Guns Again: No License, Registration or Insurance Needed

Each of us must have a license to operate a car and a special one to operate a big truck. Doctors, lawyers, pilots, engineers, surveyors, dentists, real estate brokers and car salesmen must have licenses to ply their trades. CPAs must pass tests. Electricians must be certified. Plumbers must pass tests and get local licenses.

All of the above carry insurance, too. Hunters have been required to take safety training since the early 1960s.

Until this year, Wyoming had a minimally intrusive system for licensing people to carry concealed weapons. We were required to take some good, basic safety training and basic self-defense training. We had to pass a background check. We had to be willing to fill out a ton of paperwork, which would have discouraged the types of anti-authoritarian personalities who should not have carry permits. There was nothing wrong with this system. No one could legitimately complain. Compliance was a burden, but no more so than buying plates for my car or registering to vote.

Wait, don’t these gun-toting champions of our nation’s freedoms always talk about how liberty comes with some costs?

Some malcontents tried to sidestep this system by proposing in 2010 to allow any non-felon with functioning appendages, a belt or pocket and a heartbeat to carry concealed weapons. The Sage Grouse bravely beat back these initiatives: see Weird Anti-Obama Fallout: GunsGun Madness, Part Two; and Guns: Lots of Heat, Not Much Light. Like the little Dutch boy, he plugged the dike with a single wing, and it didn’t happen in 2010. But by golly it did happen this year.

Back to the 2011 session: the Legislature, in abject dereliction of any duty to think before jumping, held noses and closed eyes and voted to allow everyone and his dog to conceal weapons in their cars, jeans, coveralls and business suits, with almost no restrictions.

This capitulation to the NRA lobby simply passed the burden of drawing lines between open firing ranges and appropriate quiet zones for work and play to employers and government agencies. “Thanks a lot,” I am sure they are all saying.

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OK, Bubba gets to pack iron when he comes to the shop. Never mind that a big old heater rubs a big sore on Bubba’s ass while running a scraper all day. Why the hell does Bubba need a .357 on his hip at work? Or grumpy malcontent Billy Joe carries his shiny big .44 magnum to the city council meeting. Why? To defend himself from being ignored by the mayor? Or to intimidate the communist local governments who are making people clean up their junkyards? Or to be prepared in case some other armed malcontent tries to jump him in the parking lot?

Allowing a militia to protect us against foreign armies or occupying governments probably does not mean that a bunch of angry people need to be packing iron at work, church, city hall, the courthouse or the sports bar.

Many in law enforcement opposed the legislation which has now eviscerated the concealed weapon carry permit system. Employers deplored the erosion of their rights to control what happens on their property. (Isn’t it interesting that ranchers uniformly demand that oil and gas employees are not allowed to carry firearms on their lands, yet their legislators legalize unpermitted carriage of concealed weapons by those very employees?)

What’s a city council to do? They are required, in today’s political climate, to give obeisance to the hallowed (mis)interpretations of the Second Amendment. But dang it, who wants to be worrying all through the meeting about some wacko lighting up the room over eminent domain or leash laws? In Gillette, the mayor and council are frustrated and confused. Wouldn’t it have been better if the Legislature, notwithstanding goading by the NRA and its ilk, had just said no?

My good friend Doug Dumbrill, a hunter, rancher, attorney, prosecutor and good writer has written a guest column on this matter. I can’t improve on his analysis. Doug points out that if he lived anywhere else, he would probably be regarded as a gun nut, but in Gillette his column drew a lot of fire.

Not everyone needs to carry a concealed weapon, but if one feels the need to do so, a background check and some safety training are not any sane person’s definition of an unreasonable regulation. Even if you have a gun in the home, some basic safety training should be required prior to purchase. Automobile drivers must pass a test. Most employers require backhoe and crane operators to demonstrate competence before they are given the keys. But guns — which allegedly don’t kill people any more than do cars and trucks — require no test, no training and no insurance to own, hide and operate.

And of course the consequences of unrestricted sale and ownership of firearms can be tragic. My first cousin and childhood best friend, Mary, has been dead for more than 30 years. Her birthday is (was) one week after mine; we were each born on a Sunday. Her husband, a sweet, devoted man, traveled a lot and worried about her safety. He bought a semi-automatic pistol from a gun store where he received no instructions about operation and safety. He brought it home to show Mary how to use it for defense. In the process, the gun discharged, shooting her in the forehead, leaving two young children without a mother. No one had explained to him how this gun worked; no safety training was required or even suggested. What an unimaginable horror. You cannot think about this without feeling bottomless sadness for this fine young man who fell victim to ill-advised suggestions about safety.

