(The Center Square) - Wyoming legislators are looking to strengthen the state's Second Amendment laws in the wake of President Joe Biden's policies on gun control.
Elected on a strong gun control platform, Biden supports a national prohibition on high-capacity magazines, restrictions on firearm sales and laws that would make firearms manufacturers civilly liable for guns used in certain crimes.
So far, several pro-gun rights bills are in the works in Wyoming, including bills to repeal gun-free zones and eliminate residency requirements for concealed carry permits.
Another is the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne.
A version of this bill was narrowly defeated last year, but the new version has teeth, said Aaron Dorr, director of Wyoming Gun Owners.
Dorr said Biden has declared open season on gun owners and the Second Amendment, and SAPA is the "must-have" legislation for gun owners.
"The Preservation Act would state that all federal gun control laws are null and void here in Wyoming, and it would do that by requiring that all Wyoming's peace officers, whether it's state troopers, county deputies or city officers, could only enforce state law passed by the state legislature when it comes to guns, ammunition or accessories," Dorr told The Center Square. "So this is no feel-good bill, this is a very serious effort on our part to nullify federal gun control."
It also would allow for civil lawsuits against any official who upholds a federal law in opposition to a state law, according to Dorr.
Dorr said he hasn't heard any arguments against SAPA's constitutionality.
"The whole concept behind SAPA legislation is the anti-commandeering doctrine, which has been around for hundreds of years," he said. "The idea, very simply, is the states are independent sovereign entities and they have an absolute right to enforce the laws of their own making, and the federal government does not have, and has never had, the right to simply commandeer the states' legislative process and order the states to enforce federal law."
This doctrine is upheld by a litany of Supreme Court rulings from 1842 to 2013 during the Obama administration, according to Dorr.