Gun rights in America are a hotly debated topic. America is the only developed country in the world that has consistent and persistent gun violence, and many anti-gun activists have stated that the availability of guns is the problem.

Second Amendment purists have strongly come out against that stance, and the different opinions have divided America down clear ideological lines when it comes to guns. 

Rapidly Increasing Gun Violence

Gun violence has been increasing rapidly in the last several years, with acts of gun violence happening every single day. Mass shootings have happened nearly every day since the beginning of 2024, and many anti-gun advocates have looked at the situation with concern over the future of America.

Source: Wikimedia/Ibropalic

The culture of guns in America is one that is deeply insidious, and many believe concerning. The Second Amendment grants Americans the right to bear arms, but there are many who believe that that particular right should be taken in the context of the time that the amendment was written, and adjust for the modern day. 

Modern American Gun Laws

That opinion has been taken into account when considering some modern American laws regarding guns. One of the most controversial conversations around gun rights are concealed carry laws, or the ability to carry a gun in public without showing it to other people.

Source: Wikimedia/David from Washington, DC

Closely related to concealed carry laws are open carry laws, which is the ability to carry a gun openly in public. Open carry laws are significantly more controversial than concealed carry laws, with many more people understanding why these laws are opposed. 

Challenges Around Concealed Carry

Concealed carry laws provide a significantly more challenging discourse, though. Multiple states have attempted to ban concealed carry within state borders, though these bans are almost always challenged immediately by Second Amendment fundamentalists.

Source: Wikimedia/David from Washington, DC

In the state of Wyoming, a famously pro-Second-Amendment state, Governor Mark Gordon recently vetoed an incredibly controversial concealed carry bill. This is unusual in Republican-led states, and many of Gordon’s constituents are not thrilled with his actions. 

The Cowboy State

Wyoming is known throughout the United States as the “Cowboy State.” Many other states have changed their laws to fit with modern ideologies over the past years and decades, but Wyoming has attempted to remain exactly as it was when it was founded, wild and free and looking for some conflict.

Source: Wikimedia/Bureau of Land Management

For many Wyoming residents, they believe that this means being able to carry a gun wherever they want if they have the correct permit, including in schools and government buildings. Given the rise in school shootings in the last ten years, this was an understandably controversial stance. That didn’t stop the Wyoming legislature from drafting a bill that would allow them to do exactly that, though. 

Gordon Vetoing Gun Legislation

Governor Gordon vetoed the bill when it was brought to his desk, though. His explanation stated that he believed that the bill would have extended legislative authority past the reasonable threshold. If it had passed, schools and government buildings would have had to specifically request a ban of concealed weapons on their property.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of U.S. Energy Secretary

Gordon’s reasoning behind vetoing the bill was that he believes that this specific result would have been unconstitutional. He believes that different facilities should have the right to deny entrance to those with concealed weapons, without having to ask the government’s permission. 

Protecting the Rights of Wyoming Citizens

In this way, Gordon is making the argument that vetoing the bill is actually protecting the rights of Wyoming citizens more than if he had allowed the bill to be executed.

Source: Wikimedia/Senior Airman Natalie Fiorilli

He’s, very basically, saying that the state shouldn’t be able to force institutions to allow concealed carry if they don’t want to. Doing so would give too much power to the state government of Wyoming, according to Gordon. 

Wyoming Allows Open Carry Everywhere

The state of Wyoming still allows open carry everywhere, with the exceptions of jails, courtrooms, hospitals, police stations, or on someone’s private property without their permission. Neither the bill, nor the governor’s veto had any effect on citizens’ rights to openly carry their firearms.

Source: Wikimedia/Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA

This means that, in the state of Wyoming, citizens can openly carry a firearm almost anywhere. They simply cannot conceal it in schools or government buildings. 

No Concealed Weapons in Schools

Vetoing the bill means that Governor Gorden refused the immediate approval of concealed weapons on public school and university campuses across the state. He believes that this sort of bill would have been detrimental to both students and teachers within these schools.

Source: Wikimedia/Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA

It must be stated, though, that Governor Gordon has been open in the past about believing that guns are acceptable in schools. There’s very strong discourse surrounding the idea of schools being gun-free, a stance that Gordon doesn’t agree with. He simply doesn’t believe that guns should be able to be concealed whilst in schools.

Passing Multiple Pro-Gun Laws

And, though Gordon vetoed the bill about open carry in schools, he is by no means an anti-gun governor. During his tenure as governor, he has passed several pieces of legislation expanding gun rights throughout the state.

Source: Wikimedia/Senior Airman Natalie Fiorilli

One such law that was signed by Gordon established a reimbursement program to fund firearm-related costs for school security. This goes in line with his policy choices just referenced, that guns in school are acceptable as long as they’re visible. He’s also prohibited the tracking of firearm purchases, and banned red flag gun laws throughout the state. 

About Red Flag Laws

Red flag gun laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders, are laws that have been passed in various states around the country in an effort to combat gun violence. Essentially, these laws allow people to petition for the temporary confiscation of an individual’s firearms if that person is deemed to be a risk to themself or to others.

Source: Wikimedia/United States Senate – Office of Dan Sullivan

Red flag laws have been deemed highly controversial by Second Amendment purists. Many people have questioned what would deem someone a high enough risk to have their guns taken away, and some have pointed out that these laws are loosely worded enough to justify taking away a person’s guns indefinitely. Pro-gun activists view this as a significant violation to their Second Amendment rights. 

Republicans Are Disappointed

In spite of Gordon’s previous pro-gun stances, Wyoming Republicans are still deeply disappointed by his veto regarding the most recent bill. Republicans make up the majority of the state, meaning that he could be facing some potential challenges during his next election cycle over this bill.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James Foehl

The disappointment stems from the fact that these citizens believe, wholeheartedly, that it is their Constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon anywhere that they choose, even in a school, as long as they have the proper permits. By vetoing the bill, they see the governor as single handedly restricting that right. 

Democrats Arguing for Stricter Regulations

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats are arguing the exact opposite. In line with many national liberal beliefs on guns, Democrats in Wyoming believe that the government should be more actively involved in protecting its students from potential gun violence, and the heightened risk that guns create of a potential school shooting.

Source: Wikimedia/Master Steve Rapport

This concern is valid, considering the rate of school shootings across the country, but Wyoming is an outlier in that regard. Wyomin has only experienced two school shootings over the last 50 years, making it the state with the second least school shootings in the country. However, nearly 61% of Wyoming adults own a firearm. 

The Bill Could be Reworked

It’s possible that the Wyoming state legislature will adjust the bill and put it back up for a vote on the floor within the year. It’s likely that the new bill will remove the immediate approval of concealed carry in educational institutions, but keep it for state facilities such as the Capitol building.

Source: Wikimedia/MikesGroover

Even if the bill is reworked, though, it will be several months before the details are made public. And there’s still the possibility, of course, that Gordon will choose to veto the bill again to protect citizen’s rights. It’s a fluid conversation surrounding guns, and one that Wyoming citizens are watching closely.