Will Gordon Keep Campaign Promise To Sign Repeal Of Gun-Free Zones?

Then-candidate Mark Gordon promised in a Wyoming Gun Owners survey during his 2018 campaign that he’d sign legislation to eliminate gun-free zones in Wyoming. Now that bill is on his desk.

Mark Heinz

March 14, 20244 min read

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Gov. Mark Gordon’s office was as tight-lipped Thursday about his decision on a bill that would eliminate Wyoming’s gun-free zones.

But a gun rights group said they have written proof that in 2018, then-gubernatorial candidate Gordon promised that, if elected, he would sign legislation eliminating gun-free zones if he had the opportunity.

Gordon checked “yes” on a survey question from Wyoming Gun Owners that asked whether, if elected, he would sign legislation to repeal gun-free zones, according to a linked digital copy of the survey the group shared with Cowboy State Daily.

When asked by Cowboy State Daily about the 6-year-old campaign promise and provided with a link to the survey page Thursday, Gordon’s spokesman Michael Pearlman declined to comment.

Not Tipping His Hand

Past attempts have failed to pass legislation to rid Wyoming of gun-free zones, including during the Legislature’s last general session in 2023.

However, during this year’s budget session, House Bill 125, which calls to eliminate gun-free zones, sailed through both legislative chambers.

During testimony before legislative committees and discussions on the House and Senate floors, there was lively debate, with supporters and detractors of HB 125 making passionate arguments.

Opponents argued that bringing more guns into places such as college dormitories would only increase danger could lead to tragedy. They also said that HB 125 would undermine the autonomy and local control of bodies such as city councils and school districts to decide firearms policy according to the will of the people they represent.

Supporters’ arguments prevailed in the end. They said that Second Amendment rights shouldn’t be determined piecemeal at the local level. And also, that gun-free zones don’t make people safe, but rather just take away the ability of law-abiding Wyomingites to protect themselves and others.

Since HB 125 landed on Gordon’s desk Friday, his office has offered no indication of whether he’ll sign it, veto it or simply not sign in and let it pass into law.

Some legislators recently told Cowboy State Daily that they could see Gordon’s decision going in any one of those directions.

A question on a copy of a 2018 Wyoming Gun Owners survey where Mark Gordon reportedly checked "yes" in answer to a question about whether he'd sign a bill to eliminate gun-free zones.
A question on a copy of a 2018 Wyoming Gun Owners survey where Mark Gordon reportedly checked "yes" in answer to a question about whether he'd sign a bill to eliminate gun-free zones. (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Survey

Wyoming Gun Owners in 2018 surveyed all the candidates for governor, Aaron Dorr, the group’s policy director, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

That was on the heels of then-Gov. Matt Mead vetoing a 2017 bill to eliminate gun-free zones.

The page of the survey that Gordon filled out and signed shows him answering “yes” to all of the group’s questions about his stances on various firearms policies, if elected.

The first question was about gun-free zones.

“Gun free zones, falsely sold as a way to stop violent crime, have been shown to do the exact opposite,” the question’s introduction states.

The introduction also notes that, “In 2017, Governor Mead vetoed our bill to repeal these ‘Gun Fee Zones.’ This effort will resume during the 2019 session.”

Then the direct question states:

“If elected, would you sign into law legislation that repeals so called ‘Gun Free Zones,’ in areas where the state legislature has control, knowing that they only benefit armed madmen who are looking to rack up a body count?”

To which Gordon responded by checking the “Yes” box, according to the survey copy.

Gordon also checked “yes” to a question about vetoing “red-flag” legislation that could lead to confiscating guns.

His affirmation of that second question is now related to Senate File 109, which is also on his desk and deals with red-flag gun laws, Dorr said.

He Said He Would Sign

From the perspective of Wyoming Gun Owners, Gordon should make good on the promises he made in 2018 and sign HB 125 and SF 109, Dorr said.

"When he was running for office in 2018, Mark Gordon promised gun owners (in writing) that he would sign legislation into law that would repeal deadly 'gun-free zones,’” Dorr said. “Gun owners voted for him because he vowed to fight for them. Now that HB 125 is on the governor's desk, Wyoming Gun Owners members expect him to fulfill that campaign promise.

"Mark Gordon also promised to oppose red-flag gun seizures when he first ran for governor in 2018. He signed on the dotted line. SF 109 would ban red-flag laws here in Wyoming. It passed the Senate 31-0 and the House 54-8. The members of WYGO are eagerly looking forward to Governor Gordon signing this legislation, too.”

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter