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Confusion over WY Open Carry restriction

OCGLOCK

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Hey Guys, Please give me some insight on the open carry issue in the state of WY. I have been there over the past summer, and OCed the whole time no problems. But I am coming back for a hunting trip this October and wanted to get some information from the AGs office before my trip. Below are several threads from 2 e-mails I sent to them over the past week. Your thoughts are appreciated.

ME: I am resident of Maryland and will soon be traveling to WY for a 2 week hunting trip. I hold a Pennsylvania Licence to Carry Firearms which the State of Wyoming honors. In reading your website about locations off-limits to Concealed carry, I noticed a person cannot carry CONCEALED in an establishment that sells alcohol for consumption. The website did not discuss carrying a pistol openly in a holster in one of these establishments or anywhere in Wyoming for that matter. Please comment on the open carry of a pistol through-out the state of Wyoming and in a establishments that sell alcohol. Any insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated

WY AGs office: Patrick,



Most, if not all towns and cities in Wyoming has adopted a city/town ordinance which prohibits a civilian (non-law enforcement) from carrying a weapon that can be seen by the public. The language contained within the individual city ordinances could vary from city to city. It would be your responsibility to check with local authorities as you travel throughout the state to insure that you do not violate local city ordinance. State Law does not prohibit or regulate open carry, that’s why it does not appear on our state web-site.



Forrest C. Bright

Director

Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations

316 W. 22nd Street

Cheyenne, WY 82002-0150

Office: 307-777-7181

ME: Forest,

Thanks for your quick response to my questions. My understanding of Wyoming law is that the State Legislature has complete Preemption over all Firearm laws through-out the state except Indian and Federal Grounds. How can a municipality regulate a mode of firearm carry when the state has statutory preemption? If arrested for violating a municipal ordinance that legally could not be enacted, I cannot see that being enforceable.

WY AGs office: Patrick,



The State of Wyoming is an "open carry" state as it relates to firearms. However, the cities in Wyoming have a legal dominance of what is called "home rule". Home rule simply means that the elected Mayors and City Councils have been given the authority to govern their cities in the manner that they see fit, that also includes having the authority to adopt ordinances that are more restrictive than state statute. Cities can adopt ordinances that are more restrictive, but not less restrictive. Therefore, most all the cities in Wyoming restrict the open carry of firearms, by ordinance, within their jurisdiction. Persons who violate the ordinance can be arrested on the spot.





Forrest C. Bright

Director

Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations

316 W. 22nd Street

Cheyenne, WY 82002-0150

Office: 307-777-7181
 

mkl

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Be interesting since you have a dialog with this AG to ask him what he thinks the preemption code means, since it clearly says the opposite of what he said it says.



Wyoming's preemption code:


Firearm preemption is in Wyoming § 6-8-401(a) .
This says:
6-8-401.� Firearm, weapon and ammunition regulation and prohibition by state.



(a)� The sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use and possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition shall be authorized, regulated and prohibited by the state, and regulation thereof is preempted by the state. Except as authorized by W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii), no city, town or county shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use or possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition except as specifically provided by this chapter. This section shall not affect zoning or other ordinances which encompass firearms businesses along with other businesses. Zoning and other ordinances which are designed for the purpose of restricting or prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer or manufacture of firearms or ammunition as a method of regulating firearms or ammunition are in conflict with this section and are prohibited.


http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title6/Title6.htm
 

sonnycrockett12

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Okay...I was shocked to see this post as I have vacationed a couple weeks a year in Wyoming for ten years and have always open carried. Actually one of the reasons for going to Wyoming so often(besides it being so beautiful) is the fact it is so gun friendly.

I, too, had assumed that the State preemption law covered me so I don't understand where the AG is coming from. The State law doesn't mention doing anything more or less restrictive(actually, the whole intent of any preemption law is to prevent localities from passing laws more restrictive).
It actually says clearly that a locality can't make ANY law concerning firerams...period.
Except as authorized by W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii), no city, town or county shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use or possession of firearms, weapons and ammunition except as specifically provided by this chapter.

The only exceptions mentioned in the law regarding zoning of firearm businesses.

However, the real troubling section that says: "Except as authorized by Section W.S. 15-1-103(a)(xviii)"

This can be found at : http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/titles/Title15/T15CH1AR1.htm and gives local govt bodies the right to:

(xviii) Regulate, prevent or suppress riots, disturbances, disorderly assemblies or parades, or any other conduct which disturbs or jeopardizes the public health, safety, peace or morality, in any public or private place;
I guess one could argue that this gives a locality the right to regulate open AND concealed carry of firearms(regardless of the state CCW law) since one might argue(I think wrongly) that carrying of firearms disturbs the peace. What is scary about this part is that one could use it to pass laws even covering people in PRIVATE RESIDENCES just by the city council deciding any guns in any homes threaten public safety or the peace.

