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Wyoming Gun Laws: Quotes From Heated Debate

Image: Wyoming Gun Laws: Quotes From Heated Debate
Main, south, facade of Wyoming State Capitol, Cheyenne, Wyoming. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Friday, 12 Dec 2014 06:52 PM

Wyoming leaders have consistently pushed for strong laws to protect gun owners, even standing up to federal gun regulations, making those restrictive laws unenforceable within Wyoming borders.

Whether or not Firearms Freedom Acts, which say that guns manufactured within state borders are not subject to federal regulations, will hold up when challenged in court, passage of such acts was a way for Wyoming to make a statement about firearms and freedom.

The act, passed by Wyoming in 2010, was “harsher” than the laws passed by other states because it included a section saying that any federal official trying to enforce federal gun laws in the state could be subject to a $2,000 fine and a year in prison.

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As is always the case with gun laws, the debate around such acts and regulations sometimes gets contentious. In the last year, Wyoming has failed to pass a law that would allow public school teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds and another that would have barred the enforcement of federal regulations regarding the size of magazines and whether semi-automatic weapons were banned.

Here are six quotes that have come out of contentious gun issue debates:

• "We have no state laws to keep guns out of those who we should be keeping guns away from," Suzan Campbell, of the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, told Wyoming Public Media. "No state laws. We rely on the federal law, the Lautenberg amendment and that doesn’t even really get enforced. I think we’re probably at the bottom as far as having any state laws to try to deal with that because we just don’t. We actually try to extend people that can get guns instead of trying to keep it away from those that shouldn’t get it."

• State Rep. John Eklund proposed a bill passed by the Wyoming House in February that would allow school employees to carry a firearm on school property. (It later died in the Senate.) “I believe that it might be a deterrent for a terrorist or criminal to break into a school or harm our kids,” Eklund told The New American. “It might be a deterrent to know that there might be guns waiting on the other side of the wall.”

• Not everyone agreed with Eklund’s bill. “I don’t want a student to be injured because something happens,” The New American quoted Kathy Vetter, president of the Wyoming Education Association.“We’ve had people drop their guns right here in Cheyenne in businesses and people have been hurt.”

• State Rep. Kendell Kroeker proposed a bill that would make it a felony to enforce federal gun laws, including assault weapon bans and high-capacity gun magazine bans. “We take the Second Amendment seriously in Wyoming. I take an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of Wyoming," Kroeker told The Huffington Post. "I believe it is my duty to take that oath seriously. If the federal government is going to pass laws taking back our rights, it is our right as a state to defend those rights."

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*State Sen. Larry Hicks spoke with the Washington Examiner about Kroeker’s proposed legislation, telling the newspaper that his constituents were concerned about Washington’s attempt to take their gun rights. “They are very, very upset that we’re going to see some level of federal takeover of our weapons and abuse of our rights given to us by the Second Amendment,” Hicks said. “Also that the federal government will bypass our legislative officials and confiscate our weapons through executive order. This gives citizens of the Western United States a great deal of concern.”

Kerry Drake, columnist for Wyofile, wrote about Wyoming’s joining in a “friend of the court” brief about New York gun laws: “Not content to pass gun laws for its own citizens, the state of Wyoming is attempting to force its will on the people of New York. … I don’t understand. Wyoming and its conservative neighbors continually preach about states’ rights, and the fundamental premise states should be allowed to make their own decisions about guns within their borders. Yet here we are telling New York it’s wrong; we and like-minded states know what’s best for the safety of its citizens.”

This article does not constitute legal advice. Check the current gun laws before purchasing or traveling with a firearm.

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Wyoming leaders have consistently pushed for strong laws to protect gun owners, even standing up to federal gun regulations, making those restrictive laws unenforceable within Wyoming borders.
wyoming, gun, laws, quotes, debate
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2014-52-12
Friday, 12 Dec 2014 06:52 PM
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