Instructors pay $50 for a 3 year certification. While that may provide adequate money for BCI to check up on Utah instructors who teach most of their classes here in the State, it clearly is not sufficient to allow BCI to do any traveling to investigate complaints of classes taught outside Utah, much less to do any proactive auditing of instructors.

    What I propose is to increase the fee for any instructor who wants to teach classes outside Utah to a level sufficient to allow BCI to pay an investigator and travel costs to both investigate complaints as well as to proactively audit instructors. Brian Judy and the NRA very much oppose this idea.

    Bear in mind that outside Utah, instructors can easily charge $200 per person for the Utah instruction. This instruction requires no more than four to six hours to present in very thorough form and can easily and legitimately be presented to 10 students at the same time.

    In addition to increasing the cost of the instructor certifications sufficient to cover the costs of investigation and regulation, there may be other constraints needed on non-res instructors, or resident instructors who teach outside Utah in order to maintain confidence in our permit.

    So long as we do not increase the costs (financial or otherwise) for Utah residents to obtain and maintain their Utah CCW permits, I am quite open to any number of things that would bolster confidence in the Utah permit so as to maintain and increase recognition of our permit even if some of those things increase costs somewhat on non-residents of Utah. Utah charges only $25 for its permit (the other $37.xx goes to the FBI for fingerprint check) and only $10 for renewals. Same fee currently for resident and non-resident alike. We are far and away the least expensive permit of any permit that even comes close to similar recognition.

    Indeed, rather than having to constantly defend why Utah issues permits to non-residents, I'd not be opposed to a modest fee increase for non-residents with that money dedicated to conducting background checks on Utah teachers. For a couple dollars a year per non-resident CCW permit any question about why we issue permits to non-residents could be answered with, "Because revenue from non-resident permits pays for background checks to keep perverts and criminals out of our classrooms." Pithy and powerful soundbite and our non-res permits would still be cheaper than Florida, Nevada, etc.

    In any event, a lot of back story on this one but people need to really think about what they are willing to sacrifice so non-Utah-residents can continue to make easy money teaching our permit classes.

    I also hasten to add that I do not believe ANY permit should be needed to carry a usable firearm openly or concealed. But given current political realities, I think there is great benefit in making sure Utah's permit remains as widely accepted as reasonably possible.

    Charles


    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
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    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
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    State Researcher Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    utbagpiper wrote:
    Nevada and Arizona are two of the States expressing concern over our perceived inability to regulate or police the 600 non-resident instructors we currently have certified to teach the Utah permit class.
    Well, in the envent that we do lose these two states, they are both unlicensed open carry states.

    So when they bring up the issue of not recognizing Utah permits, just say that in doing so, theywould force Utahans to carry openly when visiting their state.

    I'm sure their "safety officials" will just love that idea.
    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

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    utbagpiper wrote:
    The initial proposal to fix this problem this year was to eliminate all non-res instructors. I supported that as a temporary fix, intending to take time over the summer and have a bill prepared for next year to allow non-resident instructors with adequate additional controls as to maintain the integrity of our permit system.
    I seem to recall something passed into law more than 75 years ago that was supposed to be "temporary". Anyone remember the income tax?

    When it comes to government, there is no such thing as temporary. If this were as big a problem as we are led to believe, why has BCI been unwilling to tell us exactly what states have balked and why? Also, why didn't BCI come up with a proposal other than just eliminate all out of state instructors? They have had plenty of time to do so.

    We have fought long and hard to get the concealed carry privilege we have, if we let them start chipping away at it, there will be no end. The substitute bill is 100% better than the original bill.

    I don't often agree with Brian Judy nor do I often disagree with USSC/Gun Owners of Utah, but this is one case where I most definitely do.

    It would really be quite simple for BCI to monitor out of state instructors by simply requiring them to video tape their classes and submit the video tape along with all of the applications as a bundle. Then if there were any problem with the course, they could simply deny the included permit applications.

    As for BCI not having the resources to investigate complaints, if the current surplus in the CCW fee fund is not enough, then increase the fees for out of state instructors.

