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.