Wyoming lawmaker reconsiders gun bill - KOTA Territory News

Wyoming lawmaker reconsiders gun bill

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A bill that would have given the State of Wyoming power over local governments for regulating possession of firearms in government buildings and schools failed in the last legislative session.  House Speaker-Elect Tom Lubnau considered that bill to be poorly worded, despite addressing important concerns.  So he promised the bill's sponsors nine months ago that he would draft a better version.

"I've researched legislation in multiple other states.  I've reviewed the language of that legislation.  I've researched statistically terroristic acts, whether they be in schools or not in schools," said Lubnau, a Republican from Gillette.

While Lubnau says his bill is not finished yet, there is the possibility that it could lead to officials carrying firearms in schools and other public buildings.

However, since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, Lubnau worries his bill would generate the wrong kind of attention and debate.  So he may hold off on introducing it.

"Legislation done on an emotional, knee-jerk reaction, I don't think is good legislation.  I don't think that you should be politicizing gun rights legislation.  I think that you should do careful, considered, measured steps, said Lubnau.

Another State House Representative, John Patton of Sheridan, agrees with Lubnau that lawmakers need to take their time when considering any changes to gun rights.

"In response to the urgency that we sometimes feel that we have to respond to, I'm in hopes that we won't be too hasty and that we'll be a little more thoughtful," said Patton, a Republican.

But when talking with some customers at a Gillette gun shop, most were in favor of letting certain officials carry firearms in government buildings and schools, citing their own safety concerns.

"I think it's a good approach.  I really do feel like the areas that we need to protect are certainly our children and other government officials," said Dan Cartwright of Gillette.

"The children go to school to learn, they don't need to go to school and be scared to death that somebody's going to come in and shoot them," said Russ Reble of Gillette.

Wyoming's lawmakers will meet to discuss any potential gun rights bills and other legislation when the next session begins on January 8.

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