Wyoming lawmakers react predictably to Newtown

By Jim Stanford on January 11, 2013

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The scene at the Capitol.

First came a bill to designate an official state gun.

Then another, inexplicably sponsored by Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff, R-Jackson, to exempt guns from sales tax.

And now House Bill 104, which would make any federal attempt at gun control, no matter how reasonable and justified, unenforceable in Wyoming. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, who represents Wilson and Hoback.

Not to be left out of all the rootin’ and tootin’ over shootin’, Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson, is among the sponsors of yet another bill that would prohibit towns and counties from regulating firearms.

Then there’s the “Citizens’ and Students’ Self-Defense Act,” which would permit concealed weapons inside elementary and secondary schools and at any school, college or professional athletic event.

As usual, The Onion makes a forceful and sane counterargument.

Update 1/13: Co-sponsors Petroff and Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, filed their bill two days before the Newtown massacre and could not withdraw it.

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Posted under Crime, Politics, Republican Party, Wyoming Legislature

20 Comments so far

  1. D January 11, 2013 10:51 pm

    If only the stats backed up anti gun nonsense. If New York wants to ban guns let them, along with any other state. I will proudly live in a state that allows me to own my guns. Rember what happened in casper the gun laws worked… So he shot them with a bow. People are the problem, not the weapons.

    Don’t forget that little thing called the constitution. I know Libs hate it but there is a proper way to change it, and if new gun laws are so popular go about changing it the right way. That goes for both Dems and Republicans

  2. Paul January 12, 2013 8:14 am

    Welcome to Wild World of Brain Dead Legislators kissing the gun folks white butts!!!!!

  3. Chad January 12, 2013 9:46 am

    Interesting that government buildings remain so woefully unprotected. Surely Keith or Ruthann will help facilitate the unfettered return of weapons to places of lawmaking so they too can be safe. Focusing on schools and sporting events first is true selflessness. Three cheers!

  4. Josh January 12, 2013 5:43 pm

    OK. We all know Jim is left of Center. That’s fine. Everybody has an opinion. Jim’s is just as valid as mine.

    However, I remember being told that allowing guns in the national parks would result in all sorts of horrible events. As far as I can tell, the rate of gun violence in national parks hasn’t changed all that much.

    The Left is just as irrational as the Right.

    I seriously doubt that the lawmakers want Bad Folks, or Mentally Ill ones, to have easy access to weapons. House Bill 104 is just posturing as is Ruth Ann’s idea. The State can still regulate gun sales and use. Keith would probably like to see consistency in laws instead of every town in Wyoming having their own set of books. Makes sense to me.

  5. joe January 13, 2013 8:22 am

    I think most democrats, Independents, and republicans would consider comparing guns to guerrillas as quite juvenile.

  6. jd January 13, 2013 3:11 pm

    Hey D. I usually read your posts with amusement but not this time. I’m a liberal that loves his country and supports the Constitution.I bet you didnt say a word when W trampled the Bill of Rights (do you even know that’s part of the Constitution as well?) or do you think it stops at the 2nd anmendment? Not one state is seeking ban guns. The Federal Government has every righ to regulate what type of firearm you can own.What part of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness do those kids in Newtown get to enjoy while the NRA gets a kickback for every high capacity mag sold in the US? The NRA opposes all backround checks and closing the gun show loophole. Whats that got to do with the 2nd amendment?Hows about locking up these guns so they dont fall into the hands of kids and lunitics? Next time a five year old is killed by a gun his friend got out of his daddys nightstand head on down to the morgue and give the parents a lecture on the Constitution. Peace

  7. jd January 13, 2013 3:56 pm

    PS My gun is locked up were my kids will never get it.

  8. Jim Stanford January 13, 2013 8:19 pm

    I spoke with Ruth Ann from Cheyenne tonight, and she said she felt sick about the Newtown shootings. Here is a statement from her:

    “This bill was drafted and filed before the Newtown tragedy. As you know, there have been several firearms bills filed in the Wyoming Legislature in response to that incident. The sponsor, Dan Zwonitzer, and I never intended this bill to be considered in that context and we have asked the committee chairman to hold the bill back, meaning not to put it up for consideration.”

