Is Utah second most-armed state? Numbers are skewed, official says

Published: Friday, March 23 2012 6:44 p.m. MDT

State public safety administrators are skeptical over a new analysis that ranks Utah as the second most-armed state in the nation.

Associated Press

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View the top list Top 20 states with the most guns in 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — State public safety administrators are skeptical over a new analysis that ranks Utah as the second most-armed state in the nation.  

The report from The Daily Beast places the Beehive state second only to Kentucky as the most-armed. The analysis takes into account federal background check applications related to gun sales and permits over the past 18 months.

Utah had 46,898 National Instant Criminal Background Check System checks per 100,000 residents. That’s well behind the 78,703 checks per 100,000 Kentucky residents, but far ahead of third-ranked Idaho with its 16,888 checks.

“Not even close,” said a skeptical Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman Dwayne Baird.

Baird said the numbers are skewed.

“More than 70 percent of the people that get a background check in the state of Utah to carry a concealed weapon are people from out of state,” he said.

State officials also take issue with the correlation between concealed weapons permit applications and gun ownership. Baird said applications are not a good indication of who actually has guns.

“It’s hard to really look at the numbers and say for certain that’s what you’re dealing with,” Baird said.

At Impact Guns in Ogden, workers and shoppers alike were far more welcoming of the lofty ranking.

“Wish we were number one — we’ll go for number one this time,” manager Craig Ball said.

Ball suggested evidence on the ground certainly points to a state worthy of one that’s the second most-armed.

“The classes have been double what they usually are. The handgun sales have boomed — it’s just great,” Ball said.

A shopper, Troy Herzog, was also not surprised by the ranking.

“It would seem to me that you would have a high percentage of the population,” Herzog said. “I think it’s our Second Amendment right. It’s an important thing and I don’t see any problem with that.”

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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