Wyoming Gun Bill Headed To Governor Mead’s Desk
A bill that would legalize the carrying of concealed weapons into governmental meetings across the state is now headed to Governor Matt Mead's desk after the Wyoming House late Wednesday afternoon reversed a Tuesday vote on the issue.
House members on Tuesday had voted 56-4 against concurring with House Bill 137, mostly because of a Senate amendment that banned bringing guns into government meetings which are held in venues where concealed firearms are banned. The Senate voted for the amendment after concerns were raised about meetings held on the University of Wyoming campus, where guns are banned.
But after asking for outside legal advice on the amendment after the Tuesday vote, numerous House members say they now are convinced the amendment in question is actually 'harmless."
One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Campbell County Republican Scott Clem, says senators were right about the fact that concealed firearms are banned at the University of Wyoming and that ban will remain in place.
That means weapons cannot be carried into governmental meetings held on the UW campus even if HB 137 does become law. A bill that would have allowed guns on the UW and other college campuses, House Bill 136, was defeated in the Senate recently.
Clem says during the Tuesday vote against concurrence "The wheels really came off the wagon. People were in a fretful thing, saying 'let's go to conference committee.'"
Clem says during the Tuesday debate on the bill, his internet was down, preventing him from pulling up the latest version of the bill. He says had that not been the case he may have been able to help clear up some of the confusion about the bill prior to the vote not to concur.
He says by the time he could read the bill, he was banned from speaking on the House floor because the discussion at the point was limited to representatives who had already spoken once and were now speaking a second time.
But Laramie County Republican Rep. Dan Zwonitzer says he is still concerned about that the bill won't apply to the legislature for the next 2-3 years. That's because lawmakers are meeting in the privately-owned Jonah Business Center while a renovation project on the Capitol Building continues. Because the business center is privately owned, House Bill 137 does not apply there.
The House ended up voting 47-13 to concur with the bill after all on Wednesday.