Instead of abolishing reasonable requirements, shouldn’t we instead require basic safety training and a background check for buyers of firearms?

Yes, there are outlaws who will evade these requirements, just as there are speeders on the highways. Some, maybe most, will be caught; some will not be. Is that a reason to abolish speed limits?

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  1. Can’t stop lunatics from entering your rec. center with guns a blazzen, call a cop 20min. maybe 10 if your lucky but some of our young and not young will die, now enter one or two concealed weapons the table has turned now one of two outcome. whin the lunatic is confrounted, he is not in such a big hurry to give up his life. WHEN A LUNATIC IS WILLING TO GIVE HIS LIFE PEOPLE WILL DIE, but it may be a knife,bat,car or anything he can lay his hands on. GUNS DONT KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE…

  2. I did not fully appreciate the size of the incendiary device(s) attached to the fuse I voluntarily lit with a column on guns. It seems there is an immense trove of ready-to-launch research and opinion, some fact-based and some emotion-based, just waiting for people like me to poke a probe into it. One thing I want to point out is that everyone is responsible, gun owners, gun sellers, gun advocates and governments. However, everyone needs some basic knowledge to inform their responsibility. Guns, particularly automatic weapons, are dangerous. What’s wrong with requiring some basic safety training before people carry them? Yes, some lunatics and bad guys might avoid the law, just as happens with many laws, but that is no reason to not have laws.

  3. It is truly bizzare and embarrasing. Sophie Broussard says how unnerving it was that they were forced to allow CCW people in the Rec. Center. ” There should be some kind of law to stop lunatics from bringing guns into the building”! she says.

    Umm, Sophie, operative word is LUNATIC! There are already laws against rape, robbery and murder. A lunatic isn’t going care much about some sign off a gun on the door with a circle and slash superimposed over it! What’s so hard to understand about this? What’s makes people like you so delusional?

  4. Just to summarize:

    Keeping and bearing arms, ANYWHERE, is a fundamental right, with narrow exceptions (or so SCOTUS has held).

    Driving on a public roadway is a privilege, subject to state regulations.

    The comparison is bogus, bereft, without merit, CACADOODY.

  5. Henry, owning/driving a car under property rights is limited to land YOU OWN. As soon as you drive it onto public roads, you come under the auspices of the state and local governments. Under states’ police powers, they have the power to regulate how, where, what and when you can drive on public roads.

    This may seem to you to be a fine distinction not worthy of acknowledging, but you’d be WRONG. It is legitimate under our system of laws and our republic.

  6. Hold on there Mr. Bowman. Find me a reference to driving anywhere in the Constitution. I can find a specific, enumerated right to keep and bear a firearm, yet I can’t seem to locate the one that says anything about drivng a car down Hwy 20/26. You see, while you are free, and have a right to move freely around the country on a whim, your preferred method doing so is not. You don’t have to drive. You can walk. You can take a bus, ride a horse, a cow, an oxen, or drive a dogsled or wagon if you so choose. But none of those methods of conveyance are a ‘right’. No sir, you most definitely do not have a right to drive.

    I find it laughable that you insist on licensing gun owners like drivers of motor vehicles, and yet it is illegal to put a prior restraint, in this case a tax or license fee, on a constitutional right. Poll tax anyone? How about we license reading a book? Or better yet, we put a tax on internet pages? Or your religion? Not all that savory now is it.

    Remember, gun control is what you do instead of something.

    Or, it means keeping two hands on your gun and hitting where you aimed.

  7. Pointing out that the state requires a lot of stupid licensing and fee-paying for approval to earn a living is a poor excuse to further extend that sort of rubbish. The current medical monopoly on certain pharmaceuticals is an excellent example. Trip to an emergency room for kidney stone: $6500. Cost to buy two bags of saline solution and a NSAID for pain control? Less than $20. But you can’t do the latter, because the needle and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (non-narcotic) are both “controlled” items. So the state screws you over by very “sensibly” requiring you to procure these items with services you don’t want for 35000% more than you’d otherwise pay.


