Wyoming House battles over whether to ban firearms in court buildings, fails to pass bill

February 23rd, 2012 by Bill Raftery Leave a reply »

Last week’s Gavel to Gavel publication focused on efforts to allow more people to carry guns into courthouses. Wyoming’s HB 70 was not listed (having just been introduced) but it does give a microcosm of the conflict over the subject. In sum,

Proponents of loosening restrictions point to the Second Amendment and the U.S. Supreme Court cases of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago to argue that such bans should be eliminated or restricted to the absolute minimum (i.e. the courtroom). Opponents argue that the tense circumstances of cases and the constant concern of judges, court staff, and others being shot by irate litigants weigh against such expansions.

HB 70, as introduced in the Wyoming House, specified no person shall carry or possess a firearm beyond the secured entrance to any building containing a courtroom, or the secured entrance to designated parts thereof, during such times that such secured entrance has 1) a guard, 2) signs noting the prohibition on carrying, and 3) a magnetometer, x-ray, access device (such as card-access), or locked doors.

After meeting approval in the House Judiciary Committee, a floor fight ensued over limiting the restriction to courtrooms rather than courthouses or court buildings. Floor amendment 2 would have deleted all references to courthouses/buildings and replaced with courtrooms. The amendment was approved February 20 but failed on a vote for final passage on a 20-39 vote on February 22.

2 comments

  1. A. Bouchard says:

    This bill was targeting “county buildings”. For example in the Laramie county (Cheyenne) complex building — metal detectors and sheriff officers man the entrance to the court house. This is inside the main lobby entrance of the complex. Proponents of this so-called “security measure” want to move the existing check point to the front door of the complex entrance. Once again politicians seeking to fix something that isn’t broke.