Jackson Hole News & Guide:
In an effort to bring the town of Jackson in line with Wyoming law, the Town Council is on track to repeal a decades-old ordinance that bans concealed weapons.
The law dates back to the 1970s and outlaws people from having any kind of hidden weapon, including pistols and knives, but also dirks, daggers and “swords-in-canes.”
The potential change is part of an effort by the town to update older parts of the municipal code, but some town officials have paused on the concealed carry ordinance.
Councilor Jim Stanford pointed out that this is a rare instance in which the state has moved to take away local control.
“I disagree vigorously with the Wyoming Legislature usurping local authority to regulate guns within our municipal boundaries,” Stanford said. “And I believe that if this faced a court test it wouldn’t stand up.”
Generally, state statute allows local laws to be more restrictive but not less so than state law. As an example, law enforcement officials said that means that a town can reduce the speed limit on a state road, but can’t raise it.
Stanford said the state’s moves, which are contrary to that concept and came in the form of the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act, are attempting to force “extremist ideology” on localities. Through the act, instituted several years ago, the state is essentially taking over regulation of concealed weapons, he said.
Other town officials didn’t totally disagree with his thinking.
“I do find it interesting how we’re for local authority until we’re not,” said Mayor Sara Flitner.
But, practically speaking, she and other town officials said they had to update the municipal code to keep it in line with Wyoming’s laws.
The Jackson Town Council has approved the first two readings to repeal the ordinance with 3-1 votes. Stanford voted against the measure each time, including earlier this week. The repeal likely will be up for a third and final approval at a Town Council meeting later this month.
Last winter my wife and I took an extended trip to Jackson, Wyoming, in part to ski, in part to visit the surrounding area. We visited your wonderful restaurants, from the exquisite cuisine at The Gun Barrel, to Bubba’s Barbecue. I have eaten barbecue from North Carolina to Texas, and I have said to others that I have never had it so good as Bubba’s in Jackson. In fact, I have recommended that others go to Jackson Hole as well, the visit being so good and relaxing. It was indeed a memorable time for us.
But there is a problem. I noticed bus drivers open carrying, and as an open carrier myself and my home state being a traditional open carry state, I fully support that. But being new to the area, I didn’t want to do that, and concealed while we were in Jackson. That’s right. I am proud to announce that I violated your stupid ordinance. I didn’t know about it, to be sure. But violate it I did. It would have been easy to fix. I could have just switched to open carry if I had only know. And therein lies the problem, don’t you think? The mere act of switching where I was carrying my weapon would have made the difference between being approved and not in Jackson. But I’m glad I carried concealed if for no other reason than to prove a point, because you are the ones who are in violation of the law. God’s providence is good and sometimes humorous and amusing, don’t you think?
Your ordinance is underhanded, illegal and immoral all at the same time. It is underhanded in that unsuspecting, peaceable men like me could get caught up in your idiotic, pompous belligerence towards your own state. It is immoral in that you could cause peaceable men like me to run afoul of your ordinances. It is illegal because it violates Wyoming Code 6-8-401(c), which reads “no city, town, county, political subdivision or any other entity shall authorize, regulate or prohibit the sale, transfer, purchase, delivery, taxation, manufacture, ownership, transportation, storage, use, carrying or possession of firearms, weapons, accessories, components or ammunition.”
It’s called state preemption, and you know all about it. You hate it. I’ve observed about your kind before that “It’s an odious thing when local yokels (who are usually elected in elections that aren’t well attended and who are usually unknown until they act out their Napoleon fantasies upon others) presume to tell their townships what to do about everything under the sun. Totalitarianism doesn’t just happen inside the beltway.”
And again, “I am a long standing and diehard advocate of State’s rights, even to the extent that I don’t think the federal court system should be invoked when local gun control is concerned. All gun politics is local, I have said. The corollary is that in order to prevent local hicks, ne’er-do-wells and criminals from acting out their Napoleon fantasies upon other men, association with the state means that – assuming robust gun rights laws already exist – local municipalities and townships shouldn’t be able to preempt state laws. The state is the right size for law-making and control. Our founding fathers were wise.”
The councilman who said “if this faced a court test it wouldn’t stand up” – Mr. Stanford – is an idiot. State preemption is tried, tested, proven, and legal. Towns and cities cannot override state law unless explicitly stated so in state law.
The only “extremist ideology” here is being expressed by Mr. Stanford. Shame on you, and a thousand times shame on you. The carry of weapons is a God-given right, and protection of human life is a God-given duty. As for the city council, you are in violation of state law, placing at risk peaceable men who don’t know about your stupid ordinance, and wasting valuable time and resources sticking your nose up in the air and being offended that you can’t override state law.
The whole episode is unseemly, obscene and [should be] embarrassing to you. You’re acting out in a tantrum as if you were little children. This needs to end, and you need to bring Jackson into full compliance with State law in a timely manner. And then you need to move on about the business of the city without so much smugness, condescension, pomp and arrogance. You aren’t a board of kings, and you don’t get to fabricate just any law you wish. If my readers want to send you notes saying the same thing, I’ll list your web site.