    As for the Governor being worried, that tells me that the new bill is good. Anyone who believes that Huntsman is a friend of the gun owner (or the average citizen) is sadly decieved.

    Did you happen to notice that whenever BCI talks about complaints against instructors that they will never separate out the numbers and tell us exactly how many complaints they have had against out of state instructors? They always just lump it together and say they have "documentation of problems with about a dozen instructors in and out of the state". Lets see, 12 complaints out of what, 1500 instructors? That is less than one percent. Even if all of those complaints were for out of state instructors, it would only be two percent. And even though they may have had a reduced course, they still have to pass all of the background check requirements.

    That all having been said, I have read the replacement bill and believe that it will be quite effective. One of its provisions is that an instructor who is found to not be complying will not only have their instructor certificate revoked, but also their Utah CCW. As has been pointed out elswhere, this would make it impossible for them to ever get a CCW or instructor permit in several other states. It would effectively make the price too high to take the risk.


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    rpyne wrote:

    When it comes to government, there is no such thing as temporary. If this were as big a problem as we are led to believe, why has BCI been unwilling to tell us exactly what states have balked and why? Also, why didn't BCI come up with a proposal other than just eliminate all out of state instructors? They have had plenty of time to do so.

    We have fought long and hard to get the concealed carry privilege we have, if we let them start chipping away at it, there will be no end. The substitute bill is 100% better than the original bill.


    It would really be quite simple for BCI to monitor out of state instructors by simply requiring them to video tape their classes and submit the video tape along with all of the applications as a bundle. Then if there were any problem with the course, they could simply deny the included permit applications.

    As for BCI not having the resources to investigate complaints, if the current surplus in the CCW fee fund is not enough, then increase the fees for out of state instructors.

    This is mostly academic at this point, but a few thoughts:

    1-Several years back, Utah decided to recognize ALL permits issued nationwide. At the last minute a 60 day time limit was inserted into the bill as NRA believed it was necessary to assure passage. I opposed it saying we'd never get rid of it. I was wrong. A couple years later it was fairly easy to remove the 60 day limit. Guns, especially in Utah, are NOT the same as federal income tax.

    2-I too suggested raising fees on non-res instructors (or even all instructors who want to teach outside Utah) to fund greater oversight. The NRA rep not only opposed the fee increase but the entire notion of greater oversight. Simply put, he opposes the fundamental solution to the entire problem we have with perception in other States: lack of adequate oversight of our (non-res) instructors.

    3-Even if we were to permanently eliminate non-res instructors (a position I do NOT support) that would NOT harm your Utah permit. Indeed, would not affect Utah residents at all. Would not affect renewals for non-residents who currently hold permits. Let us be clear in the distinction between what affects our ability to carry directly, and what would merely present an increased cost or inconvenience for non-Utah-residents to obtain their initial Utah permit.

    4-Over the last 15 years, Utah's gun lobby has gotten pretty good at having laws passed that make it difficult or impossible for gun owners to be prosecuted for exercising their rights. What we are NOT very good at, is forcing executive branch agencies to do something, anything. We cannot yet force BCI to process applications within 60 days despite a statutory time limit. They now claim to be doing it within 60 days, but are simply waiting a couple weeks to open and date-stamp as received the applications that come in. So while there are any number of things that BCI COULD do, if they would, they clearly won't and I don't know how to force them to do so. Indeed, short of electing a pro-gun governor who appoints pro-gun administrators into BCI, there probably is not a way. The legislature controls purse strings, but constitutional separation of powers limits how much they can control executive branch agencies.

    5-While the newspaper article indicated about 12 current investigations, there are another 20 or so that are sitting idle for lack of ability (as BCI sees it) to gather info. There are about 300 Utah instructors who are Utah residents. There are about 600 non-res instructors. The vast majority of open complaints are against non-res instructors. 30 cases out of 600 non-res instructors is a full 5%. Sure, still a minority, but more than an order of magnitude higher than the 0.2% of permit holders who lose their permits. 5% is high enough to legitimately cause perceptions of problems and it is the perception we have to confront. NO State is obliged to recognize our permits. They do so out of good will. If they perceive or believe our permit has problems, they can drop us.

