U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- A Wyoming Republican Party delegate is challenging a University of Wyoming ban on the carry of firearms in its facilities. The ban is enforced through trespass law. The circuit court has issued a stay on the criminal trespass proceedings, to allow the issue of the legality of the ban to be determined before the trespass case goes forward. From kpvi.com:
LARAMIE — A criminal case in Albany County Circuit Court involving the University of Wyoming’s campus gun ban has received a stay, pending a separate civil action against UW seeking to challenge the legality of that ban.
During the Wyoming State Republican Party Convention in April — hosted on the UW campus — Uinta County delegate Lyle Williams received a trespassing citation for openly carrying a firearm without permission, which is prohibited by university policy.
“Any person carrying a dangerous weapon in a University facility is required to relinquish the weapon to the UW Police Department voluntarily or upon request,” the regulation states, adding the weapon will be returned to the person upon leaving the campus, unless it’s retained as part of an investigation. “If a person carrying a dangerous weapon refuses to relinquish the weapon, the person shall be denied access to University facilities.”
Wyoming is a Constitutional carry state. That means you do not need a permit to carry a pistol, either openly or concealed. Wyoming requires a permit if you are a non-resident, but such a requirement would almost certainly be struck down as un-constitutional if challenged.
The University of Wyoming bans the carry of weapons, including firearms, in its facilities, either openly, or concealed.
To my knowledge, every state has enacted firearm preemption statutes of some kind. A firearm preemption statute prevents every little village, township, county, city, or water district from enacting their own laws, code, and regulation concerning firearms. Such a hodgepodge of regulation would make it impossible for a firearms owner to travel with a firearm, because it would be practically impossible to know whether or not they were complying with the law at any one moment. The boundaries of these entities are seldom clearly marked.
The Wyoming statute is a model of clarity. Wyoming statute § 6-8-401; From law.justia.com:
(c) The sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use and possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition shall be authorized, regulated and prohibited by the state, and regulation thereof is preempted by the state. Except as authorized by W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii), no city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use, carrying or possession of firearms, weapons, accessories, components or ammunition except as specifically provided by this chapter. This section shall not affect zoning or other ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning and other ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this section and are prohibited.
There is an exemption carved out for carrying concealed weapons at University facilities. Wyoming statute § 6-8-104(t)(x); From law.justia.com:
(t) No person authorized to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to paragraphs (a)(ii) through (iv) of this section shall carry a concealed firearm into:
(x) Any college or university facility without the written consent of the security service of the college or university;
Open carry has always been legal in Wyoming. No permit has ever been required for open carry in the state. That is likely one of the reasons delegates to the Republican convention openly carried firearms. Their purpose was to create a test case against the University regulation.
The preemption statute only mentions firearms. Non-firearm weapons are not protected. We many see the absurd result that openly carried firearms are legaly protected at University of Wyoming facilities, but stun guns, pepper spray, and are not.
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled, in Caetano v. Massachusetts, that all bearable arms are protected by the Second Amendment.
I expect the case to be appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court, no matter who wins the initial case.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.