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Greg Wyant looks at long guns from a private collector during the Winchester Arms Collectors Association show at Riley Arena on Saturday, July 11th.

From Meeteetse to Clark and Cody to Powell, the Park County commissioners have declared the county will be a place of preservation for the right to bear arms, no matter what federal changes may come in the future.

That was the resolution the commissioners passed at their meeting Tuesday, declaring Park County a “Second Amendment Preservation County.”

The resolution, with written-in support from Park County Sheriff Scott Steward, passed with a unanimous vote. It is intended to prevent firearms from being confiscated by federal agencies under federal laws that may be passed in the future.

“The Park County Board of Commissioners and the Park County Sheriff harken back to and recognize the words set forth in the Declaration of Independence as provides wise guidance in the implementation of governance in Park County,”reads the resolution, which goes on to cite the Constitution’s right to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” and the right to bear arms.

“The board and sheriff strongly believe that it is an inalienable right of the citizens of Park County to keep and bear arms for the defense of life, liberty and property.”

The resolution also cites a historical and cultural relationship with firearms being used for economic, recreational, hunting and shooting purposes in the county as granted under the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions.

Commissioner Chairman Lee Livingston said he hasn’t heard any opposition to this resolution but said, “Now that it’s out there I’m sure we’ll hear it.”

Federal changes

In March, Biden issued a number of executive orders addressing gun control by increasing regulations on stabilizing braces and studying homemade “ghost” guns. Biden also announced he wants to strengthen the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency in charge of enforcing federal gun laws, by nominating gun-control advocate David Chapman to lead it.

More recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill to expand background checks, and another bill that grants authorities 10 business days to complete federal background checks before a gun sale must be approved or rejected, an increase from the current three days.

Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has said he opposes the legislation but nearly two-thirds of Americans support stricter gun laws, according to a March USA Today-Ipsos poll and more than 80% support universal background checks, according to a 2019 PBS NewsHour, National Public Radio and Marist poll.

In April, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced legislation to reinstate the right for people ages 18-20 to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed dealer, which repeals a law that currently prevents adults under 21 from buying a handgun.

Commissioner Joe Tilden said he is a believer of the "slippery slope" philosophy when it comes to gun control.

"With the way the current administration has been going ... they're just going to keep nipping and nipping away," he said. "Eventually they're going to do away with everything."

County trend

Livingston said the county’s resolution was based on a similar commitment made by the Johnson County commissioners in April, and that he had been “approached” about the topic. Big Horn County held a listening session on Monday for its consideration of becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Johnson County’s resolution appeared to go a little farther than the resolution passed in Cody on Tuesday, in that it stated funds from the county treasury, county personnel and county resources cannot be “used in a manner to abridge the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms as an individual right."

The Park County resolution does not address any language about officials or authorities being restricted from confiscating firearms and is more of a vague commitment to the Second Amendment and providing legal binding individuals the right to keep and bear arms.

“We just thought it would be a cleaner way to go,” Livingston said.

State legislature

In this year’s state legislative session, lawmakers attempted to pass Senate File 81, which would have passed a Second Amendment Preservation Act statewide. The bill enacted through the Senate with a 24-6 vote and had the support of Sen. Tim French (R-Cody) but was not received in the House for introduction.

All 23 Wyoming sheriffs including Steward voiced concerns about the bill in a letter sent to the Wyoming legislature. They said while the bill was intended to be in support of the Second Amendment, it had possible unintended repercussions that hurt their law enforcement efforts. Specifically, the bill said no person, including law enforcement officers, has the authority to enforce any federal law that infringes on a person’s right to keep or bear arms and could be held liable for such actions. This could have put officers’ jobs in limbo for seizing firearms as evidence in criminal disputes and incidents related to domestic violence.

“When you have all 23 sheriffs in the state come out in opposition to some of that, it says there’s problems with it,” Livingston said. “I’m pretty sure if you’ve got a situation like that (domestic dispute) you don’t want to tie your law enforcements hands from protecting the folks that you need to protect.”

The proposal declared that the federal government cannot enact “any federal statutes, executive orders, court orders, rules, regulations or other actions that collect data or restrict or prohibit the manufacture, ownership and use of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition exclusively within the borders of Wyoming.” This would have been legally unenforceable. But Federal agents have been inconsistent when it comes to the enforcement of federal laws that contradict state laws, such as the regulation of marijuana in recreational marijuana states, abortion clinics, and equal opportunities for education (Brown v. Board of Education).

Livingston said the proclamation does not use the term “sanctuary,” so to avoid confusion with unrelated topics like recreational marijuana and illegal immigration that have been associated with that term.

“I personally would like to see us be a sanctuary county with grizzly bears and wolves as far as prosecution for managing them,” he joked. “But we’re already a sanctuary county for grizzly bears, I want to flip it the other way.”

(19) comments

Scott Steward

Scott Weber I have but one question. When are you going to quit spitting out these long winded exaggerations of facts? You have for years mouthed of half facts followed by grandstanding BS.

Scott Weber

You can't stand the truth. You hate details.

Jeffrey Boardman

the cody enterprise should post a comment about how they change wording to make themselves look good/smart and cannot be honest with the public by changing words like shotgun to Long gun. really? please be honest and leave your articles alone or at least post that you changed the wording.

Jeffrey Boardman

Shame on you cody enterprise for changing shotguns to long guns, you screw up, you own it. I know what you did and so do others that read the original caption. Hire someone to proof read your stories that knows the proper terms.

