Restricting Gun Rights During a Crisis…

Restricting Gun Rights During a Crisis...

 

If you had told Americans a month ago that they were 30 days away from it being against the law to eat in a restaurant, go to their gym, go to a movie, or worship in their church, people would have assumed you were crazy!

And if you told people that it would be against federal guidelines to be in any group of ten or more people, they probably would have tried to have you committed!

But for Americans in a growing number of states, that’s reality.

Here in Wyoming, Governor Gordon has declared a state of emergency just a few days ago, and that has WYGO members wondering exactly how far Governor Gordon’s authority extends.

We have received dozens of requests on the limits of Governor Gordon’s authority, specifically in regard to his ability to curtail our Second Amendment freedoms.

It’s a reasonable question to ask.

After all, municipalities in Illinois are passing ordinances that suspend your right to buy or transport a firearm –- effectively outlawing concealed carry.

The Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, did the exact same thing earlier this week.

More jurisdictions are considering doing the same thing.

(The city ordinance that just took effect in New Orleans, effectively banning the sale and transportation/carrying of firearms, part of a political response to the coronavirus.)

But in this instance, we have fantastic news to give you.

In a nutshell: there is no legal way that Governor Gordon or any other government official at the state, county or municipal level can take any action that would curtail your right to own, carry, transport or use a firearm after an emergency declaration.

That’s because Wyoming law specifically limits the power of the government here in Wyoming to ‘suspend’ your Second Amendment freedom.

Prior to this, the Governor or other officials could (on paper) suspend your right to own or use firearms during a disaster declaration, like we all witnessed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

But not any longer.

Wyoming code section 19-13-101 says:

(E) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to confer upon the governor, the director, the executive heads or governing bodies of the political subdivisions of the state, sheriffs, chiefs of police or any employee or agent of the state or any governmental unit within the state the power to:

(1) Confiscate a firearm from a person, unless:

(a) The person is in unlawful possession of the firearm as provided in title 6 of the Wyoming statutes;

(b) The person is unlawfully carrying the firearm as provided in title 6 of the Wyoming statutes; or

(c) The firearm is confiscated by a peace officer who is acting in the lawful discharge of his duties and under the reasonable belief that the confiscation is necessary for the protection of the peace officer, the person carrying the firearm or a third party. The peace officer shall
return the firearm to the person before discharging the person unless the officer arrests that person for engaging in criminal activity or seizes the firearm as evidence pursuant to an investigation for the commission of a crime.

(2) Impose additional restrictions as to the lawful possession, transfer, sale, carrying, storage, display or use of:

(A) Firearms;

(B) Ammunition; or

(C) Components of firearms or ammunition.

In other words, unless you’re unable to own a firearm because you are prohibited due to a criminal conviction, there is no way for your gun rights to be curtailed by the Wyoming government, even during an emergency declaration.

As you saw, this law covers the Governor, mayors, citycouncils, sheriffs’ departments, state police, county commissioners, and any governmental body or official here in Wyoming!

To be clear, we have heard of no cases of any level of government in Wyoming talking about trying to curtail our gun rights at this time.

But with new sensational actions being taken by the hour, we wanted to make sure that you had these facts.

If you hear of any violations of this code section, whether that be your town mayor, sheriff’s department, or any other governmental unit, please let us know immediately.

In a few days, we’ll be releasing a video recap of the 2020 legislative session. So keep an eye on your inbox.

To become a member of Wyoming Gun Owners, go here.

For Wyoming,

Aaron Dorr
Policy Advisor
Wyoming Gun Owners

P.S. The sweeping travel and other restrictions placed on Americans in a growing number of states over the past few days has Wyomingites asking about the limitation that Governor Gordon can place on our gun rights.

As you’ll see above, that is one problem that we don’t have to worry about!

Stay tuned for our video update, recapping the 2020 legislative session that will be coming out soon.

To become a member of Wyoming Gun Owners, go here.

 

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