As Other States Tighten Gun Laws, Wyoming’s Should Be Even Looser, Advocates Say

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By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
Mark@CowboyStateDaily.com

What does a Wyomingite call the average Texan’s gun collection? 

A “starter kit.”

It may be true that Wyoming is widely recognized as one of the most gun friendly states, but it could be even friendlier, say some Second Amendment rights advocates. 

Meanwhile, Oregon’s new restrictions on firearms most likely won’t pass Constitutional muster, Mark Jones of Buffalo, director of hunter programs for Gun Owners of America, told Cowboy State Daily. 

“They’ve not even got the processes in place to implement the new laws (in Oregon), even if it was constitutional,” Jones said. 

Magazine Ban, Required Permits

Measure 114 barely squeaked by Oregon voters last month by a margin of 51% to 49%.

It requires a permit to buy firearms, mandatory safety training classes and a ban on magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. It was set to take effect Dec. 8.

The measure met immediate pushback. GOA has filed lawsuits against it, claiming it violates the Second Amendment as well as the Oregon Constitution, Jones said. 

The case came before Harney County, Oregon, Judge Robert S. Raschio on Dec. 6, and he temporarily blocked Measure 114 from taking effect, according to news reports. A hearing on the matter is set for Dec. 23. 

“We’re seeking an injunction in federal court to suspend it longer-term,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, “People in Oregon are buying firearms and magazines in record numbers,” he said. 

The Challenges

The ammunition magazine ban is probably the most onerous part of the measure, requiring permits and mandatory firearms and training courses – for which gun buyers would have to pay – also are troublesome, he said. 

While it’s widely agreed that new gun owners should get proper training, it’s GOA’s stance that trying to force it by law is unconstitutional, Jones said. 

“You’re going to say, ‘You have to meet our (government) training standards to exercise your constitutional right’, and we think that’s unconstitutional,” he said. 

It might also be logistically impossible for Oregon law enforcement agencies to meet the requirements of processing applications for gun-buying permits, Jones said, and that’s further eroding Measure 114’s chances of succeeding.

“We feel really good about the Oregon case,” he said. “I think if the Oregon court goes the wrong way on this, they run the risk of being slapped down the by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Wyoming Gun Rights Not Bulletproof

Wyoming is most certainly gun country. It’s frequently listed among the most armed states per capita. 

Both open and concealed carry of firearms is allowed without a permit here – although some businesses, agencies and institutions may implement their own restrictions, or even declare “gun free” zones. 

That means things could be better, GOA and a Wyoming group affiliated with the National Rifle Association claim. 

A representative of the NRA-affiliated Wyoming State Shooting Association would not comment directly when contacted by Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday, but noted the group’s stance is posted online.

That could include allowing properly qualified people to concealed carry on school campuses, for instance. 

GOA also opposes “gun-free zones” in Wyoming and elsewhere, Jones said. 

It’s unlikely that anything like Measure 114 could gain traction with Wyoming voters, he said, but that doesn’t mean Wyomingites can take their gun rights for granted. 

“People here still need to be vigilant, because there’s a big push from the federal government to push gun control on the states,” Jones said. 

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