State lawmakers pressure Wyoming senators to vote against gun legislation | 307 Politics
A bloc of conservative state lawmakers are urging U.S. senators from Wyoming to vote against an impending gun control bill that would include funding for red flag laws.
Twenty members of the Legislative Assembly issued a letter on Monday opposing any form of gun control. A second written by the House Freedom Caucus also pushed back against congressional attempts to implement new gun restrictions.
“Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES shall you allow the advancement of any bill containing ANY form of gun control or gun confiscation of ANY KIND, no matter how minimal or “indirect” it may appear. “, says the letter from 20 lawmakers.
The federal bill is being drafted following a series of mass shootings, including one that claimed the lives of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas. For now, only a legislative framework is available, on which 10 Republican senators have agreed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would be willing to vote in favor of the bill if it ended up fitting the framework that currently exists.
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Senses Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso of Wyoming said they would not take a position on the impending gun deal until the full text is available, which is scheduled for next week.
In the meantime, many state lawmakers are already urging them not to support the bill.
A letter from Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Burns, and Rep. Robert Wharff, R-Evanston, was signed by 13 Reps. and seven senators.
Each lawmaker had the chance to sign the letter, Bouchard said. There are 90 legislators in the Wyoming legislature.
Both letters emphasized opposition to so-called red flag legislation, while advocating for mental health remedies and school safety measures.
If passed within the meaning of the framework, the Senate bill would give states resources to implement red flag laws, which allow police or family members to ask the courts to keep firearms away from people if they pose a risk to themselves or others. This would not make red flag laws mandatory.
“We urge you to make efforts to introduce, co-sponsor and support legislation that will make schools safer so that they are no longer an easy target for these senseless actions of a few deranged individuals,” another letter from the House Freedom Caucus from the Wyoming. Lily. “We are calling on our congressional delegation to stand up against Pelosi’s radical gun control agenda. Gun control is nothing more than an attempt to make law-abiding Americans out of criminals! »
While all the letters express skepticism that gun-friendly Wyoming would ever implement red flag laws if funding became available, lawmakers are still pushing for Barrasso and Lummis to vote against the law Project.
“You can trust that your vote on this bill is low risk because Wyoming has demonstrated time and time again that our legislature would not vote to pass such laws,” reads Bouchard and Wharff’s letter. “While that may be true, many other states will not have such determination.”
Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, did not participate in the group letter signed by 20 lawmakers, but sent one of his own also urging U.S. senators to oppose the red flag legislation.
“Without clear due process prior to the denial of a fundamental right under the Bill of Rights, and with unelected government employees tasked with implementing and enforcing the rules and regulations of this legislation, the possibility of abuse and unconstitutional confiscation of firearms from those with lawful possession of firearms is too great,” reads the letter from Senator Casper.
He told the Star-Tribune that he didn’t sign the joint House-Senate letter because he “didn’t like the tone of the letter and didn’t offer any alternatives on how to work for it.” make schools safer.
Instead, Perkins wrote that the tragedies were caused by “mental illness and ’emotional conditions’ and that ‘protecting our schoolchildren’ will be the result of ‘better training, tougher schools, trained volunteers among school staff and teachers, better mental health services, a more engaged student body and community, and a serious look at psychosis and paranoia related to drug abuse, including marijuana.
Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, signed both the letter from the Freedom Caucus and one sent by 20 lawmakers. He also advocated for training and an emphasis on emotional conditions.
“Bad people would find something to hurt someone with something else,” he said. “Bad people hurt people. What is our best defense for our state? Is it to train and arm our teachers?
In Wyoming, district employees can already conceal transportation on school grounds if authorized by the local school board.
However, when it comes to the Uvalde shooting, Haroldson is skeptical of the circumstances.
“I find that very interesting if you look at all the history surrounding the young man in the shooting in Texas. It didn’t line up. It didn’t make any sense. I don’t know of any 18-year-old who has 9 $000 to buy two AR-15s,” Haroldson began.
“I’m just saying something is wrong here. Where does he get his money from, where does the funding come from to be able to do this stuff? I’m not making a statement about it, but I believe there are people out there funding the demise of the Second Amendment.
The idea that an outside party is funding mass shootings to advance an agenda is a common conspiracy theory that is pushed after mass shootings. The Uvalde shooting is still under investigation, but there is an abundance of evidence to suggest it was not a false flag attack.
Haroldson also questions whether family structure contributes to the mass shootings and mentions that the Uvalde shooter lived with his grandmother.
“We have generations that don’t have fathers, that don’t have mothers, that don’t have a solid structure,” he said. “What if this young man had a dad in the mix taking his kid out to shoot?”
“We have to start restoring the family structure,” he added later.
In the end, Barrasso and Lummis’ votes might not matter. If they vote against the legislation, preliminary tallies show that supporters of the Senate gun bill would be able to overcome a filibuster and ultimately pass it.
Although Barrasso did not take a position, one of the letters disputed that the Wyoming senator was seen with McConnell when he gave his tentative approval.
“Senator Barrasso, you were seen alongside Senator Mitch McConnell as he proclaimed his support for gun control measures directed at the Senate,” the letter read.
Bouchard, a former gun lobbyist and the founder of the tough Second Amendment lobbying group, Wyoming Gun Owners, piled in.
“He was seen with a smile on his face as McConnell said he was going to surrender,” Bouchard said.
Lawmakers also argued that guns should not be taken away from law-abiding citizens because a small number of people commit gun violence.
“It is clear from the history of our country that those who will obey the laws of this country will do so armed. Yet those who commit evil will do so with or without weapons and when the priors are armed, the latter are kinder,” reads the letter from the House Freedom Caucus. Gun control legislation will not and cannot protect our school children.
Haroldson and Bouchard agreed.
“Are we making it harder for the guys who didn’t crack because of the one guy who cracked?” Bouchard asked.
Follow state political reporter Victoria Eavis on Twitter @Victoria_Eavis