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.
“In the case of a perceived event on campus where somebody is threatening and we have a law-abiding citizen with a concealed carry weapon, and they discharge that weapon and shoot your son or your daughter? Who’s liable? How do we protect that?” asked Schaffer.
UW Vice President of Governmental and Community Affairs Chris Boswell said the bill presents too many safety concerns, especially because UW’s campus includes a K-8 school. Boswell also said a recent survey revealed that most students feel safe on campus.
Sheridan Representative Mark Jennings said that feeling might just be a perception.
“Students have the perception of safety, or the feeling of safety,” said Jennings. “Would you not agree that the perception is not always a reality? And shouldn’t this committee look at the reality?”
The bill will now be debated by the full house. Another bill was supported by the Committee that would remove gun free zones from governmental meetings. That bill will also move onto the floor of the House.