The House version of a bill that would allow Wyoming residents to use deadly force to defend themselves in public without first retreating passed its first hurdle in the Wyoming Legislature on Thursday morning.

House Bill 168--the House 'Stand Your Ground' bill-- was approved for introduction on a 51-8 vote with one house member absent. That gave the bill an 11 vote cushion over the 2/3 majority vote needed for introduction as a non-budget item during a budget session of the Wyoming Legislature.

HB168 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which will decide whether to approve the bill for three readings on the house floor.

A very similar Senate bill, Senate File 71, had yet to face an introductory vote in the Wyoming Senate as of Thursday afternoon.

In arguing for the introductory vote on Thursday, Fremont County Republican Representative Tim Salazar told house members the legislation has widespread bi-partisan support, adding Wyoming is the only western state that does not have some version of the law.

While no one spoke against the legislation on the House floor on Thursday, opponents of such laws around the country have claimed they encourage violence. Some opponents also consider the laws racist, arguing they are mostly used by whites to justify the shootings of members of minority groups.

Wyoming does have the ''Castle Doctrine,'' which allows people to defend themselves using deadly force in their homes without retreating.