Now I think that this would be overturned( I hope) on appeal as the intent of this is more likely to specific instances of riots, etc and limiting things such as open carry and private gun ownership would be a reach. BUT you'd get to be arrested and be a test case for this.

So, on the strict reading of the law, I am shocked to find that even with the preemption law in effect the AG seems to be correct that local govt bodies can ban open carry under section xviii (home rule) if they consider open carry to jeopardize the public peace .(since that section is so vaguely written.
)

Seriously, all you people in Wyoming...I know you're a gun friendly state and probably wouldn't tolerate any politicians who would pass such laws but with all the California and Colorado hippies moving into places like Jackson Hole it's only a matter of time before it happens.

You need to get organized and get a hold of your state reps and get this section of the law rewritten so that section xviii clearly exempts legal use and carry of firearms.


NOW....to what the AG said about almost all cities having ordinances limiting open carrying I found this:
http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/#WY

I didn't find ONE SINGLE law against Open Carry in the biggest cities in Wyoming: Casper, Cheyenne, Douglas, Sheridan, Laramie, and Riverton.

I did find a couple of laws that were more restrictive than the State laws....
One concerning carrying in ANY place that even carried alcohol like supermarkets and I even found one town that outlawed concealed carry and had NO EXCEPTION was given for State issued CCW permits!
The City of Laramie has a law that states:
9.28.010 Concealed weapons--Carrying.
[align=left] No person, other than the officers of the United States, the state or the city, shall keep or bear concealed upon the person, within the city, a pistol, revolver, knife with a blade over five inches long, slingshot, slug shot, bludgeon, brass knuckles of lead or other metal or other deadly weapon. (Prior code § 26-4).

Now it is scary but by strict reading of the law Laramie can backup that code and say that your Wyoming CCW is invalid as they on the council think concealed weapons are a threat to public safety so they wrote this law with the support of section xviii.

THIS JUST ISN"T RIGHT FOR YOU PEOPLE IN WYOMING!

I think you should followup with the AG and see what examples of cities in Wyoming he knows of that actually outlaw concealed carry.
[/align] [align=left]
[/align]
 

sonnycrockett12

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I searched and Jackson Hole has no law against open carry

Now the City of Cody DOES PROHIBIT OPEN CARRY
http://www.cityofcody-wy.gov/images/MCode/Code 34.pdf

34-3. Carrying concealed or wearing weapons openly.*
It shall be unlawful for any person to wear or carry any dirk, slingshot, gun,
knife, dagger, sword in case, or other dangerous or deadly weapon concealed, or to
carry or wear such weapons openly, with the avowed purpose of injuring any other
person, or of disturbing the peace of the city or any of the inhabitants thereof.

Now it does say for the "avowed purpose" of disturbing the peace...but a cop could arrest you under this ordinance and it would be up to you to argue it wasn't your "intention" to disturb the peace.

Nothing in Worland agains Open Carry http://66.113.195.234/WY/Worland/index.htm

Nothing in Gillette either.

That's all for the cities that I could find their ordinances online.


PS...my homestate of Michigan has a preemption law that reads: A local unit of government shall not impose special taxation on, enact or enforce any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.


Now years ago a local city(Ferndale) tried to ban guns in public buildings and our state group MCRGO argued that it violated the preemption law.


see: http://www.mcrgo.org/mcrgo/doc_pdf/0430_Ferndale_decision.pdf

Now Ferndale tried the whole "Home Rule" angle as state law says it can "provide the public peace and health and for the safety of persons and property." of it's residents and then other angles but they were shot down.


I doubt any local ordinance would hold up to an appeal court but do you want to be the person getting arresting and paying for the fight?
 

OCGLOCK

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Thank you to the previous posts, I am very concerned about this issue as I love the state of Wyoming and want to preserve our freedom there. Living in Maryland, it is tough for me to organize and work on the state level to bring about change in Wyoming. So for all those folks living in Wy and surrounding areas, your help is needed with this issue.

Any additional thoughts about this issue such as what can be done on the state level would be great.
 

SDguy

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If there is a problem in Wyoming it would be with some of the authorities in Wyoming not understanding the law regarding concealed and open carry. The law is very clear and I have open carried in Wyoming in most cities, in restaurants, hotels, stores and you name it, without any problems.

I think the AG is either ignorant or purposely misleading people.
 

sonnycrockett12

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He is definitely ignorant that most cities/towns ban open carry as I only found one so him saying that most do is way off base.


