- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming is reviewing an encounter between students and a state senator over an academic project on guns that the students presented at a recent public forum.

Two students say Republican Sen. Anthony Bouchard threatened to use his political influence to fire a professor and end funding for an academic program because he disagreed with their project. But Bouchard, of Cheyenne, denied making any such threats.

“Never said that … fake news,” Bouchard said in an email response to the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/2oVM7ad ) on Tuesday.

Bouchard, a freshman senator who formerly ran a Wyoming gun rights organization, is a member of the Senate Journal and Labor, Health and Social Services committees.

UW freshmen Desmin Lewis and Tyrell Proby say Bouchard made the comments while voicing disagreement with their project on concealed-carry laws. Their project was part of a general English class assignment on public service announcements and was presented earlier this month at a social justice symposium. It included a conclusion that background checks on people seeking gun permits and gun safety courses could be toughened.

UW Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Chris Boswell says the school is reviewing the incident.

Boswell said he didn’t know if a report on the matter would be made public.

During this year’s legislative session, which concluded in March, Bouchard was among lawmakers who sponsored bills that sought to ease restrictions on guns. The Legislature defeated one bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed guns on college campuses while Gov. Matt Mead vetoed another bill that would have allowed concealed-carry guns at government meetings.

Another gun bill that Bouchard did not sponsor was enacted into law. It gives K-12 school districts the option of allowing school staff to be armed with a concealed weapon. Rural districts endorsed the legislation, saying some small schools can be hours away from the nearest law enforcement office.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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