Calling it 'murky,' Mead vetoes government-meetings gun bill

By Mead Gruver, Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 15, 2017 at 6:10 p.m.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed people to carry concealed firearms into government meetings and signed another that will allow teachers and other school officials to carry guns at school.

The guns-in-meetings bill is murky and could have allowed concealed weapons into local government meetings but not state legislative meetings, Mead wrote in his veto message.

Proponents said the measure was needed as a safety measure to protect against people who would start shooting at a government meeting.

Lawmakers decided against changing the bill to allow local officials to decide whether or not they wanted concealed firearms in their meetings. Mead sided with those who opposed the bill because local officials would have had no say on the issue.

The Wyoming Association of Municipalities opposed the bill and particularly the loss of local control, he pointed out.

"We place great value on government closest to the people, in cities, towns and counties," Mead wrote.

He urged lawmakers to consider studying the issue over the interim.

Wyoming's constitution is clear that gun ownership is a right and the veto sends a message that state officials don't trust the voters, bill supporter Republican Rep. Anthony Bouchard, of Cheyenne, said.

"There are 18 states that are now allowing open-carry in public meetings," Bouchard said. "We're just taking a step backward."

The guns in schools law would allow school boards to decide if they wanted school officials to carry or have close access to guns in school to protect against shooters. The gun would need to be carried by the school official at all times or kept in a locked container within the designated official's control.


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