Wyoming House Refuses To Concur With Senate Gun Amendment
The Wyoming House of Representatives has overwhelmingly refused to go along with changes senators made to a bill that would allow the concealed carrying of firearms into government meetings in the state.
The bill will now have to go to a conference committee, which will try to hammer out a bill that both houses can agree on. That would allow the final version of the bill to be sent to Governor Matt Mead.
The issue is an amendment that senators attached to House Bill 137 that would exempt government meetings held at venues which already have a ban on handguns.
During debate on that issue earlier this week, supporters of the amendment said they were concerned about legislative meetings held on the campus of the University of Wyoming or any of the state's community colleges.
Carrying concealed weapons onto college campuses in Wyoming is currently illegal, and a proposal to change that, House Bill 136, was recently voted down in the Senate.
But House members debating a concurrence vote on Tuesday afternoon were not pleased with the amendment. Republican Rep.
Republican Rep.Tyler Lindholm of Crook and Weston Counties called the amendment a "clear poison pill" that would essentially gut the bill and force lawmakers to deal with the idea of guns at government meetings again.
Laramie County Republican Dan Zwonitzer said the amendment would mean every Wyoming governing body except the legislature would allow concealed firearms at meetings.
The Jonah Business Center, where lawmakers are meeting while the state Capitol Building is renovated, bans concealed firearms. The legislature is expected to continue meeting there for the next 2-3 years.
Zwonitzer says even when lawmakers do return to the Capitol Building, a ban on concealed weapons would still be in effect because concealed weapons are not allowed on with the basement or first floors.
Since all of the building's entrances are on those floors, it would be impossible to legally carry a concealed weapon into the building, which is where the legislature will meeting after the renovation project is completed.
The House vote against concurrence was 56-4.
The House also appointed Representatives Bo Biteman (R-Sheridan County), Jared Olsen (R-Laramie County), and John Freeman (D-Sweetwater County) as it's representatives on the Joint Conference Committee that will try to reach an agreement with senators on a bill both houses can support.