  9. JFish January 13, 2013 8:23 pm

    My guns are also locked up. And no, I don’t think the government has any business regulating my guns.By the way, that’s what the Germans did back in the Hitler days. They have a hard enough time regulating other things. Have you ever been to a DMV in a town over 10K people? And just wait until you have to call a 1-800 number to discuss your !#%&#$ up doctor bill.

  10. j January 14, 2013 7:22 am

    From someone who works in advertising, I find very laughable that people like QT think their movies don’t affect people.

    Just some food for thought: If a thirty second commercial can make you want to buy a bag of chips, what is and hour half/two hour movie capable of doing?

  11. Tater January 14, 2013 9:03 am

    Tighter regulations make sense, but a complete ban on certain weapons is not the solution. The problem that must be addressed is the rampent violence that is prevelant in our society. From movies, video games, sports we are subjected to gross amounts of violence and it’s no wonder the youth of today are desensitised to it and many adults promote it. We need to take a good look in the mirror and realize these horrific events stem from the our culture of violence and not from the tools used to implement this violence.

  12. D January 14, 2013 9:49 am

    @jd
    I guess you’re not very good reading comprehension?

    First off I said many times W was one the worst president in history, and I did speak out when he trampled the bill of rights. If you kept reading, you would have seen the part where I said that goes for Dems and Republicans.
    I am 100% ok with new common sense gun law and regulations, specifically the ones you mention. Gun show loop holes, and background checks on private gun sales. I ‘m not a right wing drone your assumption is very inaccurate. I voted for Obama the last two elections and I can’t stand the NRA.
    For the record New York is looking at bans on several types of guns and magazines. I am all for state’s rights so like I said, let them do it. I was being serious. The federal government is incapable of managing anything effectively.
    The 2nd amendment is very clear, trying to interpret it to fit your argument only make you less credible.
    I am not a conspiracy theorist who thinks the government is after me, I dislike what both parties are doing right now. We can increase regulations and background checks, but at the end of the day there are 300 million guns in this county and that will never change. I suggest everyone realizes this so they can protect their own “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness “.
    I feel horrible for the kids and families in Newton, Colorado, VT and everywhere else that tragedy has struck. If anything can be done to stop it from happening again I am all for it. I just disagree with you on how we stop it. The assault weapons ban didn’t work last time and won’t work this time. Cities like Chicago with the strictest gun laws also have some of the highest murder rates. A serious look at mental health issues, background checks, loop holes etc., are all good ideas. Let’s just make sure the facts actually enter the discussion.

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Benjamin Franklin,

  13. Larry January 14, 2013 5:37 pm

    The Newtown Massacre was perpetrated by a mentally ill man. It was initiated when his mother tried to have him committed. The guns he used are irrelevant. Many people knew the man was ill yet nothing was done about it. That’s the problem. Not the guns. Guns are just tools. You can put a loaded gun on a shelf, and if no one touches it, it will never hurt anybody. Just like you can have a computer on a desk, and if no one touches it, it will never create a stupid post.

    If banning guns worked, Detroit, Chicago, LA and New York would be just as safe as we are here in Wyoming.

    England is an island and they can’t keep guns from being smuggled there. What hope do we have? England banned all guns and gun violence is on the rise there.

  14. Chad January 14, 2013 9:15 pm

    Thats pretty misleading Larry. The UKs rate of murder by firearm is about 1/10th that of the US. They’re top 5 in the world per capita. Im guessing its so low that a single shootout would materially affect their statistic.

    Regarding the ‘only fools blame tools’ argument championed by rhodes scholar Theodore J Nugent, Esq. and the like, this logic could be applied to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, right?

    And someone please compare a major US city to Wyoming again. If possible, also confuse correlation with causation. I need a laugh before bed. If not, ill instead drift off thinking about a muzzle loader schoolroom rampage, and how much less 1st grader brain matter would be splattered on the arts and crafts wall. Sweet dreams, noble defenders of our infallible Constitution.

