Wyoming tests constitutionality of ban on red flag laws

Wyoming tests constitutionality of ban on red flag laws

by Madelyn Beck, Daily Montanan

Wyoming became one of the first states in the nation to ban red-flag gun laws when Gov. Mark Gordon signed new legislation into law last month.
Senate File 109 – Prohibit Red Flag Gun Seizure Act says no local government, agency or police department can implement or enforce any rule that keeps a Wyoming resident from firearms or ammunition unless that gun owner meets certain criteria.

It also bans using funds from Wyoming or the federal government to implement red-flag gun seizures.

“What we’re doing is we’re prohibiting law-abiding citizens from having their guns taken away without due process,” bill sponsor Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, said on the Senate floor.

Nationally, 21 states have passed red-flag laws, according to the White House. Those typically enable police — and sometimes family, colleagues or medical professionals — to ask a judge to temporarily remove someone’s access to firearms if that gun owner is believed to be a risk to themselves or others.

In Wyoming, there was extremely broad legislative support for banning red-flag laws, but some representatives questioned the constitutionality of the bill language, attempting many times to amend it. Those attempts had mixed results.

Gov. Mark Gordon touted his “fervent” support for the Second Amendment in signing several laws this session, including SF 109. (He also vetoed a ban on most gun-free zones in Wyoming, citing state constitutional concerns.)

Coincidentally, the day after SF 109 went into law, the Biden administration announced more support for red-flag legislation, including the launch of a National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center, “which will support the effective implementation of state red flag laws.”

“Keeping students safe from gun violence in their school communities is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration,” a White House press release stated.

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