Thomas Lewis

This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue. This is an American issue, pur and simple. It's only natural that we should have this 2nd Amendment protection here in Park County, WY. After all, the United States of America would not exist were it not for firearms in the hands of its citizens. And without the gun, we would not know freedom as we know it today. Firearms are a huge part of our heritage as Americans. I commend the Commissioners for recognizing and protecting one of our most precious freedoms.

Jon Lower

Great news! Thanks Commissioners, I love Park County, WY!!

Scott Weber

Strange times indeed for our county commissioners. Rather unbelievable.... In the 2021 Wyoming Legislative Session the Wyoming County Commissioners Association voted to oppose Senator Bouchard's SF81 that provided for a statewide Second Amendment Preservation Act. NOW our Park County commissioners are some how FOR a Second Amendment protection! Ha!

They're way, way out of their league here.... For instance, if they are going to build a new bridge wouldn't they consult with bridge experts? Of course. And they did. But when they "try" to write a firearms preservation resolution they do NOT consult with ANY firearms experts (and the Sheriff is not the correct source by any means). Hence they have drafted an unworkable and useless "feel good bill" (I thought only liberals did kind of nonsense, but here it is).

This firearms expert will give them a hint: The state cannot "ignore" federal firearms laws - nor can they give their citizens the authorization to do so. No way. No how. In other states, citizens and gun dealers have tried it and they have headed pronto the "gray bar hotel".

Let me give you an example: Let's say hypothetically that the Biden administration passes a bill that says an individual can only buy one gun a month (long a liberal pipe dream). All FFL's (like myself) must abide with that rule and sell only one a month to any one customer because I am licensed by the FEDS and NOT the state! Firearm dealers dance to the federal tune or they are out of business or in prison.

What's more, if the ATF want to stage a raid here in Cody on a firearms trafficer or a felon or doper with a lot of firearms they have been trafficking, they can race into here without so much as a nod to the local PD or the Sheriff. Why? They are enforcing FEDERAL LAWS with federal agents.

You can say the Sheriff has exclusive authority or that we can ignore federal laws, but I see evidence of federal dominance EVERY DAY as I go about my firearms business.

Unbelievable that our county commissioners would not consult with firearms experts/firearm attorneys prior to making a laughable resolution like this. One can only shake their head....

They sure turncoated on this issue. One of the writers here said these county commissioners should stick to "building secondary roads and bridges" and leave the gun issue to the experts and legislatures.

Stu Martin

I agree you are an expert... just a drip under pressure!

Tom Conners

Quick hide your guns,Biden is coming for them. This BS happened when Obama was in office...did Obama get your guns? These dog and pony shows are really getting old people and y'all elected these clowns to be your decision makers. Priceless.

Scott Conger

These "clowns" are the only thing standing between gun grabs or not. Biden's election website listed MANY infringements on the 2A, so you know where he stands, philosophically on the issue, given half a chance. Since Hunter Biden lied on his ATF form 4473 which is a Felony, I think there is at least one person Biden can have prosecuted and thrown in the hoosegow; the same guy who's wife threw that same gun away in a public trash bin near a school and ultimately lost it when they attempted to retrieve it...so maybe two persons... if he really wants. We'll see. No action so far...

Tom Conners

There are many who are too irresponsible to be owning firearms in today's demented society.Look at the mass shootings the last few years,especially the one in Las Vegas. At any rate Obama did NOT "git yer guns" and I doubt Biden will either.Biden's main premise is to help alleviate the source of parts and pieces to stop these demented clowns from building a weapon designed for killing humans.

Jeffrey Boardman

Sounds reasonable to me, 18 to vote, consume alcohol, and buy a handgun. No background check has ever been able to keep a gun out of the hands of an irresponsible shooter. I know some kids that have better gun safety skills than senior citizens, age itself is no indicator of responsibility. Also, in the photo, Greg Wyant is not looking at "shotguns" that sure looks like a Marlin 39 or 39a to me.

Alan Shotts

Reread the caption, it says "long guns". not shot guns.

Jeffrey Boardman

Well they changed it it said shotguns don’t believe me ask the editor

Jeffrey Boardman

It said shotguns when I read it. The enterprise changed it after they read my comment

Jeffrey Boardman

Hey Alan Shotts, click on this. This is the headline I read before they changed it. See for yourself https://www.codyenterprise.com/news/local/article_8eecd7d6-c3ee-11ea-9af2-c3fa81550bec.html

Scott Larsen

This is my tax dollars at work? This is conservative government? Spending time and resources drafting and discussing and passing a measure that's nothing more than posturing isn't why we pay commissioners. Pave some roads and fix some bridges and skip the showboating.

Dewey Vanderhoff

This magnanimous 2nd Amendment decree by our New Western county commissioners is what particle physicists would call a Neutrino. Being a subatomic particle with no electrical charge that has almost zero detectacble mass, or even substance , Neutrinos are fundamental particles that are everywhere and pass thru everything , but without interacting or changing anything along the way. We know they definitely exist but there's nothing you can actually do with them. If you try to detect Neutrinos the instrument encounters a huge amount of noise and not much signal.

This Second Amendment Sanctuary County declaration is just that sort of phantom . Barely rises to the level of being anything more than symbolism.

Justin Smith

Cynthia Lummis isn't smart and neither are people that voted for her. There is a good reason we want people to be older, more mature and responsible to purchase handguns.

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