Utah concealed handgun permit useful to Oregonians

Sean C. Morgan

If you’ve got an Oregon concealed handgun permit, you can pretty much carry a weapon anywhere – in Oregon.

Few states recognize Oregon’s permit, though. Oregonians can carry concealed weapons in 14 other states, including Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona, but many Oregonians look to Utah for a much more comprehensive concealed carry permit.

Although Oregon doesn’t recognize the Utah permit, handgun owners in Oregon can get that license and carry concealed weapons in 32 states. Carrying a Utah permit also places the handgun owner under the use-of-force laws in states with agreements with Utah.

Don Leach of Creswell and son Jefferson Leach of Sweet Home, who own and operate Oregon Concealed Handgun License Class, a Sweet Home business, say that Oregonians obtain concealed carry licenses for personal defense and defense of third parties. The Leaches offer training to qualify gun owners for the Utah license.

In every contact situation, “that situation is going to be over and done before you can call 9-1-1,” Don said. “There can’t be a cop on every corner.”

The violent part of the contact will be over in seven seconds, Jefferson said.

The Leaches teach the “three Fs,” Don said, freeze, flight or fight “because when you fight, there’s no guarantee you’re going come out on top of it but at least you had a chance.”

They told the story of a rape victim who took their classes. The woman had an opportunity to defend herself, but she was defenseless and left powerless to stop the attack.

Oregonians obtain a Utah license because they travel to other states.

“If you’re an Oregon resident with a Utah permit, you can carry concealed in Washington,” Don said.

With the Utah license they don’t need to worry as much about carry issues when visiting other states, Don said. “The Utah requirements and Oregon requirements are functionally the same.”

“There’s recognition and reciprocity,” Jefferson said. “Other states recognize (licenses) as if you had that state’s license. The reciprocity takes it to a higher level.”

In the event a concealed carrier must defend himself, there are circumstances where Utah law takes precedence, Jefferson said. “They’re extremely good for the defender. The laws are set up for citizens’ protection, the defender’s protection.”

For example, in Oregon, a use of force decision cannot take the past history of the aggressor into account, Jefferson said. In Utah, that can be a factor in the decision to pull the trigger, which applies in states with reciprocity toward Utah.

Utah law allows all of that information to determine whether the defender’s actions were reasonable, Don said.

To legally carry concealed in Oregon, a person must take a class from an authorized instructor, which means the instructor is a National Rifle Association pistol instructor, Jefferson said.

After receiving proof of attending the class, the person must apply for a license, good for four years, with the county sheriff’s office, which conducts a background check before granting the license, which takes about five weeks right now.

To obtain a five-year Utah license, the NRA-certified pistol instructor also must be certified by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, Jefferson said. The certificate from the Utah class is the application for a license. That certificate is submitted with the state fee. At the end of a background check, the license is issued, usually after seven to eight weeks.

Last year, Oregon licensed approximately 11,000 people.

Utah licenses 11,000 to 13,000 monthly, Jefferson said.

Utah has one of the highest percentages of concealed carry among its population, Don said, and the state has one of the lowest rates of crimes against persons.

While they have made a business out of Oregon and Utah licenses, both Don and Jefferson would rather see concealed carry handled as it is in Alaska, Arizona and Vermont – what they call Constitutional states – recognizing every license issued in any state and allowing concealed carry unless the person is an ex-convict.

“That would just about put us out of business,” Don said.

“I’d find something else to do with a smile on my face,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson has lived in Sweet Home for about four years. He started taking classes as an instructor about eight years ago. He started assisting in giving classes two years ago. Before that he was a cable installer, ran a continuous gutter business and worked for United Parcel Service.

He moved to Sweet Home with his wife to raise his children in a small town, after growing up in Creswell. He came to Sweet Home on business and fell in love with it, he said.

“Everybody’s down to earth,” he said. “This is the place where I actually hope to grow old. This where we want to roots to dig deep.”

Don is a retired attorney and a business consultant.

The Leaches may be found at ochlc.com. As far as they are aware, they have the only Sweet Home business offering Utah classes, they say.

For information or to register, call (541) 908-6548 or e-mail [email protected].