Many states have preemption laws in place. The purpose of those laws is to prevent an unwieldy patchwork of gun control laws within a given state, making it virtually impossible for regular folks to be clear on what’s legal and what isn’t from place to place.
The idea is that such laws should be passed by the legislature to minimize the confusion.
However, a court in Wyoming, however, has found that the University of Wyoming isn’t really covered by the state’s preemption law.
The University of Wyoming has the power to regulate and prohibit firearms on its campus, and its gun policy does not violate the Second Amendment, Tori Kricken, the district court judge in Albany County, ruled Thursday.
This is Kricken’s second ruling in the years-long case of Lyle Williams, of Uinta County, who has sought to overturn the university’s gun policy through the courts. Her previous ruling was overturned by the Wyoming Supreme Court on procedural grounds.
Kricken ruled upon a number of separate points related to the university’s firearms policy: The law that pre-empts most governments below the state level from enacting their own firearms regulations only applies to firearms made in Wyoming, Kricken ruled.
UW acts as an arm of the state, so it is not included in the law that prevents most local or subsidiary elements of government in Wyoming from regulating firearms, Kricken ruled.
The university’s regulations do not violate the provisions in the United States and Wyoming constitutions that protect gun rights, either facially or as applied to Williams, Kricken ruled.
This ruling is expected to be appealed back to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Particularly controversial is Kricken’s claim that the Wyoming law blocking the local regulation of firearms only applies to guns made in Wyoming.
Which is good, because most of that ruling is absolutely nuts.
The only part I can see from a legalistic standpoint is that the university, as a state entity, isn’t covered by the preemption law. That’s a bit that the legislature can address easily enough.
As for the rest? It’s insane. Especially claiming that preemption only applies to firearms made within the state. Honestly, that’s got to be some weapons-grade stupidity there.
Of course, with this going to the Wyoming Supreme Court, there’s still a good chance that all of this insanity will be overturned. At least, let’s hope so, because if this stands, there’s a problem.
You see, claiming that preemption only applies to weapons made in Wyoming opens up the door for communities to enact gun control measures by specifically excluding any firearm made within the state. Since most guns are made elsewhere, that opens up a whole lot of doors.
Luckily, I don’t see how that bit can withstand a legal challenge. After all, here’s the text of the state’s preemption law:
(c) The sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use and possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition shall be authorized, regulated and prohibited by the state, and regulation thereof is preempted by the state. Except as authorized by W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii), no city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the 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. This section shall not affect zoning or other ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning and other ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this section and are prohibited.
There is absolutely nothing in there to even hint that it only applies to guns made in the state. Nothing at all.
Frankly, I’d be hardpressed to see how a university qualifies as “the state” when that’s generally understood to be the legislature, but that’s the only part of the ruling the least bit reasonable. Not much, mind you, just a teensy bit. If you look at it and squint, that is.
Regardless, let’s hope this idiotic decision is overturned quickly. This is the last thing anyone in Wyoming needs.