This week HB 125, otherwise known as “Repeal gun free zones and preemption amendments,” passed out of the Wyoming House and will head to the state Senate.
This bill, which would allow guns just about everywhere — including K-12 schools, government and public meetings, athletic events on public property, colleges, universities, and more is extremely concerning.
Lawmakers should take a close look at how it eliminates power from local governments, school districts, and state officials and reserves it for the legislature alone.
HB 125 is poorly written and poorly conceived. Simply put, it is extreme and riddled with unintended consequences. We urge our State Senators not to support this bill.
Notably, it repeals Wyoming’s prohibition on guns in several sensitive locations that have been specifically protected by the Supreme Court. HB 125 also takes significant control away from school boards and universities, only allowing them to make limited rules about who can or cannot carry or store guns on campus.
In addition, the bill would make the state legislature the only body allowed to regulate firearms. No other state agency, not even the Governor, would be able to weigh in if it passes. This measure — in addition to the fact that the bill would allow firearms into all public meetings, posing a considerable threat to anyone with views opposing those carrying said guns — is undemocratic.
Research has shown repeatedly that the presence of guns does not make public places safer. The numbers in Wyoming are stark:
Wyoming has the third highest rate of gun deaths in America and one of the highest gun suicide rates, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, it had the highest gun suicide rate overall.
Wyoming also has among the highest rates of gun ownership in America and some of the country’s weakest gun laws.
Gun violence costs Wyoming $1.9 billion annually. Taxpayers foot the bill for $16.6 million of that sum.
The data on mass shootings – in which four or more people were killed – shows that the eight of the 10 deadliest occurred in locations that allowed guns or had armed guards.
Current Wyoming law allows local governments and agencies to make the right choices for their communities and provides strong Constitutional protections for the right to bear arms in addition to reasonable protections for public safety. HB 125 would strip all of that. It must not become law.
Erika Cole, Cheyenne, volunteer chapter lead Wyoming Moms Demand Action
Danielle Shapiro, Jackson, volunteer communications lead Wyoming Moms Demand Action