    While I hope I am wrong, I do not believe that the substitute bill makes enough material changes to actually alter the perception that BCI is not adequately policing and regulaing our non-res instructors.

    Again, this is all mostly academic. We will not be taking any drastic action against non-res instructors this session. No time left for a new bill. So the chips will fall where they may and 150,000 Utah permit holders (including 75,000 Utah residents) will reap the consequences of some bad apple instructors.
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    SGT Jensen wrote:

    Well, in the envent that we do lose these two states, they are both unlicensed open carry states.

    So when they bring up the issue of not recognizing Utah permits, just say that in doing so, theywould force Utahans to carry openly when visiting their state.

    I'm sure their "safety officials" will just love that idea.
    They might,or might not. But I doubt it will factor into their decision.

    I note that these are NOT the only two States where we have heard concerns. And some of the others may not be nearly so OC friendly as Nevada and Arizona are.

    Also, loss of recognition of our permit reduces the options of how a person may carry a gun. It forces OC or nothing. While OC laws can help where we don't have recognition of permits, there is nothing good about losing recognition when it might have been easily maintained with zero impact to Utah residents or even non-res current permit holders.

    Doesn't matter now. The die is cast.

    And frankly, I'm getting weary of every year fighting the battles to defend non-res permit holders and non-res instructors. They haven't helped us get or maintain our permit or even recognition of that permit. I'm ready to let them fight their own battle. I think I may have better uses for my time than volunteering it away from my family, church, and friends or even my paying day job to go spend time at the capital.

    Anyone else want to volunteer to take my spot? Or shall we just sit back and see what entropy does to our carry "rights"?


    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    utbagpiper wrote:
    I note that these are NOT the only two States where we have heard concerns. And some of the others may not be nearly so OC friendly as Nevada and Arizona are.
    You appear to have much more information than the rest of us. This has been my number one problem with the bill, we are expected to support it simply because someone tells us there is a potential problem. SHOW US THE DATA!!!! Tell us which states have expressed concerns and tell us who said what. Without facts it is nothing more than innuendo. I, for one, will not support ANY legislative action, gun related or otherwise, without concrete evidence that there is a need.

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    rpyne wrote:
    You appear to have much more information than the rest of us. This has been my number one problem with the bill, we are expected to support it simply because someone tells us there is a potential problem. SHOW US THE DATA!!!! Tell us which states have expressed concerns and tell us who said what. Without facts it is nothing more than innuendo. I, for one, will not support ANY legislative action, gun related or otherwise, without concrete evidence that there is a need.
    Then don't support it. I no longer care. I don't travel that much anyway. Maybe you don't either. Or maybe the States you visit are not concerned about our inability to regulate and audit instructors. Or maybe you plan on having lots of free time next session to lobby the Utah legislature to make necessary changes then and to then spend lots of time building relationships and working with other States to convince them to recognize our permits. I kind of doubt it. But maybe I'm wrong about you.

    Hopefully, we don't lose any recognition.

    But at some point, on some rare events, a little trust of those who have proven themselves has to be exercised. I document 95%+ of what I claim relative to gun legislation. If I can't get a little trust on the rare 5% when I can't provide hard documentation, so be it.

    If I were asking you to accept limitations on your own permit, I might understand. But a limitation on non-resident instructors who are the very cause of the problem in the first place? The same unethical idiots (5% of them anyway) who forced us to pass legislation 4 years ago outlawing internet based classes for the Utah permit to protect recognition then? The same trouble makers that two years ago compelled us to require all instructors to actually come to Utah to get certified in an effort to address this very problem? That is two different bills in the last 4 years that required us expend political energy we might have instead used to make material improvements in Utah law. So for anyone who has been following along the last few years, this is NOT a new issue hitting us out of the blue.

