Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wyoming: Guns 'R' Us

This e-mail update comes from Brianna Jones of the Wyoming Democratic Party. I'd just share a link but the info isn't up on the web site. So here it is in full:
The past week has seen both ups and downs for Democratic interests. Thank you so much to each of you that has responded to our action alerts over the past week and contacted legislators. It is so important that you are taking the time, even if the outcome is not always the one you would hope.

Your input is critical. Please continue watching for our action alerts and contacting your representatives on some of these important pieces of legislation. You can find email addresses for all legislators here:

The following is legislation that saw action this week:

Co-employee immunity (SF 61): As sponsored by Sen. Eli Bebout (R-Riverton) and Rep. Tim Stubson (R-Casper) the bill would raise the bar for suing a co-employee (usually a supervisor) for injuries in the workplace. Currently the standard is "willful and wanton" and the standard this would put in place is "with the intent." The AFL-CIO and Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, and the Wyoming Building and Construction Council all spoke out strongly against this legislation. It failed the Senate on first reading by a vote of 13-17.

Very rare and uncommon area designations (HB 152): This legislation as sponsored by Rep. Semlek (R-Moorcroft) would abolish the rare and uncommon designation and would "retain the authority" to remove protections. Adobe Town is currently designated as rare and uncommon. The Wyoming Conservation Voters and Wyoming Outdoor Council are opposing this legislation.

Health Care Choice and Protection Act (HB 35): Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bob Brechtel (R-Casper) passed first reading in the House today with 35 members voting in favor. This bill would make it a crime to implement the affordable care act in Wyoming. Please write your representatives and ask them to oppose this legislation.

Defense of Marriage Act (SJ 5): This legislation which was defeated in 2009, would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to only recognize marriages that are between one man and one woman. The proposal narrowly passed the Senate on a vote of 20-10, with 11 needed to defeat the measure.

DUI-elimination of right to refuse test (HB 29): Legislation sponsored by Rep. Gingery (R-Jackson) would remove the right to refuse a BAC test when there is reasonable suspicion of driving under the influence. It passed the house 35-23.

Civil Unions (HB 150): Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie) introduced legislation, which would create a system for civil unions in the state of Wyoming. The bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday morning and narrowly failed on a vote of 4-5. Reps. Throne (D-Cheyenne), Barburto (D-Rock Springs), Greene (R-Laramie), and Brown (R-Laramie) voted in favor. Reps. Cannady (R-Glenrock), Peasley (R-Douglas), Nicholas (R-Laramie), Krone (R-Cody), and Brechtel (R-Casper) voted against.

Illegal Immigration (HB 94): This is a proposal mimicking Arizona-style SB1070 legislation targeting illegal immigrants. It was brought by Rep. Pete Illoway (R-Cheyenne) and heard in the house minerals committee. There was no motion to move the bill and it died in committee.

Marital Counseling (HB 65): Legislation as introduced by Rep. Bob Brechtel (R-Casper) was heard in the House Labor Committee. It would require three hours of counseling before a marriage or a divorce. The committee significantly amended the bill, but it ultimately died in committee.

Health Care Freedom (SJ 02): This legislation proposes a constitutional amendment guaranteeing so-called "health freedom." It was written in direct response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was amended significantly on the Senate floor during first reading and passed. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Leslie Nutting (R-Cheyenne), voted against the bill following amendments.

Abortion - available information for decision (HB 118): This bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Brechtel (R-Casper) would require women who are considering abortion to be given government-scripted information and then wait 24 hours before having the procedure. It failed on general file on a vote of 23-32. 

Concealed Weapons (SF 47): This proposal, sponsored by Sen. Kit Jennings (R-Casper), was defeated last session, would all residents to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. It passed the Senate and will now go to the House.

Sen. Chris Rothfuss will talk about the concealed weapons bill at Monday's meeting of the Laramie County Democrats (see previous post). This is another in a long line of ridiculous bills considered by this legislature. Most handgun violence in Wyoming comes in the form of domestic dust-ups, drunken brawls, and in suicide, either attempted or successful. It's entirely possible that Wyoming's preponderance of guns keeps the violent crime rate down. I'm willing to give that notion some credence. But carjackings and armed robberies and drive-by shootings are still relatively rare in the state. So why does everyone need to carry around a concealed weapon? Is this another N.R.A. inspired and written one-size-fits-all legislation? Or another Tea Party-inspired be-afraid-be-very-afraid bills?

Ask Kit Jennings. Since 2008, Sen. Jennings has been a member of Don't Touch Us, the Domestic Violence Protection Group. This group was formed in Casper after a rash of 2007 domestic incidents ended in shootings. One involved a woman who shot to death her male partner. Will concealed weapons be handy prevention tools for battered women living under the thumbs of violent and well-armed men?

Here's info from a Dec. 22, 2010, press release from the Violence Policy Center, which addresses gun violence as a "public health issue:"
Since May 2007, concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 282 individuals--including nine law enforcement officers--in 193 incidents in 28 states. In more than two-thirds of the incidents (134) the concealed handgun permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide, or was killed in the incident. Of the 59 cases still pending, the vast majority (47) of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and eight incidents are still under investigation. Of the 193 incidents, 17 were mass shootings where concealed handgun permit holders claimed the lives of 73 victims.
Here's another one from Sept. 30, 2010:
Concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 202 individuals since May 2007 with 34 percent of the killings involving family violence according to the September update of Concealed Carry Killers, a Violence Policy Center (VPC) on-line resource that tallies news reports of killings by concealed handgun permit holders. The update comes one day before the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.
Forty-two of the 122 incidents involved family violence. Of these, 29 involved intimate partner violence. Fifteen of the 42 family violence incidents ended in murder-suicide, accounting for 65 percent (15 of 23) of all the murder-suicides committed by concealed handgun permit holders tallied by the VPC to date.
Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “A permit to carry a concealed handgun has become one more weapon in the arsenal of domestic abusers who ultimately kill their intimate partner or other family member. Contrary to the false assurances of concealed carry proponents, too many of those with valid permits kill in anger, not self-defense.”
And these are permitted gun owners. What happens when anybody can carry a concealed weapon? People such as the mentally ill Tucson shooter? Makes you think...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why would suicide be considered as gun violence? Obviously this is done to skew the statistics.