    In states that have enacted Constitutional Carry, there have been no problems. All the doomsayers have been proven wrong. Conversely, the “unintended consequences” of government intervention can be quite expensive. They might cost you $6480. Or they might cost you your life.

  8. Sophie, as has been thoroughly proven by history and much study, “laws” do not in any way inhibit the actions or stupidity of those who wish to harm others.

    On the other hand, most people who carry a gun – me included – have no desire to harm anyone, ever. We would, most likely, do everything we could to protect you and your children.

    Would you really rather leave them to the tender mercies of criminals who don’t give a rat’s a** about your “laws” or your life. Wouldn’t you rather do everything possible to give them real protection, including from snakes and other non-human threats?

    Who is responsible for your safety and that of your children? Some faceless entity with a badge who has no real obligation to help you.. or yourself? And if you can’t count on anyone else, why are you not willing to be prepared and trained yourself?

  9. To Sage Grouse, J Warner, and hazmat,
    Your argument distinguishing between driving a car and carrying a gun is flawed. They are the same thing. Driving in NOT a priviledge. It is absolutely a RIGHT, given by God. It is the right to property. If we have a right to property, then we have a right to use that property for our own benefit however we see fit, as long as we don’t infringe upon the rights of others That means not hurting or harming others or damaging others’ property. The right to own and operate property, be it a vehicle or firearm (or any other piece of property, dangerous or otherwise), cannot be undermined in any way and have the claim be made that we are still free. No one is more hopelessly enslaved that the person how falsely believes that he is free. WAKE UP!

  10. Cato Policy Analysis No. 284 ( by Jeff Snyder states the cops are 11 times more likely to shot the wrong person than a “civilian.”*

    “In fact, gun owners mistakenly kill about 30 innocent persons a year, one-eleventh of the number killed by police.”

    If public safety and eliminating these deaths are your main goal, then you should disarm the cops and arm the population!


    It is so dangerous, lets compare law abiding citizens licensed to conceal carry against someone safe, say a doctor, and we will not use a single NRA reference.

    ATF Max 8 million CPL’s US, approximately 186 million age 21 or older or 4.3% of the people licensed for CPL.

    Possible deaths from CPL holders in 3 year time span from Violence Policy Center report last year, 137 or 45 per year equals .00000562 per concealed license holder. You can also review Florida’s data on CCW at it says the same thing.

    JAMA 700,000 doctors in US kill 44,000 to 98,000 by medical malpractice every year or .14 per physician.

    Physician is .065 or .14 /.00000562 = 12,000 to 25,00 times more likely to harm you than a CPL holder.

    So where is the risk from concealed carry holders and why aren’t you antis crying to ban doctors?

    Several states already don’t require permits for multiple years so we should see ALL sorts of evidence to support your chicken little the sky is falling what if theoretical ka ka. So where are your massive number of screw up stories?

    We see from US Census, and an average of NSSF & PEW surveys, that in 2009 40% of households have a firearm. That is an increase since 1997 of 9 million households to 80 million law abiding gun owners as recognized by the BATF.

    We see that since 1997 per FBI UCR, that violent crime has gone from 611 VCR (Violent Crime Reported) per 100k people to 429 VCR per 100k people in 2009.

    That is a 30% reduction in violent crime. Did we forget to mention that the same data shows a 20% reduction in murders?

    All while at the same time we see 12-15 more states implementing concealed carry to 48 states total, and 34 states implementing concealed carry in eateries that serve alcohol.

    3 states and 71 universities implemented concealed carry.

    All without the predicted and much cried about blood baths predicted by the anti’s.

    We see from CDC Death databases in the 1930’s there were 112.8 million US citizens and over 2,500 accidental deaths by firearm discharge. In 2007 302 million US Citizens and only 613 total deaths by accidental firearm discharge.

    Wow, how is it, that the accidental deaths by firearms not increase at the same 169% rate the population did eh? There was an additional 30 million households and an additional 100 million firearms just since the 1950’s yet that accidental death by firearm discharge is still going down.

    Tell ya what, how about you look up and compare all the accidental shootings by the 800k police and then the 80 mil law abiding gun owners and set them side by side and do a count. Amazing how the cops shoot more people accidentally than the 80 MILLION law abiding gun owners.

    Based on you peoples absolutist fears, all police should be disarmed or it is apparent that the police are actually less well trained than the general public, you choose.

