Wyoming Bill Ending Gun-Free Zones Heads to Governor's Desk

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Even in many of your more pro-gun states, there are place you can't lawfully carry a firearm. Courthouses and jails are popular locations, as are polling places and houses of worship--because absolutely nothing bad could ever happen at a house of worship, much less courthouses.

Schools are another popular choice, and much like churches, I'm sure it's because nothing bad has ever happened at a school, either.

In other words, gun-free zones aren't really gun free. They just make it so we ordinary citizens are disarmed and the would-be killers know it.

In Wyoming, they know it too. That's why a bill basically repealing all gun-free zones in the state is heading to the governor's desk.

The Senate voted on third reading to repeal Wyoming’s gun-free zones, approving a version of legislation that, in its final form, remained very similar to what was introduced in the early days of the session.

The bill, Enrolled Act 49, must still be signed by Gov. Mark Gordon to become law.


Bills sponsored by individual lawmakers, or groups of lawmakers, rather than Legislative committees, do not go through the same months-long process of examination between sessions. Bills sponsored by committee are considered in open meetings during the interim session, where the public has the opportunity to comment, but that was not the case on HB 125. Two committees during the Legislative session heard public comment on the bill in the last several weeks: the House Judiciary, which voted 7-2 to pass the bill and the Senate Judiciary, which voted against the bill Monday night after hearing less than two hours of public comment in a 3-2 vote.

The Senate then voted to suspend its own rules, overturning the decision of the committee to bring the bill to the Senate floor this week.

“The bill does exactly what the title says,” Boner said Tuesday afternoon. “It would repeal the gun-free zones that we have throughout the state, the idea being that these are often targets of soft areas where if somebody wants to do something, they will be focused on going where there aren’t any firearms.”

At least one amendment sought to require those who would carry in schools to provide written notice to the superintendent, good for one year. That didn't go anywhere, which is a good thing.

Look, I don't think it was necessarily a bad idea to let the school know the guy with a gun that just walked in isn't a problem. The issue is that if you put something like that into law, you're requiring people to do that before they go into a school. Sometimes, that's not exactly your plan, but suddenly you have to.

Maybe you have to pick up your brother's kids from school because he's stuck at work and Mom is out of town or something. It doesn't matter why, it just is.

One Democrat in the state tried to argue that teachers didn't ask for this, neither did local governments. That's fine because those people didn't have to ask for it. They're not the only ones with a stake in such a thing, and a lot of people have a problem with gun-free zones on principle.

So now, Wyoming is looking at no more gun-free zones, assuming the governor signs the bill, which I personally think is likely.

As a result, folks in Wyoming are about to be a whole lot freer than they were before.

What's more, this bill may well serve as a fantastic roadmap for lawmakers in other states to follow. I know we won't see it in California or New York, but in Georgia, for example? There's a lot of good that can come from this measure, if only lawmakers elsewhere have the courage to fight for it as well.