  15. Larry January 15, 2013 8:34 am

    Chad, yes it could be applied to nuclear weapons. Only a fool would loose a nuclear weapon in this day and age. But the fact is, some PERSON would have to push the button on the nuke. Else wise it’s just a tool in the drawer.
    The fact that the UK has a murder by firearm rate that is 1/10th that of the US wasn’t the point. The point is that it is going up despite more and more restrictions. Meaning, restrictions DON’T WORK!

    The constitution isn’t infallible. The framers understood that and made provisions to have it changed. We’ve changed it multiple times in over 200 years. Sometimes we screwed up when we changed it i.e prohibition. We figured it out and changed it back.

    The causes of violence are many and varied. A big portion of the problem is the breakdown of the traditional family and the lack of discipline instilled in children from an early age. I’m willing to bet that a constant exposure to violence with no apparent consequences is a major contributor as well.

  16. David January 17, 2013 7:14 am

    I think we should have background checks for people entering movie theaters.

    I never did like Spaghetti Westerns.

  17. Chad January 18, 2013 4:05 pm

    Equivocating a thermonuclear device with a potato peeler is disingenuous at best, insanely stupid at worst.

    Why is GB’s rate 1/10th that of the US? That’s my point.

    Remind me where the instructions on how to change the constitution can be found.

    I will agree that the causes of violence are many, but the common denominator is almost always a concealed, portable, high capacity, high fire-rate and/or high-caliber firearm.

  18. Larry January 22, 2013 9:02 am

    Now Chad, You’re the one who brought Nukes into the discussion.

    “but the common denominator is almost always a concealed, portable, high capacity, high fire-rate and/or high-caliber firearm.” How is this a CAUSE of violence? It may be a common tool of violent people, but it isn’t the CAUSE of the violence. The person who decides to be violent is the CAUSE of the violence.

    The murder rate in GB is 1/5 that of the US
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/oct/10/world-murder-rate-unodc
    I believe there are a lot of reasons other than firearms availability. Switzerland requires all households holding military age men and women to have military firearms. Look at their murder rate.

    It’s lower than GB. .7 per 100,000 as opposed to 1.2 per 100,000.

    Harvard University found this:
    http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/

    This is how the constitution is amended:
    What are four ways to formally amend the Constitution?
    Answer:

    a. First Method — Amendment is proposed by Congress by a two-thirds vote in both houses, then ratified by three-fourths of the State legislatures (38 of 50)(27 adopted).

    b. Second Method — Amendment is proposed by Congress by a two-thirds vote in both houses, then ratified by special conventions in three-fourths of the States (38 of 50)(Only repeal of prohibition, i.e., 21st Amendment adopted in this fashion).

    c. Third Method — Amendment is proposed at a national convention when requested by two-thirds of the State legislatures (34 of 50), then ratified by three-fourths of the State legislatures (38 of 50).

    d. Fourth Method — Amendment is proposed at a national convention called by Congress when requested by two-thirds of the State legislatures (34 of 50), then ratified by special conventions held in three-fourths of the States (38 of 50).

  19. Chad January 22, 2013 1:08 pm

    My point was: the instructions for changing the constitution are found in the constitution. Its a classic catch 22 – esp. in this environment.

    I dare someone to read up on Switzerland and look how heavily regulated the firearm ownership is. I’d be absolutely fine emulating them, but the right would lose its shit if we suggested half those measures. Plus Larry, you’re guilty of questioning causation in the UK example, but then move on to claim causation in the Swiss example. Which is it?

    I brought the nuke in because its representative of escalation. If fewer/weaker weapons make us less safe, and more/powerful weapons make us more safe, the argument extrapolates that the ubiquity of the most powerful weapons makes us most safe. No one pro-assault rifle has addressed this logical flaw.

    Finally, I agree you’re partly right with the cause-of-violence claim. It starts with people. People who are then incredibly well equipped to maximize their intent. Is it easier to get inside the minds of 310 million people pre-massacre, or apply sensible limits to weaponry? Anyway, gotta run, another school just got shot up in Texas. Or as the NRA calls it; Tuesday.

  20. Larry January 22, 2013 3:57 pm

    Nut cases with weapons does not make anyone safe. No matter what the weapon is. Can we agree on that?

    My point, in the most clearly stated way that I know how is “More guns doesn’t equate to more violence”

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