Man Convicted of Having Gun on UW Campus Petitions Wyoming Supreme Court
The Unita County man who was cited for misdemeanor trespass by carrying a firearm on the University of Wyoming campus two years ago has petitioned the Wyoming Supreme Court, asking it whether the university's prohibition of firearms on campus is unconstitutional.
On April 20, 2018, Lyle Williams attended the Wyoming Republican Convention at the UW Conference Center when an officer of the university's police department asked him to relinquish his firearm, according to the petition filed Friday by his attorney Jason Tangeman.
Williams knew the university had adopted a policy in July 2008 that prohibited firearms on campus, although the conference center is not tax exempt in Albany County like other university properties with their educational purposes, according to the petition.
He also believed the university's policy was a violation of the Wyoming Freedom Firearms Act. However, the act only applies to firearms made in Wyoming.
Williams refused to relinquish his pistol -- not manufactured in Wyoming -- and was issued a trespass citation based on the Wyoming law that, and the next month pleaded not guilty in Albany County Circuit Court.
On Dec. 17, 2018, the state's Second Judicial District including Albany County granted UW a summary judgment that denied Williams' efforts to have the charge dismissed.
Williams then appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal and sent it back to the Albany Circuit Court.
He was able to get the Second District court to review five legal questions, but that court answered them in the negative on July 2.
Among the reasons cited by Albany County Attorney and Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent in rejecting William's request for review were UW's standing as a government entity capable of regulating firearms, which only prohibits firearms in facilities where people gather and are most vulnerable.
UW's regulation, based on safety, doesn't violate the Second Amendment nor does it create a blanket prohibition that is unclear or over broad, Trent wrote.
So Williams now has submitted his same questions in his petition to the Wyoming Supreme Court:
- Does the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act allow only the Legislature to regulate the possession, carrying or use of firearms, pre-empting other governmental agencies such as UW from setting its own regulations?
- Does the Wyoming Freedom Firearms Act only pertain to firearms made in the state?
- Is UW's regulation unconstitutional or otherwise unconstitutional as applied to Williams?
- Does UW's regulation violate the Second Amendment?
- Does UW qualify as a governmental entity capable of regulating firearms under the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act?
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