    As for a few simple laws to discourage the lunatics, ROTFLMFAO, how about the government actually enforcing the laws much less caring eh?

    The courts have ruled the police have no duty to protect individuals:?Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982) (no federal constitutional requirement that police provide protection)
    Calogrides v. Mobile, 475 So. 2d 560 (Ala. 1985); Cal Govt. Code 845 (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
    Calogrides v. Mobile, 846 (no liability for failure to arrest or to retain arrested person in custody)
    Davidson v. Westminster, 32 Cal.3d 197, 185, Cal. Rep. 252; 649 P.2d 894 (1982) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)
    Stone v. State 106 Cal.App.3d 924, 165 Cal Rep. 339 (1980) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    etc, etc, etc.
    Haynes vs. U.S. 390 U.S. 85 1968, where the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Haynes that any law requiring a felon to self incriminate themselves and violate their 5th amendment rights was not enforceable as a charge for prosecution. Hence criminals don’t have to follow the laws that do so, e.g. your stolen weapons, registrations, etc….

    Amazing how the criminals don’t have to obey these laws yet only law-abiding citizens do? This just validates the hypocrisy that laws affect only the felons! After all, 20,000 gun laws and we see how effective a piece of legislation is at stopping violence because if it did, there wouldn’t be ANY VIOLENT CRIME.

    Of course we see from the USDOJ Background Check & Firearm transfer report 2008 Brady Check report that of the 99 million checks for purchases from licensed sources only, since 1994. We see a total of 1.67 million valid rejections, a 68% decrease in felons attempting to buy from a licensed source, and 58% of those rejected being felons. We see that between 2000-2008 only 13,024 were prosecuted, or less than 1%.

    We of course see how the anti gun lobby claims such effectiveness of this pathetically useless law with the hard data they can present that the 1.66 million plus who weren’t prosecuted then didn’t go and buy from an unlicensed source?

    We also see how the USDOJ survey in 1997 where felons identified purchasing their weapons from 80% street buys, 12% retail stores, 2% gun shows. Then that 68% reduction of attempted buys from licensed sources puts the street buys at 95.52% in today’s numbers. Firearm Use by Offenders, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2001

    Amazing how ineffective that poster child of futility is and this trend is similar with ALL gun control laws. Yet more laws will prevent criminals and terrorists from getting a firearm, ROTFLMFAO, uh yeah, and the moon is made of cheese and the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, right!

    Shall we continue on this stupid right to feel safe BS Trish espouses eh?
    Why is it, that the police, whose best response times are 4 minutes, avg 15-20 minutes can only solve 8.75% of all violent crimes committed on a yearly basis?

    FBI UCR 2008 1.38 mil VCR (Violent Crime Reported) 49% solved to prosecution, 80% success rate. But oh wait, we have to remember those 4.8 million violent crimes the government recognizes that were not reported USDOJ National Victimization report 2008.

    So based on that (1.38 mil x 49%) x 80%) / 1.38 mil + 4.8 mil = 8.75% of the violent crimes committed are solved each year.

    Yeah, we see all your government data and studies to counter all these government studies and data right? Oh geez, we do not.

    So when you chicken littles pretending to be adults get a clue as to reality and can actually articulate a intelligent argument based on facts instead of your unsubstantiated fears, fantasies and absolutist beliefs, how about you go home crying to mommy as your depends are full of schiite, just like your position on this subject.

  11. Interesting but essentially useless discussion. While driving is a priviledge the right to keep and bear arms is a right. Don’t like it? Then repeal the Second Amendment. As for needing a permit, most of us have carried concealed for years regardless. It was only a misdemeanor with a maximum $750 fine and usually only if the police officer had a bad day and decided it was worth his effort to write up the citation. Then again “open carry” always was and is legal in Wyoming. I do find it rather amusing that some people are panicked that there are people who exercise their rights and might be armed since they likely were always armed anyway without their knowledge – permit or no permit. In short nothing has really changed at all so take a valium and calm down.

  12. Funny thing about all those PROFESSIONS you list and the licensing of drivers. None of those are a specific, enumerated, civil right quaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Meaning, for those who don’t get it, being a CPA, a lawyer, a pilot, or an engineer, you freely enter into those professions with licensing being a prerequisite of employment or a matter of professional accrediation. Licensing of drivers is a prerequisite to travel in a motor vehicle on public roads. While you have the right to move freely about the countryside, the manner in which you do so is not a right. Don’t like drivers licenses? Get a horse. Can’t afford a horse? Walk. Too far to walk to see Aunt Bessie in Denver? Take a bus.

