State Sen. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, sponsored Senate File 120, which allows some non-violent felons to own guns. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

Gordon Signs Bill Giving Guns Rights Back To Non-Violent Felons

in Guns/News/Legislature

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By Clair McFarland, Courts And Crime Reporter

Wyoming’s governor Friday signed into law a bill restoring gun and other civil rights for non-violent felons five years after their sentences are complete.  

Senate File 120 expands an existing state law allowing non-violent felons to regain their voting rights. Now those same felons in Wyoming also can regain rights to serve on juries, run for public office and own a gun five years after completing their sentences.  

Gordon’s spokesman Friday said the governor does not want to comment on his decision to sign SF 120 into law.  

SF 120 created controversy while being debated in the Wyoming House of Representatives last month when some pro-gun delegates disputed a portion of it that takes away non-violent felons’ gun rights. The law creates a state misdemeanor for non-violent felons to have or use firearms.  

But before its passage, there was only a prohibition in federal, not state, law preventing felons from having guns.  

Some Republicans called the change in classifying offenses “secret gun control.”

The bill’s sponsor Sen. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, however, said the new prohibition ties back to a federal law giving states the ability to restore gun rights only when the state has taken them away.

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