Unfortunately, strict reading of the law gives towns the "right" to ban open carry. Again, any person arrested under such law could probably win on appeal but they'd have to be that test case.
 

sonnycrockett12

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Honestly....I just think most people in the movement never really thought of the "home rule" factor let alone know about it...heck, I've open carried there for a decade thinking I was safe.
 

MamaLiberty

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Here is the response by the WSSA president in Wyoming:

WS 6-8-401 means what it says and says what it means. NRA and WSSA worked hard to get Pre-emption passed because of the conflicting network of local ordinances. However, one must keep in mind that we now live in a time where there are really no longer any rules. When what rules there appear to be are whimsically applied, that is the same as there being no rules at all. Remember, despite the SCOTUS decision, Heller has still not been allowed to register his (semi-automatic machinegun) M1911. Despite the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy, the owner of the Hip Hop Hippie Shop in Gillette was sentenced to federal prison after his conviction for selling "drug paraphernalia. He had been acquitted in State court on the exact same charges AND his lawyer was not allowed to even bring this fact up at the federal kangaroo court trial. I could go on and on but am not going to. To believe that you can fall back upon the protection of the Constitution or the law is as dangerous a delusion as the one the Indian tribes held in the 1800s when they thought they could fall back upon their treaties.
If you are a WSSA member you would have read this story already, but for those of you who are not I will present an abbreviated version.
In the small eastern Wyoming town of Hartville around 1982 a recent Gunsite Academy grad chose to exercise his constitutional (and God-given) right to open carry his cocked and locked M1911. The town council took umbrage and passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice. This was despite being told by myself and a lawyer provided by NRA that a 1920 Wyoming Supreme Court decision told towns that they could not do any such thing.
Not having a police department, Hartville hired a Platte County deputy as Town constable on a part-time basis. When the new constable confronted Bob he was told "Make your move or lay it to rest." Bob would have killed Otto graveyard dead before Otto even cleared leather and the constable knew it. He wisely "laid it to rest' and quit the job. The atmosphere now thoroughly poisoned, Bob moved to Wheatland where he was left alone.
I realize that not everyone has the right mindset for such a confrontation. If these bastards keep pushing their luck, however, confrontations of the Hartville variety will become inevitable.
At the risk of appearing crass and self-serving I will put in a plug for my new book Neither Predator Nor Prey. The Wyoming People in NPNP do not accept abuses perpetrated by enemies of freedom who laugh at the Constitution. Believe me, smiles are wiped from a lot of evil faces.
 

sonnycrockett12

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I agree 100%...Everyone knows what Preemption means and what the intent of the law was......BUT the legislature was STUPID enough to leave the loophole in the beginning of the law allowing towns to make laws about firearms concerning "preserving the peace"...
The old saying give them an inch they'll take a mile definitely applies here.

The best thing you people in Wyoming could do is get your legislature to get rid of the loophole.

Even with that gone I'm sure a few towns will test the law...and that's fine. Do what we did in Michigan when they tried...the people who got arrested one their cases then turned around and sued the HELL outta those cities/towns.....so their little arrests ended up costing the towns serious cash. A couple examples of this in Michigan showed most cities who still had the laws on the books to quickly get rid of them.

Being what the economy is today most if not all town/cities are too cash strapped to even fight lawsuits let alone pay out damages so they always back down....

UNFORTUNATELY...someone will have to be the test case in Wyoming.
 

MamaLiberty

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Luckily, outside of Jackson Hole and some other socialist occupied territory, this isn't really a problem here. It could get that way fast, of course, especially if more federal "laws" are passed, but right now it's not a big deal.

I open carry every day, everywhere I go - including the courthouse, sheriff's office, bank, library, etc. The only place I can't carry is the post office, and I wear my empty holster there as a protest and reminder to others that we are disarmed victims there.

To the people who ask why I think I need to carry a gun in almost crime free Wyoming, all I can do is point out to them the folks who died at V Tech and all of the other mass shootings who ALSO thought it could never happen there or to them. They didn't get a second chance.

I'm writing a book, dedicated to the man I already had to shoot in self defense.
 

mdguy90

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MamaLiberty wrote:
Luckily, outside of Jackson Hole and some other socialist occupied territory, this isn't really a problem here. It could get that way fast, of course, especially if more federal "laws" are passed, but right now it's not a big deal.

I open carry every day, everywhere I go - including the courthouse, sheriff's office, bank, library, etc. The only place I can't carry is the post office, and I wear my empty holster there as a protest and reminder to others that we are disarmed victims there.

To the people who ask why I think I need to carry a gun in almost crime free Wyoming, all I can do is point out to them the folks who died at V Tech and all of the other mass shootings who ALSO thought it could never happen there or to them. They didn't get a second chance.

