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Wyoming Senate kills ‘Second Amendment Preservation Act’ on close vote

Tara Nethercott, R-Laramie, talks with Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Senate defeated House Bill 118, the so-called “Second Amendment Preservation Act,”  on third reading on Wednesday, March 11 despite more senators voting for the bill than those who voted against it.

The Senate initially passed the bill on a third reading vote of 16-11, but the a motion to reconsider was called for. After that motion passed, the Senate voted again.

The final vote was 15-14 with one senator excused. Senate District 04 Senator Tara Nethercott changed her vote to vote against the bill upon reconsideration.

Despite more senators voting for the bill than those who voted against it, third reading votes require at least 16 of 30 senators vote in favor a bill in order for it to pass.

Nethercott had expressed concern about the bill ahead of the first two readings in the House. While the bill aimed to protect Wyomingites’ rights to keep and bear arms, she said the bill might unintentionally have the opposite effect.

“I do think it creates a number of legal, ethical and Constitutional challenges that ultimately erodes the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Wyoming in an effort to protect them,” she said on Monday. “Zealousness can be a dangerous thing.”

The final vote was as follows:

Ayes: BEBOUT, BITEMAN, BONER, CASE, COE, DOCKSTADER, DRISKILL, HICKS, HUTCHINGS, KINSKEY, LANDEN, MONIZ, PERKINS, STEINMETZ, WASSERBURGER
Nays: ANDERSON, ANSELMI-DALTON, BALDWIN, BOUCHARD, ELLIS, GIERAU, JAMES, KOST, NETHERCOTT, PAPPAS, ROTHFUSS, SCHULER, SCOTT, VON FLATERN
Excused: AGAR

Wyoming Legislative Service Office

Nethercott said on Monday that senators should think “very, very carefully” about the definition of law-abiding citizen included in the proposed legislation.

The proposed bill defines “law abiding citizens” as follows:

“Law abiding citizen” means a person who is not otherwise precluded under law existing on July 1, 2020 from possessing a firearm and who is not engaged in criminal activity. “Law abiding citizen” shall not be construed to include any person who is not lawfully present in the United States or any person in the process of committing or attempting to commit a crime under state law.

Wyoming Legislative Service Office

“I think that this particular provision might erode your Second Amendment rights beyond what you are imagining right now,” Nethercott said, without elaborating.

Further details of the House’s second reading discussion of the bill are available in this article.


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