    While it may come as a shock, violent crime actually FELL last year, including homicide. To hear the anti-freedom crowd, you would think that people are dying in bushels on every street corner in every town in the country. This despite record gun sales for the last 3 yrs. Facts are pretty pesky things, ain’t they?

    Now, you would be surprised at how many people carry concealed, and again still at how many thumbed their noses at the seeking state permission to excerise a basic, fundamental human right.

    Another thing not brought up about the debate over Constitutional Carry was cost. In order for a non-veteran to obtain state permission to carry a concealed weapon, it was $75 for the application, another $100+ for training, and in the case of some localities, gas to get to and from the training. In many cases, it cost well over $200 to get permission from the state in the form of a little bitty card that is only valid for 5 yrs, and then another $50 for a renewal. Some folks couldn’t afford the tax on self defense and either went without, or in many cases decided it was worth the risk to go without the permission slip.

    A point you completely miss in your misguided attempt to paint Wyoming gun owners as hair-trigger neanderthals just itching to shoot up a City Council meeting is that having a law or ordinance in place restricting guns will only hamper the law-biding and encourage the criminal. No law against carrying a gun into a prohibited place will stop one bent on a killing spree. Remember Virginia Tech? Yeah, well, guns were banned there. Staff and students alike were not allowed to bring guns onto the campus, and yet a mad-man brought 2 guns and killed 32 people. How did that gun-free zone thing work out?

    I predict the loosening of concealed carry laws will result in the same uptick in crime that allowing concealed weapons in national parks brought. None. In a year, all the crying and complaining will be as much wasted breath and hot air. None of the predictions of blood in the streets and shootouts over the latest leash law will be much ado about nothing.

  13. I disagree with Alice, who thinks that experience with guns prevents tragedy. My father was an avid hunter of deer, elk and birds, and an excellent shot. He had served in World War II and left the Army a captain. He knew all about guns and used them regularly. However, one night when I was about 14, I woke up thirsty, got out of bed and went to get a drink of water. As I left the kitchen, I saw a movement and heard a click in the dark hallway and suddenly there was my father with a pistol in his hand. I was so terrified I fell to my knees. Obviously, I was not killed; it was a matter of luck. My father’s idea was “protection,” of course, but he came close to killing the object of his concern. I am so sorry about your cousin, Sage Grouse.

  14. Hang on sage grouse–are you a personal injury lawyer or what? It is not the fault of a manufacturer if someone buys a gun and then, while trying to conceal their ignorance, kills their wife buy demonstrating a deadly weapon they have no training in. It’s tragic, but it is ONLY the fault of the gun buyer. Your cousin killed his wife through ignorance.
    Yes, we probably could use some training–its a great idea. I agree that all firearms should be sold with a training lesson during the mandatory waiting period. Responsible sellers offer this to their customers–making sure the person understands the product.
    There is a constant comparison here to driving cars. I would note that for over 30 years we have possessed the technology to make it impossible to drive while drunk. Yet we chose to not do so. Perhaps when we can convince lawmakers to stop allowing drunk people to kill, then we can move on to firearms training. (Yes, I am for both ideas.)
    Lastly, not all employers allow carrying at work. Many do not. Characterizing all people who carry as wide-eyed zealots is extremely prejudicial and makes me wonder why you fear your fellow man so much. Besides, any one can get a gun and conceal it–it was just illegal, not at all difficult or impossible. Now we can’t jail people for concealed carry without a permit. That’s what makes you angry?

  15. Excellent article. Our Recreation Center in Cody was recently forced into allowing people to bring their concealed weapons into the building. I have three young children ages 6,5 and 1 and it is very unnerving to think that there are people walking around the place carrying guns. This should be a place where parents can bring their children and feel safe about leaving them for a class or play! Are we so stupid to think that everyone in Wyoming with a gun is mentally balanced – how could we know? So let’s at least protect ourselves a little by having a few simple laws in place that might discourage the lunatics.

  16. Since the constitution is the supreme law of the land, I think you should encourage the government to follow it if you want us Bubba’s to respect government in any way, shape, or form. We may be ignorant scum, but we’re smart enough to distinguish between a govenment that follows the constitution, and one that doesn’t.