Wyoming bill shoots down local gun laws

CHEYENNE — State lawmakers are drafting legislation that would prevent local governments in Wyoming from passing any gun control laws, under penalty of heavy fines or even removal from office.

Currently, Wyoming law prohibits cities, counties and other local bodies from passing their own laws regulating or banning firearms, except to prevent rioting, disturbances or disorderly assemblies.

But late last year, the Casper City Council controversially banned openly carried weapons at city government meetings; the Gillette City Council shelved a similar proposal in May.

Under the legislation, which sponsors plan to file within the next couple of days, all local government gun control laws would be nullified.
Advocates of the bill said they weren’t sure how many such laws already on the books around the state would be affected.

In addition, according to the legislation, anyone who has a local gun rule enforced against them could sue for a permanent injunction and may be awarded up to $200,000. If any local official or employee knowingly passed or enforced such a law, they would be removed from office.

Supporters of the proposed bill say gun bans such as the one passed in Casper violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And they claim that the bill would close a loophole, as stopping law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms is hardly preventing a riot.

“It’s a constitutional right to bear arms, so it bothers me that they could pass things that infringe upon our rights,” said state Rep. Kendall Kroeker, R-Evansville, the bill’s sponsor.

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