A bill that would prohibit Wyoming law enforcement officers from enforcing unconstitutional federal firearms regulations was approved in its first full House review on Monday.
Senate File 102, the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” was approved by the House “committee of the whole” on Monday, send it on for a second reading on Tuesday. The “committee of the whole” is when bills returned by committees receive their first full House review.
Supporters of the bill argued it was a good compromise to protect the Second Amendment rights of Wyoming’s residents.
The bill had been criticized by some as not going far enough to protect Wyoming residents from federal overreach in the area of firearms regulations.
But supporters maintained that if nothing else, the bill was a step in the right direction to support constitutional rights.
“This is moving in the right direction,” said Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland. “Really, it comes down to what’s constitutional and who’s going to uphold that. I don’t know if any legislation is going to change that.”
Legislation had been proposed last year and again during this session that would have allowed residents to sue law enforcement agencies and government entities for enforcing what would be defined as regulations aimed at impeding Second Amendment rights.
Critics said SF102 should have been rejected in favor of the other legislation.
“It’s weakened verbiage, it’s not the bill we need to bring forward this year,” said Rep. Bill Fortner, R-Gillette.
But backers maintained SF102 had the support of law enforcement officers from around the state and was designed with their input.
“It’s a very short, sweet bill,” said Rep. Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan. “Leaving the lobbyist aspect out of this, I have yet to have a single individual from our law enforcement community … call me up and tell me they don’t want to support this.”