Gillette Hospital Board Considers Allowing Guns In Some Areas

To get ahead of likely continued efforts to repeal Wyoming gun-free zones, the Campbell County Health board of trustees is considering lifting some firearms restrictions at the Gillette hospital.

Mark Heinz

April 09, 20244 min read

Campbell County Memorial Hospital 9 12 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Allowing firearms in Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette, or at least parts of it, could help the facility stay ahead of a cantankerous debate over Wyoming’s gun-free zones, which is sure to come up again, said the chairman of the organization’s board of trustees.

“When we can give the governor what he wants, and give the legislators what they want, and possibly give the community what they want too,” Campbell County Health Trustee chairman Alan Stuber told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

CCH is now a gun-free zone, but the topic of possibly allowing firearms in some areas of the hospital came up during the board’s recent retreat. Stuber, who is a detective with the Gillette Police Department, supports the idea.

A Policy By The Hospital, For The Hospital

During the latest session of the Wyoming Legislature, House Bill 125, which called to repeal the state’s gun-free zones, passed both chambers by a wide margin, but it was vetoed by Gov. Mark Gordon.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, previously told Cowboy State Daily that he intends to introduce a similar bill during the 2025 session.

Gordon’s central argument for his veto was that HB 125 would have amounted to a mandate from the state. That would have taken away the autonomy of local entities, such as hospital boards, to decide gun policies for themselves and their constituents.

Legislators and others who supported HB 125 argued that the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment shouldn’t be determined or restricted at the local level.

Stuber said he understands Gordon’s argument, but also understands the opposition to gun-free zones as essentially creating “soft targets” for mass killers. He is suggesting that CCH take the proactive approach of revising its firearms policy now.

Vice Chairman Tom Murphy said he agrees that it’s a discussion worth having.

“I don’t think having a sign that says ‘gun-free zone’ is any deterrent at all,” to somebody with violent intent toward hospital staff or patients, he said.

But any changes in firearms policy “has to be specific to this facility. No one facility is exactly like any other,” Murphy said.

Guns Don’t Belong In Some Places

Stuber said that based on his experience in law enforcement, he understands why firearms are restricted in some places.

“It’s illegal to carry firearms in the jail. When you arrest somebody, you have to put your gun a lock box before you can take that person into the facility,” he said. “Even our state statues say there are some places where you can’t have firearms.”

Likewise, there are some places in CCH where it would best to still ban guns, Stuber said.

For instance, the hospital would likely want to ban firearms in the mental health treatment wing, he said. Firearms should probably also be prohibited around strongly magnetic medical imaging equipment.

And in areas with of the hospital with “a high oxygen content,” discharging a handgun might cause an explosion, so those places should also remain gun-free, Stuber said.

Who Gets To Carry?

Murphy said that if the board decides to move forward with allowing firearms in some sections of CCH, the medial staff and hospital employees must have a say about who gets to be armed and where.

“There has to be a lot of careful thought put into it, and the people that we’re trying to protect need to have input on that,” he said.

It might come down to requiring that those people who volunteer to be armed undergo extensive training, Murphy said.

Thorough and repeated training is tantamount to being able to respond properly in a high-stress situation, such as possibly having to draw a handgun and fire back at a would-be mass shooter, he said.

“Until you come across a situation that you are put in, and you have to react to it, you don’t know how you will handle that,” he said.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter