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Governor Gordon Vetoes Bill That Would Eliminate Most Gun-Free Zones In The State

Gun Free Zone sign

Saying the bill, if signed into law, could violate Wyoming’s state Constitution, Governor Mark Gordon vetoed House Bill 125, which would have done away with most gun-free zones in the state.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeremey Haroldson, R-Wheatland, the bill passed the Wyoming House by a large margin.  It died in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, but was revived the next day on the Senate floor, and eventually passed in the Senate by a wide margin, according to Cowboy State Daily.

Governor Gordon rejected the bill on Friday night, after announcing he did sign other bills which were “Second-Amendment friendly.”

So Wyoming schools and local governments will continue to have the authority to say who has the right — and who doesn’t — to carry concealed weapons on their premises.

House Bill 125 would have taken gun-free zones away in Wyoming, which would allow anyone with a carry conceal permit to possess their firearms on government-owned and operated properties throughout the Cowboy State.

Although Gordon has voiced his support for Second Amendment rights many times in his two terms as governor of Wyoming, he did state in his veto letter to the secretary of state that House Bill 125 – Repeal gun free zones and pre-emption amendments “strips local “control norms by “giving sole authority to the Legislature to micromanage a constitutionally protected right.”

“Any further clarification of the law, if this bill were enacted, would augment the Legislature’s reach into local firearms regulation,” Gordon added. “The bill exceeds the separation of powers embodied in Article 2 of our Wyoming Constitution. I must, therefore, veto it.”

The move maintains the status quo in Wyoming, but sparked anger from the far right, specifically, Wyoming’s Freedom Caucus, which “condemns” the veto and is another example of how some Republicans are growing increasingly frustrated with the governor and his stance on issues.

Some who disagree with the Governor’s veto point to a survey that then-gubernatorial candidate Gordon signed in 2018, in which the a box checked “yes” was next to a question about whether he would repeal gun-free zones in Wyoming if elected, according to WyoFile.

But some groups were relieved the Governor shot down the bill.  The Wyoming Education Association celebrated the decision, saying the group was “thrilled” and “very relieved.”

President Grady Hutcherson released a statement expressing he was glad the Governor didn’t sign the bill, saying that, “Our members expressed grave concerns about the danger it would pose to students to legalize the concealed carry of deadly firearms in our public schools. Guns have no place in Wyoming schools. Period.”

Hutcherson went on to say that students, educators, as well as school employees “deserve to be safe at school and they deserve to feel safe at school.”

Since the 2024 Legislative session is over, lawmakers don’t have the ability to override Gordon’s veto.  The only way to change the Governor’s decision would be to convene a special session.  As of Saturday morning, the Wyoming Freedom Caucus has demanded that legislators do convene for a special session to reverse the Governor’s decision.


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