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Wyoming House of Representatives Votes to Eliminate Gun-Free Zones

Wyoming eliminates gun-free zones.

Lawmakers in Wyoming have taken the first steps towards eliminating gun-free zones and opening up government meetings and schools to concealed carry.

House Bills 137 and 194 passed the Wyoming House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority Wednesday and will now move on to the Wyoming State Senate for further debate.

Wyoming is a "constitutional carry" state, but House Bill 137 would allow concealed carry in previously-restricted areas such as college campuses and certain government meetings for persons over 21 years old with a concealed carry permit.

House Bill 194 meanwhile, has been dubbed the "The School Safety and Security Act" and would give authority on concealed weapons to individual school districts.

This means school district employees could potentially carry firearms concealed on school property provided they have a concealed carry permit.

KBZK News reports the bill is intended to address safety concerns at some of Wyoming's more remote schools.

Interestingly enough, this comes on the heels of a controversial statement by President Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary Betsy DeVos just under two weeks ago. DeVos got widespread media attention for her assumption that a rural Wyoming school kept a gun on hand to protect against grizzly bear attacks.

The school's superintendent noted there was both federal law and district regulations against the possession of weapons on school property.

Under HB 194, a list of school employees with permission to carry firearms would be kept and would be provided to all law enforcement agencies in a school's jurisdiction.

The potential law would also require a school employee with a firearm to keep it in a lock box or on their person. Superintendents would also have to notify parents and guardians a full breakdown of the rules and notify them of employees carrying firearms beforehand.

Wyoming has a very pro-gun culture, but these bills will still need to be heard three times before they are sent to the Governor's desk for signing.