    Simple fact is, there is no hard data to show you. Nor was there when the NRA rep and the NRA demanded such proof a couple weeks back on the feigned and false promise that if such proof were offered he'd change his position. But for 10 years when our sources have indicated that one State or another would be recognizing the Utah permit at their next meeting, they have been proven correct. So when those same sources, tell me that we are likely to lose recognition in one State or another next time they meet, or even that one State or another has concerns about our inability to regulate our instructors, I tend to give that some credence. Especially when ANY rational person can look at what BCI is currently (NOT) doing to regulate instructors and it is clear there is valid cause for concern.

    Can YOU honestly suggest there is any evidence that BCI is properly regulating instructors?

    If after the 10 years I've been involved in this battle I don't have any capital or trust established, I need to get out anyway. Ditto for the 15 years that Clark Aposhian has been involved.

    We played this game with the NRA. Gave him a specific State and name (a contact in Nevada). NRA just went to someone different to get a different opinion and started spreading the rumor that the only reason this person in Nevada was concerned was because we had contacted him and told him he should be concerned.

    So no, I don't think we'll be giving out any more of our sources. It won't convince anyone and will only provide more fodder for those who value non-res instructors' income over recognition of Utah permits to accuse us of stirring the pot. If I have no trust or capital so be it. It is a moot point now. We tried to take some pro-active actions to avoid losing recognition. The NRA opposed us and won this one. And I probably won't waste any effort in the future trying to proactively address problems before they get really big. It just isn't worth the hassle. I'll just wait until the problem is undeniable and then see what great ideas others have.

    I hope we don't lose any recognition. But if we do, THAT will be your solid documentation and proof. And at that point, I suspect that simply making changes to our law will NOT result in automatically regaining recognition.

    So 5% of bad apple instructors, and the 95% of otherwise good instructors who have turned a blind eye to the bad apples, will cut their own throat. If they keep rubber stamping permits, our permits will not be widely accepted. And when that happens, the demand for classes for our permits will also shrink.

    Now I apologize if you've asked these questions or expressed these concerns in pure, good faith. But they sound exactly like the NRA talking points that have been used to beat me and others up the last couple weeks. So I'm a little sensitive. Don't take it personally.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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    SGT Jensen wrote:
    utbagpiper wrote:
    Nevada and Arizona are two of the States expressing concern over our perceived inability to regulate or police the 600 non-resident instructors we currently have certified to teach the Utah permit class.
    Well, in the envent that we do lose these two states, they are both unlicensed open carry states.

    So when they bring up the issue of not recognizing Utah permits, just say that in doing so, theywould force Utahans to carry openly when visiting their state.

    I'm sure their "safety officials" will just love that idea.
    First, Arizona law now provides for the recognition of all other states' permits without regard to training requirements or oversight.

    Second, Nevada recognizes Florida permits. Florida has a much more liberal training standard than Utah. Florida accepts, among other things, hunter safety classes, proof of current military service or an honorable discharge, and any NRA-certified instructor taught class and does not require instructors to register with or be certified by the State of Florida.
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    Then don't support it. I no longer care. I don't travel that much anyway.
    You sound as frustrated as I get at times. Please don't give up. I am willing to be educated and to change my position when I am shown that there is good reason to do so.

    Hopefully, we don't lose any recognition.
    Agreed.

    But at some point, on some rare events, a little trust of those who have proven themselves has to be exercised. I document 95%+ of what I claim relative to gun legislation. If I can't get a little trust on the rare 5% when I can't provide hard documentation, so be it.
    I do not know you personally, nor do I know much about your involvement in the issue, so it is difficult to accept "trust me". I have heard it too many times just before getting screwed, especially by the NRA.

    If I were asking you to accept limitations on your own permit, I might understand. But a limitation on non-resident instructors who are the very cause of the problem in the first place?
    I understand your point, but we can't be completely isolationist about this. Others states are looking to see how Utah succeeds (or fails) in handling its CCW system. We need to be leaders in showing that higher availability works.

