Gun Bill Passes Wyoming Senate
A bill that would repeal gun-free zones at government meetings in Wyoming passed the state Senate by a 20-10 margin on third reading on Monday.
Senators did vote to amend House Bill 137, however, to specify that the bill would only apply to meetings held in places where firearms are not prohibited.
That amendment was approved to address concerns about legislative meetings that might be held on the campus of the University of Wyoming or any of the state's seven community college campuses. A bill to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns onto college campuses was defeated in the Senate last week.
But on Monday, senators for the second time turned back an attempt to leave the decision about whether to allow guns at government meetings to local governing bodies. Monday's debate on that amendment largely followed the same script as Friday's discussion, with supporters of the amendment arguing for local control and saying the state should not dictate such decisions.
Sheridan Republican Senator Bruce Burns argued that if the right to carry firearms is really an unrestricted right, that would mean anyone could carry a gun anywhere, including into courtrooms, bars, and churches, which are all locations where firearms are prohibited under Wyoming law.
Laramie Democratic Senator Chris Rothfuss noted firearms have always been banned from certain venues throughout Wyoming's entire history.
But Republican Senator Curt Meier of Lagrange said that even though most of the city councils in his district oppose allowing firearms at meetings "I took an oath to uphold the constitution." He says the Wyoming Constitution clearly stands in favor of the right to bear arms.
Lander Republican Senator Cale Case echoed that argument, adding "these rights are protected even if there is a particular group, a particular place where a majority want to ban firearms.''