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Never shot a gun? Never been to Utah? Got a “combat mindset”?

If yes to the above, you could qualify for a concealed gun permit from Utah, which is seeing record demand for permits from people all across the United States who never been to the state and have no intention of ever going.

Bedrock conservatism is enjoying a surge with the rise of the Tea Party movement, which advocates small government, individual rights and has made a strong showing in Utah. The debate may become only hotter after a Monday U.S. Supreme Court ruling extended gun rights to all cities and states.

Spurred by fears that U.S. President Barack Obama will add gun control to his already crowded domestic agenda, denizens of the once-wild West and other Americans are snapping up firearm permits. Some 90 million people in the United States have an estimated 200 million guns.

Utah makes it easy, and thousands have enrolled in classes promoting its concealed weapons license to people from other states, many of whom have never been to Utah and never intend to go there.

Salmon, Idaho resident Bruce Smith just took an Idaho-based Utah permit course that would let him carry in Idaho, Utah and 31 other states. Course provider Ericsson Investigations on its Web site promises to teach laws, gun safety and “the combat ‘mind set'”.

“I’d hate to be without backup,” Smith said. The course did not include shooting a gun but did show how to load one.

A five-year permit good in 33 states has flooded Utah with applications, with the number rising to 74,000 last year. The fee is $65.25. Applicants must also clear a background check, be 21, and take a course.

Today, more out-of-state residents have Utah licenses than state residents, and out-of-state instructors outnumber those from Utah.

Utah’s program alarms gun control groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“It’s a state where they don’t seem to care about the consequences that may arise from some of the permits they’re issuing,” said spokesman Peter Hamm.

Source: Laura Zuckerman for Reuters.

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