By Laura Hancock, Cowboy State Daily
A bill submitted to the Wyoming Legislature would prevent cities, towns, counties and state agencies from initiating gun and ammunition buyback programs.
There hasn’t been a gun or ammo buyback program in Wyoming in recent memory, if ever.
But House Bill 28 comes at a time when buyback programs have been discussed and tried in other parts of the United States. Gun rights enthusiasts became concerned when Beto O’Rourke, the one-time Democratic presidential candidate, proposed a buyback of high-powered rifles.
“It’s not really a concern right now, but if it is ever a concern where organizations such as government — whether it’s local or state — are starting to do this in Wyoming, I want to make it as painful as possible to be able to peel back our pro-gun legislation,” said sponsor Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance.
Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, said he agreed to co-sponsor the bill because he wants to protect the Second Amendment.
“My thinking on it, when I read the bill, is it’s a gun rights thing for me,” he said. “I don’t think government should get involved in going in and confiscating someone’s firearms under the Second Amendment.”
However, Rep. Sara Burlingame, D-Cheyenne, called the bill “goofy.”
She noted that the 2020 legislative session will be focused on the budget, and lawmakers are staring at diminishing revenues this year.
Non-budget legislation will need a vote of two-thirds of either the House or Senate before it can even be sent to a committee, a protocol designed to defeat many bills to keep the lawmakers focused on the two-year budget bill.
“I think our budget is in crisis,” Burlingame said. “We’re going into a budget session that’s meant to be all-hands-on-deck to deal with it. I would never question the motives of my colleagues who are sponsoring this, but I just don’t see the urgency for spending time in a budget year for a hypothetical crisis that seems very unlikely to occur.”
The legislative session begins Feb. 10.