Sponsored by Rep. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, and co-sponsored by 12 other lawmakers, House Bill 137 would repeal previous laws that blocked people from bringing concealed guns into government meetings, including those of the Legislature and its committees. House Bill 136, sponsored by an almost identical group of lawmakers, would allow concealed carry on all campuses and buildings of public universities and colleges. It would also allow concealed carry at university and college sporting events.
Wyoming is one of a handful of states that don't require a permit to carry a concealed firearm, though state law prohibits guns in a variety of locations, including law enforcement facilities, courtrooms, bars, schools, colleges, government meetings and any other places prohibited by federal law.
Kathy Vetter, executive director of the Wyoming Education Association, said Friday that the association opposes the campus carry bill because it jeopardizes students' safety. She also noted that many high school sports teams practice and compete at college and university facilities. If Biteman's bill were to pass, people would be able to bring guns to those games and practices.
Chris Boswell, the university's vice president for governmental and community affairs, echoed the university's previous concerns about concealed carry on campus. Boswell said the campus' certified police force gives adequate security to students and that many students are young people often living highly stressful lives.
He also noted that there is an Albany County elementary school on the university campus that serves as a laboratory for university students studying education. If the bill passed, guns could theoretically be allowed inside or at least near the school.