    The same unethical idiots (5% of them anyway) who forced us to pass legislation 4 years ago outlawing internet based classes for the Utah permit to protect recognition then? The same trouble makers that two years ago compelled us to require all instructors to actually come to Utah to get certified in an effort to address this very problem?
    Agreed. Actually, I am not sure that I would oppose internet based classes for most of the requirements. It could make the courses more consistent and could make monitoring easier.

    So for anyone who has been following along the last few years, this is NOT a new issue hitting us out of the blue.
    If this is not a new issue, then why were we (you, et. al.) not prepared with legislation to directly attack the problem instead of just cutting it off? Amputation is rarely the best solution.

    Simple fact is, there is no hard data to show you.
    My point exactly. To just take the word of people I do not know personally simply on face value is reminiscent of believing politician's "read my lips" statements.

    Nor was there when Brian Judy and the NRA demanded such proof a couple weeks back on the feigned and false promise that if such proof were offered he'd change his position.
    Don't get me wrong, I have no love for Brian Judy and the NRA-ILA bunch. They seem more than willing to give away our rights on a claim of being "reasonable". This is a large part of my lack of support for the original bill.

    But for 10 years when our sources have indicated that one State or another would be recognizing the Utah permit at their next meeting, they have been proven correct. So when those same sources, tell me that we are likely to lose recognition in one State or another next time they meet, or even that one State or another has concerns about our inability to regulate our instructors, I tend to give that some credence.
    Again, all I ask is to be informed and educated. I take no proposed legislation promoted by anyone on face value. Unless I have been show good reason and need for any legislation, I oppose it. I have a good working rapport with both my State Legislator and my State Senator, have worked with them for many years, and do not hesitate to take the same position with them, either show me where I am wrong or accept my opposition when voting against my position.

    Especially when ANY rational person can look at what BCI is currently (NOT) doing to regulate instructors and it is clear there is valid cause for concern.
    Again, educate me. I have not seen anything to suggest that BCI is failing to regulate instructors.

    Can YOU honestly suggest there is any evidence that BCI is properly regulating instructors?
    No, but I also have not seen evidence that they are NOT properly regulating instructors.

    If after the 10 years I've been involved in this battle I don't have any capital or trust established, I need to get out anyway. Ditto for the 15 years that Clark Aposhian has been involved.
    I have been in the same battles for 20 years, though I may not have been involved in the same organizations. My fight includes far more than just gun rights, they extend to all rights.

    We played this game with Brian Judy. Gave him a specific State and name (a contact in Nevada). Brian just went to someone different to get a different opinion and started spreading the rumor that the only reason this person in Nevada was concerned was because we had contacted him and told him he should be concerned.
    I have never asked for specific contacts, but again, "we have heard form someone, somewhere" doesn't cut it either. Simply stating that you have had contact with (which organization(s)) in (which state(s)) and they have expressed (what concern(s)). would go a long way toward substantiating the claims.

    So no, I don't think we'll be giving out any more of our sources. It won't convince anyone and will only provide more fodder for those who value non-res instructors' income over recognition of Utah permits to accuse us of stirring the pot. If I have no trust or capital so be it.
    Actually, I have heard more complaints from Utah resident instructors complaining about the out of state instructors cutting in to their income.

    It is a moot point now. We tried to take some pro-active actions to avoid losing recognition. The NRA opposed us and won this one. And I probably won't waste any effort in the future trying to proactively address problems before they get really big. It just isn't worth the hassle. I'll just wait until the problem is undeniable and then see what great ideas others have.
    Again, I am willing to put every effort into supporting a change when I have been shown that it is the best way to accomplish a solution to a real, not just perceived, problem. I am NOT Brian Judy and the NRA, I am a Utah resident who is willing to fight when I am shown a need, but like you, I am not willing to expend political capital on a fight without being able to articulate why, and without facts, I cannot in good faith urge my representatives to take any action.

    I hope we don't lose any recognition. But if we do, THAT will be your solid documentation and proof. And at that point, I suspect that simply making changes to our law will NOT result in automatically regaining recognition.
    And if we (I) had had some facts up front, we could have gone to battle along side you or helped to draft a proposal to attack the real problem.

