Wyoming Union, UW

As a state agency, the University of Wyoming is entitled to regulate the possession of guns on campus, attorneys for the university have argued in a civil lawsuit.

A Uinta County man is challenging the legality of UW’s gun ban in a civil case filed in Albany County.

However, attorneys for UW argued in a Monday filing the university is not subject to gun protections prescribed by the U.S. Constitution and Wyoming’s law that prohibits gun regulations by any “city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity.”

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the handgun ban in Washington, D.C.

However, the court simultaneously determined that gun bans were still allowed at “sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

UW’s attorneys invoked that ruling this week and said Wyoming’s laws actually include UW as a entity eligible to regulate guns.

After all, the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act provides that gun usage “shall be authorized, regulated and prohibited by the state, and the regulation thereof is preempted by the state.”

As a state agency, UW is explicitly authorized by the law to regulate guns, the school’s attorneys said.

UW’s regulation states “no dangerous weapon may be stored or carried in or upon university facilities.”

Lyle Williams, the Uinta County man challenging UW’s regulation, received a trespassing citation for openly carrying a firearm without permission during the Wyoming State Republican Party Convention in April.

The convention was held on campus and Williams said he brought his firearm that day with the intention of receiving a citation.

A trial concerning his citation was scheduled for June, but Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent issued a stay on the criminal case when Williams opted to file his lawsuit.

Though many delegates chose to open carry at the convention, UW Police Chief Mike Samp wrote only one citation.

“Given the political nature of this and the sensitivity of the Second Amendment issue, I feel that that is a sufficient reaction to the policy violation at this point,” Samp said at the time.

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