BY: Charlie Spiering
January 10, 2013 | 12:00 am
Wyoming lawmakers have proposed a new bill that would nullify federal restrictions on guns and jail federal agents attempting to confiscate guns, ammunition magazines or rounds of ammunition.
The bill – HB0104 – states that “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming.”
The bill is sponsored by eight Wyoming State Representatives ad two State Senators. If passed, the bill would declare any federal gun regulation created on or after January 1, 2013 to be unenforceable within the state.
In addition, the bill would charge federal officials attempting to enforce a federal gun law within the state with a felony – “subject to imprisonment for not more less than one (1) year and one (1) day or more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or both.”
The bill also allows the Attorney General of Wyoming to defend a state citizen from any prosecution by the United States Government.
One of the bill’s co-sponsors, Wyoming State Senator Larry Hicks, told The Washington Examiner that this type of legislation sends a message to the federal government in Washington D.C.
“It says that your one size fits all solution doesn’t comport to what a vast majority of the state believes,” Hicks explained in an interview.
Citing the Tenth and the Second Amendments, Hicks asserted that the legislation was Constitutional, adding that he fully expected it to pass in the Wyoming state legislature. Hicks said that his Wyoming constituents were upset about the looming threat of gun control coming from Washington, particularly since Vice President Biden signaled yesterday that President Obama was willing to issue an executive order to tackle the gun issue.
“They are very, very upset that we’re going to see some level of federal takeover of our weapons and abuse of our rights given to us by the Second Amendment,” Hicks stated. “Also that the federal government will bypass our legislative officials and confiscate our weapons through executive order. This gives citizens of the Western United States a great deal of concern.”
Rep. Kendell Kroeker, the lawmaker that spearheaded the bill, explained that he hoped that the federal government would recognize their constitutional rights based on the Tenth and Second Amendments.
"I think that its necessary when the federal government violates our rights in the Constitution we have to act," he explained.
The proposed legislation has received a overwhelmingly positive response from Wyoming constituents, according to the bill's sponsors - even from citizens of other states.
Kroeker said that since he introduced the bill he has received up to 50 emails from constituents thanking him for standing up for their rights.
“Most of the feedback that I have received is very encouraging," explained State Rep. Mark Baker, a fellow co-sponsor. "Many citizens from other states have contacted me stating that they are envious of our state’s initiative."
Kroeker said that he currently owns several handguns, rifles, shotguns and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle - the model targeted by gun control proponents.
"People in Washington tend to overreact," Kroeker said. "They try to place blame on gun owners punishing in the innocent to pay for the crimes of the guilty."
Hicks explained that the model of the bill was taken from a bill passed in the State of Montana in 2009 adding that it wasn’t much different from what he’d seen other states do.
“I don’t think this is controversial in Wyoming at all,” he added. “I fully expect this bill to pass.”