    So 5% of bad apple instructors, and the 95% of otherwise good instructors who have turned a blind eye to the bad apples, will cut their own throat. If they keep rubber stamping permits, our permits will not be widely accepted. And when that happens, the demand for classes for our permits will also shrink.
    That may be, but it still doesn't justify taking drastic action without knowing of a real problem.

    Now I apologize if you've asked these questions or expressed these concerns in pure, good faith. But they sound exactly like the NRA talking points that have been used to beat me and others up the last couple weeks. So I'm a little sensitive. Don't take it personally.
    I don't take disagreement personally, nor do I intend my comments to be personal. Open, frank discussion benefits those who are honestly trying to do the right thing, history has taught us that secrecy only benefits those trying to do harm. Had I had the information you have given here a few weeks ago, I may have spent my energy on this issue differently.

  11. #11
    State Researcher
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    We believed we had adequately addressed these concerns with the last two, targeted bills and by the time we got information that there were fresh concerns, we simply did not have time to craft a complex bill and get it passed. We hoped to do something to preserve recognition this year without stirring up any more media coverage than necessary (if one or two States are concerned, and word of that gets out, how many other States start looking to see if they too should be concerned). Maybe a mistake in tactics on our part. But we are all human. We also under-estimated the extent to which NRA would risk Utah recognition to the short term benefit of instructors. We probably over-estimated the extent to which Utah's gun owners had any trust in some of their local pro-gun organizations.

    Which is all fine. If we can only get support upon documented evidence, we will just lose battles where the enemy is savvy enough to deny that to us, or where circumstances simply do not make it available.

    I have personally spoken with the Executive Director of the Nevada Sheriff's association. That is the group responsible to annually review which permits to recognize and which not to. Were you aware that Utah is the ONLY State without a live fire requirement to have Nevada recognition? Nevada requires a live fire on every make and model of gun you want to carry. Getting recognition from them was a major coup for us. Losing it will be no small loss. Anyway, the Exec Dir told me there are concerns about how Utah can keep track of and regulate 600 non-res instructors. I can't blame him because currently we have ZERO active oversight. All based on the good will of instructors. The conduct of permit holders themselves is monitored by nationwide criminal reporting systems. But with instructors, we just have no way of knowing how they are conducting classes.

    We are hearing similar concerns from similarly placed individuals in Arizona.

    Two neighboring States. One very specific source you can look up and find a name if you are interested. Let's see if any opinions are changed. Or if such data is never quite enough to convince.

    And again, we are dealing with a perception. If BCI has upwards of 5% of non-res instructors under investigation but isn't able to clear those cases one way or the other, then we do have a real problem as well. How do we address that? I am open to suggestions. But "make BCI do their job" is NOT a suggestion. It is a wish and a fantasy. I and the legislature cannot make BCI do their job. And frankly, I'm not sure they have the resources they need to do much more than they are doing right now anyway.

    Even the current budget surplus they have came NOT from instructor fees, but from permit fees, half or more of which are from Utah residents. And why should Utah residents be paying the cost to investigate instructors living in Michigan or Florida who are making a nice chunk of money with our permit classes?

    Again, the NRA has made clear he opposes any fee increase on non-res instructors or any additional powers or budget for BCI.

    If you do not know, or know of Charles Hardy and/or Clark Aposhian, I have to question the extent to which you have been involved in State level (and with State pre-emption that is the bulk of where it happens in Utah) RKBA issues in Utah. If you do not know Rep. Curt Oda's pro-gun credentials, you have not been involved at all.

    The original bill had enough solid, credible, pro-gun backing that anyone informed or involved should have at least asked about it rather than opposing it. So why no asking on this forumn? Why no contact to Rep. Oda to ask him? Why no effort to contact GOUtah! or USDIN?

    Sadly, good faith efforts to explain the situation to the NRA were used as ammunition to derail the bill and get the substitute put into place. I hope the substitute is enough. I fear it won't be. But the one thing I won't stand for is for the NRA to shift blame for any loss of recognition to those who worked hard to avoid loss of recognition.


    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

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