As the Wyoming Legislature considers several bills that would make it easier to carry firearms in public spaces, there’s evidence that those practices make things worse, a gun control advocate said.
“We’ve seen things like guns routinely being left in bathrooms on campuses,” Andy Pelosi told Cowboy State Daily.
As executive director of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, which is based in New York State, Pelosi was answering what he claims are flawed arguments from Wyoming concealed-carry advocates who have said that the loosening of concealed carry restrictions in other states hasn’t caused problems.
Causes More Problem Than It Solves?
Allowing firearms on college campuses has led to problems and even some tragedies, Pelosi said. That has included more suicides or perpetrators using firearms to force sexual assaults.
It generally isn’t allowed on the University of Wyoming Campus. Students or staff may carry at UW only if they’ve obtained a special permit from university police for some pressing reason, such as being stalked.
Some of the incidents in Colorado that Keep Guns off Campus cites include student gunshot suicides in 2008 and 2017 and an accidental shooting on the CU-Denver campus in 2012.
And in 2017 at Fort Collins Community College, “A 26-year-old female student pulled a loaded gun on her professor after he confronted her about cheating,” according to one of the studies cited.
Overall, allowing guns on campuses and other previously gun-free public spaces isn’t shown to diminish crime, but instead increases the number of incidents such as suicides, threats and accidental shootings, Pelosi said.
The Associated Students of the University of Wyoming opposes allowing concealed carry on campus, the group’s representative, Caitlin Heddins, told legislators during a recent discussion of one of the firearms-related bills.
Still A Good Idea, Some Say
However, advocates for the bills – House Bill 105 and Senate File 135 – argue that it violates the Second Amendment rights of Wyoming residents to not allow concealed carry into government buildings, government meetings and the like.
They contend that gun-free zones simply create “soft targets” for mass shooters or others with ill intent.
New ‘Capitol Carry’ Bills
A pair of new bills introduced to the Wyoming Senate on Monday would help allow concealed carry in the Wyoming Capitol building, where civilians are now prohibited from having firearms.
Senate File 149 would create an “enhanced concealed carry permit.” The current Wyoming concealed permitting process does not require applicants to take any actual firearms handling or live-fire training. Instead, they take only classroom or online courses.
Under the bill, those regular concealed carry permits would still be available. But for people wishing to take it to another level, enhanced concealed carry permit training would entail hands-on firearms safety courses, as well as live-fire training and qualification sessions.
Under Senate File 150, people who had obtained the enhanced concealed carry permits would be allowed to concealed carry their firearms in the Capitol.