guns in schools

Last winter, the Uinta County School Board voted to allow teachers and staff to carry guns in schools. But now a judge has blocked that decision, saying the school board didn’t follow Wyoming’s rules for policymaking under the Wyoming Administrative Procedures Act. Sweetwater County Judge Nena James ruled last week the board should have posted the proposal 45 days before voting on it.

Brett Levin / www.flickr.com/photos/scubabrett22/6153306342

Educators, district administrators, law enforcement and public officials from across the state came together for a summit in Cheyenne Wednesday to discuss school safety.

The Federal Commission on School Safety will make a stop in Cheyenne for a public listening session. This is one of four sessions happening across the country to gather views on how to make schools safer. Similar events have already happened in Washington, DC and Lexington, Kentucky.

Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks high schoolers about their risky behavior - anything from drug use to bringing weapons to school. For at least one behavior our region’s youth has a high score.

 


Layout by Tennessee Watson

School staff in Wyoming can now carry concealed weapons, on a district by district basis. A bill passed during the 2017 state legislative session gave school boards the power to decide if guns should be a part of security protocol. So far two communities, Cody and Evanston, have taken advantage of the new law. But in Evanston people like Sheila McGuire are pushing back.

Courtesy of the Cody Firearms Musuem

Recently the Cody Firearm Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West hosted a number of museum curators who have major gun collections. The topic of conversation centered on the ethics of firearms and the role of curators in educating the public about guns. 

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

Uinta County School District #1 passed a policy in March that allows staff to carry guns in schools as a safety measure. But at this week’s meeting, the board was presented with a petition calling for a halt to implementation of the policy, which is currently set to take effect in July.

Tennessee Watson / Wyoming Public Radio

On the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High school shooting, students at Laramie High School joined young people across the country who walked out to make their voices heard on gun reform.  

Katie Kvenild was the first student in her 9th grade biology to stand up and head towards the door for the 10 am walk out. She said despite her strong commitment to her beliefs, she was still nervous.

Kamila Kudelska

Cody is now the second school district in Wyoming to put guns in the hands of teachers and staff. Unlike Uinta County School District #1, which passed the policy in two months, Park County School District #6 took well over eight months. But what now?

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Gun regulation is currently a hot topic as school shootings keep on grabbing national attention. And not one political side can agree whether guns are already too regulated or are not regulated nearly enough. In order to take a step back and understand where we are now as a country with gun regulation, Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska spoke with two gun historians. 

ill Tallen, a supporter of the policy, speaks to the board before the final vote.
Kamila Kudelska

Tuesday night, the Park County District #6 school board in Cody voted to allow teachers to carry guns. This comes after a long debate in the community as to whether this is the right way to protect schools.

Snapchat

The Powell police department said it received a report that some middle school-aged students were discussing shooting up schools on the social media app Snapchat over the weekend.

Law enforcement notified Powell Middle School administrators, and on district superintendent, Jay Curtis sent a press release to parents and teachers. He said, “action has been taken, the threat has been averted.”

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people are expected at rallies for gun control across the country. And no one is speaking louder than those who inspired the rallies and who feel they have the most at stake: teens.

school board meeting
Kamila Kudelska

The Park County School District #6 School Board's proposed policy to allow school employees to conceal carry is now up for a third and final reading. 

Cortney Borer in Centennial, Wyoming.
Maggie Mullen

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of teens are expected to march on Washington D.C. and around the country, calling for gun control. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with two students in Montana and Wyoming who do not plan to march, and are worried gun control reform could change their way of life.

Tennessee Watson

Students across Wyoming participated Wednesday in the #NationalSchoolWalkout movement. At Central High in Cheyenne, over 200 students gathered at 10 a.m., occupying the school’s commons for 17 minutes;  one minute for each student who died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.

Screenshot from the UCSD#1 Board YouTube

Uinta County School District #1 voted late Tuesday evening to put guns in the hands of teachers and staff. The district is the first in Wyoming to act on legislation passed last year to let local school districts decide whether to permit concealed carry in schools.

Cody School District Logo
park6.org

As the question of arming school staff enters the national debate, Park County District #6 School Board is pushing forward in seeing whether this is the right policy for its community.

