- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A bill to allow people with concealed carry permits to carry guns on school campuses and into public buildings is moving forward in the Wyoming Senate but an original House sponsor of the bill says he’s disappointed with Senate amendments and predicts the bill ultimately will fail.

The Senate voted for the second time Tuesday to advance the bill, which already has passed in the House.

The original House version of the bill called for allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry guns on all school campuses and into most public buildings. The Senate this week has amended the bill to specify local school boards and local government bodies could decide whether to permit concealed carry.

The Senate on Tuesday adopted an amendment proposed by Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, that would allow people to carry firearms in their locked, private vehicles when they’re parked at public buildings and facilities where guns are prohibited.

Scott said his amendment would protect the ordinary citizen who carries a gun, “who wants to just have it in the car so he can do something with it later.”

The Senate rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, on Tuesday that would have reversed the structure of the bill - making it the standard that gun-free zones go away and stating they would have to be reinstated by action by school boards or local governments.

The bill needs one more hearing in the Senate. Both the House and the Senate would have to appoint conference committees to try to resolve their differences with the bill before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment later this week.

Rep. Allen Jaggi, R-Lyman, is a main sponsor of the bill. He said Tuesday after the Senate vote he’s disappointed with the Senate amendments to allow individual school boards and local governments to vote whether to allow guns on campuses and into public buildings.

Jaggi and other supporters say they believe that allowing teachers and other visitors to schools to carry guns would make them safer by sending the message that they’re no longer “gun-free zones.” He points to Utah, where teachers have had the ability to carry concealed guns for years, as proof the system would work in Wyoming.

Jaggi said he’s tried unsuccessfully to get his name removed from the bill. “That is not our bill,” he said. With 48 school districts around the state, he said he believes that passing the bill would result in a hodgepodge of different regulations, with some allowing concealed carry and others not.

“It’s not about, now, freedom of the ability to bear arms,” Jaggi said. “It’s now about gun control.”

Jaggi said he expects that even if the bill clears the Senate, it will die in conference because the difference between the House and Senate positions is so great.

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