I'm writing a book, dedicated to the man I already had to shoot in self defense.


I know your pointing it out as an example, but I just thought I'd say that I live in Jackson Hole, and OC everyday. Don't seem to have much issues with anyone.

actually i think im the only one who OC's in JH
 

MamaLiberty

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mdguy90 wrote:


I know your pointing it out as an example, but I just thought I'd say that I live in Jackson Hole, and OC everyday. Don't seem to have much issues with anyone.

actually i think im the only one who OC's in JH
I'm sure glad to hear that! :D

I belong to a fairly big club, scattered all over the state, and some of our members have had a rough time in JH, Cheyenne and Laramie. One was hassled in Cody and another in Powell. They've all been able to show the cops the law and none have been arrested, but it's getting so some are no longer willing to carry openly in those areas.

I think that's a mistake myself. If we give in to this, we'll lose what we have worked so hard to retain of our rights.

Recruit more people to OC there in JH. I can't think of anything you could do that would help more. :) If I ever got that far west, I'd be proud to walk down the street with you. :)
 

mdguy90

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Just my luck, I move out of Maryland to the worst place possible for guns in wyoming :p

Some other OC'ers would be nice, being here is my first experiences OC, I've been asked to not come into one store unless it was unloaded (does she expect me to throw the gun at the badguy), but other then that, not many issues.

anyone with guns are more then welcome by me anytime.
 

MamaLiberty

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mdguy90 wrote:
Just my luck, I move out of Maryland to the worst place possible for guns in wyoming :p

Some other OC'ers would be nice, being here is my first experiences OC, I've been asked to not come into one store unless it was unloaded (does she expect me to throw the gun at the badguy), but other then that, not many issues.

anyone with guns are more then welcome by me anytime.
They don't "expect" you to do anything with it. They have no idea what you are really doing and they have their heads filled with the idiot propaganda. You might try giving them a card listing the reasons you carry, and why you will be taking your business elsewhere from now on.

The few times I've been asked to disarm, I let them know they've not only lost my business, but that I will also alert my friends to the fact that they wish to maintain a disarmed victim zone. Be polite, firm, and leave as soon as you say your piece.

Personally, I will never comply with a request to unload. It is FAR more dangerous to unholster and unload.

If my gun isn't welcome, then neither am I.
 

AB

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Wyoming State Constitution trumps and shows agreement with state preemption

§024. Right to bear arms.
The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.

If you look at the law itself withoutyour state constitutional right it appears kind of spine-less so my question is can a town in Wyoming tell me that I don't have a right tobear arms and defend myself, I think not.

Wearing a gun in Wyoming in itself does not cause riots, distubances, disorderly assemblies or parades and is not in itself a conduct which disturbs or jeopardizes the public health ,safety, peace or morality.

Unless I was wearing my gun while in a parade, naked and urinating in the street all while using profanity at the on lookers.

Looks like a real misuse of law and a violation of my constitusional rights.
 

AB

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[align=left]Looks like Cody's law is out-dated in it's reference to: W.S., 1957, § 6-239.
(even though it is dated 01/07)
or poorly crafted in ignorance,
maybe the city attorney isn't from Wyoming.
[/align]


[align=left]34-3. Carrying concealed or wearing weapons openly.*
It shall be unlawful for any person to wear or carry any dirk, slingshot, gun,
knife, dagger, sword in case, or other dangerous or deadly weapon concealed, or to
carry or wear such weapons openly, with the avowed purpose of injuring any other
person, or of disturbing the peace of the city or any of the inhabitants thereof.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the duly appointed law
enforcement officers of the city, county or state, or of the United States, in the lawful
discharge of their duties as such officers. (1960 Comp. Ords., §§ 8-503, 8-504.)

* For state law as to carrying concealed weapons, see W.S., 1957, § 6-239.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



[/align]


[align=left]In Wyoming, in 1957, the legislature established a “discretionary issue” procedure under which county sheriffs in their discretion could issue permits to carry weapons to “travelers, merchant police, private detectives, or other persons who may be required by their work, vocation or profession to carry a weapon or weapons.”
1957 Wyo. Sess. Law ch. 201,§ 1; Wyo. Stat. § 6-239 W.S., 1957, § 6-239.

In 1994, the Wyoming legislature dramatically changed the law. 1994 Wyo. Sess. Law ch. 41, § 1. The legislature abolished the “discretionary issue” system and replaced it with the “shall issue” system we have today which vests in the state attorney general the authority to issue concealed weapon permits.[/align]


[align=left]While this gets "off topic "of open carry it points out a major flaw in the writing of this city code.[/align]

 
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