Governor signs gun confiscation billFriday, March 7, 2008 11:03 PM MST
CHEYENNE -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Friday signed into law a bill
that prohibits government officials from confiscating guns from
Sponsor Allen Jaggi, R-Lyman, has said House Bill 57 was prompted by
the confiscation of guns by police in New Orleans following Hurricane
Freudenthal said afterward that he was pleased to sign the bill,
although he didn't think it addressed any real problem.
But Freudenthal, an avid hunter who was endorsed by the National Rifle
Association in his re-election campaign in 2006, said he can
understand why supporters want the bill enacted here.
"It's not understandable on the basis that anybody around here is
going to be confiscating anybody's firearms, because first of all we
ain't going to allow anybody to do it," Freudenthal said.
Freudenthal said he intends to scrutinize a separate self-defense
bill, HB 137, that has cleared the Legislature and is awaiting his
The so-called "castle doctrine" bill would specify that citizens are
legally entitled to assume that any people who break into their homes
mean to do them harm. It would also give people who kill others in
self-defense immunity from lawsuits.
Supporters say the bill would offer citizens legal protection if they
use deadly force against intruders. They say the bill is named after
the English common-law concept that a man's home is his castle, and
that he's not obligated to try to retreat before using deadly force to
The NRA has made passing such "castle doctrine" legislation a priority
Freudenthal said he has asked Attorney General Bruce Salzburg to
review the "castle doctrine" bill.
"It's so nuanced, depending on where the words are, and how it's
structured and what it says, it may or may not have a problem,"
Critics of the "castle doctrine" proposal include prosecutors who say
that enacting it in Wyoming could have unintended consequences. They
have said the state has a strong body of case law on self-defense that
protects citizens' rights. They have said that codifying it could
result in weakening the law.
Freudenthal said he's not surprised to see the NRA push such gun
legislation in Wyoming.
"There's kind of an agenda that the NRA has, and it's not illogical
that they'd come to these states first to get it passed," Freudenthal
"This is a pro-gun environment; we like firearms," Freudenthal said.
"So it's not surprising that they would come to these kind of states
to push that kind of agenda early. My guess is that it's a lot more
responsive here than it would be in California. But in terms of,
'Are there real problems that have to be addressed?' Probably not."