Lots of Utah’s young women carry—like Jessica, with her 9mm Sig Mosquito.

Jessica is a tiny 20-something platinum blonde and a bona fide fashion guru. Her skinny jeans look extra long with sky-high heels, which she wears Monday through Friday. Her favorite pair? “My studded Vince Camuto pumps.” Her favorite accessory? “My Prada handbag.” It’s true Jessica’s fashion sense is exquisite: She knows where to find the latest in faux fur, the best in chunky jewelry and the hippest guns. “I have a pink Sig Mosquito,” she says. “But I carry the silvery-blue Sig P238.” 

Jessica’s not the only Utah girl I know with a gun. Cynthia says she “fell in love with the Taurus PT99 9mm silver pistol handgun—there is something sexy about it. It was in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet and was the first gun I thought was beautiful.” Amanda wears Frye boots when she shoots her rifle, a Remington Bolt Action 22. In fact, a completely informal survey shows that most of the women I work with not only own guns, but have concealed carry permits, too. 

The American West is generally gun tolerant, but in Utah, the Second Amendment is practically holy writ. Horrific gun violence—like the episodes at Salt Lake’s Trolley Square and in Aurora, Columbine, West Virginia and Wisconsin—only seems to strengthen Utahns’ hold on their guns.

No one knows what percentage of Utahns own guns because, unless a weapon was purchased from a licensed dealer, there’s no record kept of guns sold. Utah scored a solid zero on the Brady Campaign’s 2011 scorecard—that translates to some of the loosest gun laws in the nation. We have the most “valued” concealed weapons permit in the country. We can carry guns on campus, in bars, in the State Capitol, in most churches. We are home to the third biggest unregulated arms market in the country—owned by the Mormon church’s KSL.com

The other thing no one knows: Why the heck do Utahns love guns so much?

Next>>>A Lady of High Caliber

Back>>>Read More Stories from our February 2013 issue