Wyoming Legislature Moves to Radically Reduce State Gun Free Zones

Wyoming House Bill 125 is on the way to Governor Mark Gordon. Two Wyoming State Senators (Bouchard and Biteman) were instrumental in passing a ban on Red Flag gun seizures (SF – 109) and the removal of gun free zones (HB 125). They give an explanation of how they passed the bills in an 8-minute video. Senator Biteman reports the last time a similar bill passed, in 2017, the former governor, Matthew Hansen Mead (R), vetoed the bill.

Wyoming is on the way to removing nearly all “gun free zones”.  Anyone who is not prohibited from owning a firearm will be legally free to carry concealed weapons in meetings of government entities, including the state legislature and committees thereof.

People who have a concealed carry permit recognized under Wyoming statute 6-8-104(a) (ii) (35 states, and people who meet the Wyoming state permit requirements) will be immune from the ban on carrying in public schools, public colleges, and university athletic events which do not sell alcohol. Students of elementary or secondary schools are excluded from this section. The bill further prohibits any regulation by entities other than the legislature of the state of Wyoming on the following:

 “sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use, carrying or possession of firearms, weapons, accessories, components or ammunition except as specifically provided by this chapter.”

HB 125 has gone through some remarkable legislative gymnastics before being sent to Governor (R) Mark Gordon. The bill was introduced on February 7, 2024. It was given a “Do Pass” recommendation by the House Judiciary Committee on February 22. The bill passed a third reading of the House on February 27, 2024, 54-7-1.

HB 125 had a much harder time in the Senate. The Senate received the bill on February 28, 2024, and assigned it to the Judiciary Committee on the same day. On March 5, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to give the bill a “Do Pass” with a 2-3 vote against the bill. All members of the committee were nominally Republicans.  This would ordinarily kill the bill. In an extraordinary measure, the Senate voted to recall the bill from the Judiciary Committee by the most narrow of margins: 16 for, 15 against. This vote, when most members of the Senate may have believed no one was watching, shows the true support for the bill. HB 125 then passed on the third reading vote for the whole Senate, 22-8-1.

HB 125 is expected to be sent to Governor Mark Gordon reasonably soon. Governor Gordon has been a Second Amendment supporter and is likely to sign the bill. The lobbying to pressure him to veto the bill has already started.

The only person who can stand in the way of this catastrophic bill becoming law is Governor Mark Gordon. According to the Wyoming Constitution, he has three days while the legislature is in session and  fifteen days once the legislature has adjourned, to sign, veto, or allow a bill to become law without this signature. There’s still time to make your voices heard! 

Join us in calling on Governor Mark Gordon to veto this reckless and ill-considered legislation. It is crucial that we stand together to defend our rights, our safety, and the democratic values that define our state.

It remains to be seen if Governor Gordon will sign HB 125.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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