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A lawsuit is currently working its way through the Wyoming courts on whether or not universities have the authority to restrict guns on campus. The law sure as hell looks very clear, but one court has already ruled that the law doesn’t apply to colleges or universities and that they can restrict guns to their heart’s content.
But now the University of Wyoming, the defendant in the case, has filed its first arguments in state Supreme Court.
Attorneys representing the University of Wyoming filed the school’s first arguments Tuesday in a Wyoming Supreme Court case concerning UW’s ability to restrict the carrying of firearms on campus.
Lyle Williams, a Uinta County delegate to the Wyoming State Republican Party Convention last year, sued the university after UW police cited him for openly carrying his firearm during the political rally at the UW Conference Center.
Williams argued the school’s ban on guns violates Wyoming Statute 6-8-401, which prohibits gun regulations by any “city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity.”
In December, Albany County District Court Judge Tori Kricken decided UW does have the right to regulate guns, in part because she determined that statute, Section 401, only applies to guns manufactured in Wyoming.
The applicability limitation for Section 401 was likely an error by the 2010 Legislature made during the passage of the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act.
Even if the 2010 Legislature hadn’t made that mistake, however, Kricken said UW would still have the right to regulate guns because it’s an arm of the state, not a “city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity.”
Reading all of this, I’m repeatedly struck with one thought above any others. That’s the fact that the citizens of Wyoming are having to fund a legal effort designed at restricting their Second Amendment rights.
The University of Wyoming is a public university, meaning taxpayers fund them. Yes, they charge tuition, but colleges aren’t exactly self-supporting. If they were, they wouldn’t be public universities, now would they?
As a result, the taxpayers of Wyoming are helping to fund this legalistic nonsense as the university thinks it knows best what people should and shouldn’t do regarding exercising their gun rights. They’re trying to restrict those rights in the name of…well, they think it’s to make people safer or more comfortable or something. Yet they’re making people pay for the assault on their rights.
That has always bothered me, and it’s probably a good idea for someone in state legislatures to start cracking down on public universities doing such things.
Private universities can do what they will with their funding. They’re self-supporting, more or less. (Yes, they get taxpayer money too, but in the form of things like student loans and Pell Grant funds that pay for classes. They’re not directly funded by a government.) Because of that, they can do as they wish and I’ll defend their right to be idiots and poor stewards of their money even if they’re wrong.
But the University of Wyoming isn’t. Neither are any of the myriad other public colleges and universities that are more than willing to fight against students’ gun rights and use taxpayer money to do it.