The board will vote this month on a second reading of the CKA Personnel Authorized to Carry policy, which allows school employees to conceal carry. At the first reading, the board chair, Kelly Simone, said it would be premature and unfair to vote against the policy until the board reviewed the results of a community survey.

Wyoming Department of Education

Following the recent shootings in Florida and Kentucky, educators and policymakers across the country are asking questions about school safety and security. Last year Wyoming’s state legislature made it possible for local school boards to decide as a community whether or not to arm trained staff.

Guns in Walmart
Bob Beck

This year the Wyoming Legislature is dealing with a couple of pro-gun bills. So what else is new? It seems like lawmakers are discussing gun bills all the time, but supporters of the legislation say that’s because there are still self-defense and safety issues that need to be resolved.  

A school classroom with desks and a chalkboard
CC0 Creative Commons

When school shootings occur, the country collectively asks: what needs to happen to keep students safe? What does it take to identify students who are struggling and get them support? Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson sat down with University of Wyoming Professor of Counseling's Mary Alice Bruce and graduate student Ken Hilton to talk about how school counselors fit into the conversation about safe schools.

The Wyoming Senate made major changes to a bill that would allow someone to use deadly force if their life is in danger or they face the threat of bodily harm. 

The biggest change to the Stand Your Ground Bill removed immunity from prosecution and civil liability for someone who uses deadly force. Senator Drew Perkins says his amendment moves the bill closer to what other states are doing. Senator Anthony Bouchard said the Perkins amendment guts the bill. He added that people in Wyoming have gone to prison for just defending themselves.

"New Hampshire open carry 2009" by Lucio Eastman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

During the Wyoming Legislature’s most recent session, lawmakers passed a bill to give school boards the option to allow guns in K-12 schools under certain circumstances, and the school board in Lander is beginning to consider what to do with the new option. 

 

Wyoming LSO

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a pair of gun bills and defeated another. 

The Senate voted down allowing concealed guns on the University of Wyoming and community college campuses, but supported allowing guns at government meetings and voted to allow K-12 school boards to decide if some personnel should be allowed to have concealed weapons in schools. 

Wikimedia Commons

Two bills that would remove gun free zones in public places were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The first bill, House Bill 136, would  allow those with concealed carry permits to legally carry guns on the University of Wyoming and Community College campuses, including sporting events.

Supporters of the bill said that allowing people to carry guns will make the campuses safer. Many argued that it would especially provide protection for women.

People with concealed carry permits could soon be able have guns on college campuses, in certain schools, and in government meetings.  

The Wyoming House of Representatives overwhelming supported all three bills Wednesday. The only serious debate surrounded whether concealed carry should be allowed on the University of Wyoming campus. 

House Minority Leader Cathy Connolly is a UW professor. She says the bill takes away local control by forcing the University to accept guns. Connolly says a number of faculty are worried about the bill.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming House of Representatives is debating three bills that would allow concealed weapons in places where they are currently banned.

One bill allows concealed carry permit holders to have guns on the University of Wyoming campus, including athletic events. The House had a lengthy discussion over whether UW trustees should be allowed to declare parts of the campus off limits to guns. That amendment failed. Casper Representative Bunky Loucks says having guns on campus will keep it safe.

Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming’s House Judiciary Committee moved a bill forward to remove gun free zones on college and university campuses across the state, voting six to three in favor of the measure.

Supporters of the bill said it would help gun owners better protect themselves and others, specifically in the case of an active shooter.

University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols has come out against the bill, as well as Laramie County Community College’s President Joe Schaffer. He said he would prefer a more comprehensive solution to campus safety.

People could carry concealed firearms into legislative, city council and County Commissioner meetings under a bill approved by the Wyoming House of Representatives. 

The House easily passed the bill Tuesday after rejecting an amendment by Democrat Charles Pelkey that local government agencies should get to decide if they want concealed weapons at their meetings. Pelkey said he was trying to make a bad bill better.

Wikimedia Commons

The Wyoming legislature will once again debate whether to allow concealed guns in some gun free zones. The House of Representatives voted to consider a bill that would allow citizens to bring concealed guns to the legislative session, committee meetings, and any other government meetings. 

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