WY. Gun bills update – bad news and good news
February 21, 2013 in Guns
Well, the good news is that HB103 and HB104 passed out of the senate judiciary committee. The bad news is that both bills were gutted so that the original purpose is gone. There is still a chance to get them fixed – the senate can take off the bad amendments on the floor, and if they don’t, we still get a chance in a conference committee. But it is likely that they will run out of time if the senate doesn’t fix them. The bills have to be given time on the floor of the senate by Friday or they will die due to the deadline passing this year. If they are heard on Friday and pass committee of the whole, 2nd reading will be Monday and 3rd reading Tuesday. If they pass 3rd reading with amendments, we would have to get the differences fixed by Wednesday, which right now is looking like it could be the last day of the session. If they are not fixed, time expires and the bills die. Here is a summary of what happened to the bills:
Here is what happened to HB104: The version passed out of the senate committee basically now says that the federal government can come take your guns, but the state will not assist them. So it completely lost its purpose. Please e-mail the senate and ask them to give the bill time to be heard on the floor and to remove the committee amendment and restore the bill to its original purpose.
Here is what happened to HB103: This will be a bit longer explanation. The intent of the bill is to make it clear that local government entities do not have the right to restrict our right to bear arms – all laws dealing with firearms are to be set by the state. This is to prevent a law abiding citizen from violating a gun law he doesn’t know exists because it is different from city to city. T…his is a very important concept.
I don’t think the senate committee understood this based on 2 amendments they put on the bill. The University of Wyoming said that they needed to be exempt from the bill. So the committee made them exempt. There is currently a law on the books that guns are not allowed on campus (that would have changed with HB105 which also failed). But the point of HB103 is that all of those laws are set by the state. So the law prohibiting firearms on campus is consistent with HB103 – it was a law set by the state. There should be no exceptions. The state legislature sets the law. But the second addition to the bill was worse – it gave courts the power to set gun policy in a way that greatly expands the ability they currently have. We passed a bill this session that specifically limited a judge’s power to be able to restrict firearms. The bill we passed specifically limited it to the courtroom itself. The amendment they added to this bill expanded that authority to make it so a judge is exempt from this law and can restrict firearms in entire buildings, and any area he decides is in an area affected by his current case. This completely gets away from the concept that the legislature sets the law and is a huge step in the wrong direction. At least the UW amendment wouldn’t change anything that is currently in statute.
There were a couple of minor amendments that changed the way the court handles challenges to laws that violate HB103, but those were small enough we can live with the changes. But we have to get the part about the courts removed from this bill or it could be worse than not having it at all.
I also want to add that HB103 does not give the state any authority to regulate firearms that it does not already have. It only prevents local government entities from restricting firearms rights.
I also want to thank everyone who showed up – for HB104 there was standing room only and not a single person there testified against the bill. I think that is the biggest reason it passed – but it is also the reason it was amended. The senators want to be able to say they supported the bill without supporting it. It will now reflect that they voted for the bill, but they also amended it so that it lost its purpose. These are the kinds of games that get played. If the bill is given time on the senate floor we will hopefully get a roll call vote on an amendment to restore the bill to its original purpose. That will be a clear indication of where the senate really stands.
The argument that Sen. Christensen used against the bill amazed me. He used the oath of office that law enforcement takes to uphold the constitution as the reason he could not support the bill in its original form. I think that taking an oath to uphold the Constitution is exactly the reason to support the bill. There is a reason that we take an oath to the Constitution and not to the federal government.
Here are the e-mail addresses for the senators:
Jim.Anderson.SD02@wyoleg.gov; Jim.Anderson.SD28@wyoleg.gov; Paul.Barnard@wyoleg.gov; Eli.Bebout@wyoleg.gov; Bruce.Burns@wyoleg.gov; Cale.Case@wyoleg.gov; Leland.Christensen@wyoleg.gov; Hank.Coe@wyoleg.gov; Stan.Cooper@wyoleg.gov; Bernadine.Craft@wyoleg.gov; Dan.Dockstader@wyoleg.gov; Ogden.Driskill@wyoleg.gov; Fred.Emerich@wyoleg.gov; Floyd.Esquibel@wyoleg.gov; Gerald.Geis@wyoleg.gov; John.Hastert@wyoleg.gov; Larry.Hicks@wyoleg.gov; John.Hines@wyoleg.gov; Wayne.Johnson@wyoleg.gov; Bill.Landen@wyoleg.gov; Curt.Meier@wyoleg.gov; Phil.Nicholas@wyoleg.gov; Leslie.Nutting@wyoleg.gov; Drew.Perkins@wyoleg.gov; Ray.Peterson@wyoleg.gov; Tony.Ross@wyoleg.gov; Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov; John.Schiffer@wyoleg.gov; Charles.Scott@wyoleg.gov; Michael.VonFlatern@wyoleg.gov
I would encourage you to e-mail all of them, and also send a personal e-mail to your senator asking them to restore the bill to its original purpose and pass it as it was intended.
Thanks for the support!