Senate Begins Debate On Revised Gun Bill

Mar 2, 2015

Senator Hank Coe debates the guns in schools bill.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Senate has voted to change a bill that was intended to allow guns in schools, colleges, athletic events, and government meetings.

The Senate adopted a revised bill that would leave the question of allowing firearms up to local governmental entities such as school boards.  Senator Hank Coe said that such decisions are best left to local governing bodies. 

Senator Curt Meier disagreed with the change.

“Does this optional bill set out and say we are going to do the best job that we can, as state legislators, with our police power, to protect the children of this state?  That’s the question you have to ask yourself.”

Meier said that those who commit mass shootings target gun free zones.

“It’s not a heat of passion event.  It’s people who are cold and calculated and wanting to do the most destruction possible that they can.”

But several Senators question whether armed teachers or others would offer much protection in the heat of a battle.  Senator Phil Nicholas added that people should get to decide who protects their children and said that most people would probably choose the police. 

Education Chairman Hank Coe says if students are at risk the legislature should take another approach.

“If we really believe there is some imminent threat to Wyoming school children, we should provide additional security, in a systematic, meaningful manner, and pay for it.”

The bill will be debated two more times.