Wyo. considers pre-emptive strike on federal gun control

By Dave Cawley | Posted - Jan 11th, 2013 @ 10:34am

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers in Wyoming are considering a pre-emptive attack against possible new federal gun control laws.

If passed, HB0104 would declare any federal law limiting access to semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity magazines unenforceable in that state.

Also, federal agents trying to enforce their laws would be subject to felony charges.

Republican Wyoming Rep. Kendell Kroeker is the sponsor of the proposed legislation. He said he's received more than 100 emails about the bill since it appeared online Wednesday.

"I had one person against it and every other email was from someone thanking me for supporting their Second Amendment rights," he said.

About a dozen of those comments came from outside of Wyoming.

"I know that I've heard from people in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Utah, Colorado," and others, Kroeker said. Some of those supporters have reportedly expressed interest in having their own states pursue similar legislation.

I had one person against it. Every other email was from someone thanking me for supporting their Second Amendment rights.

–Wyo. Rep. Kendall Kroeker

KSL Newsradio contacted two Utah lawmakers Thursday who have been involved in firearms legislation in the past. Both were still gathering information about the Wyoming bill and could not comment on whether or not the idea has been proposed here.

Rep. Kroeker admits the bill likely will not be received well by federal authorities. He suspects that if passed into law, it would be challenged in the courts.

"I think it would be a good thing because this law would definitely give us standing to challenge their laws as unconstitutional," Kroeker said.

He believes that potential new federal laws re-instating an assault weapons ban or prohibiting the sale or ownership of high-capacity magazines present an overreach of federal authority.

"As a state legislator, I feel it's my duty to do my best to protect the rights of our citizens here," he said.

Wednesday Vice President Joe Biden vowed urgent action against gun violence in America, pledging steps by the Obama administration that he said could "take thousands of people out of harm's way" and improve the safety of millions more.

He also acknowledged political realities could prevent sweeping gun control legislation, and said he is willing to settle for something less.

Shortly after last month's slaughter of schoolchildren at Newtown, Conn., Pres. Obama tasked Biden with heading a commission to come up with recommendations on gun policy by the end of this month. Obama supports steps including reinstating a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and closing loopholes that allow many gun buyers to avoid background checks.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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