By Tracie Mitchell
Northern Wyoming Daily News
Via Wyoming News Exchange
TEN SLEEP – The Ten Sleep School Board adopted their concealed carry rule with a vote of four to one Monday evening, after much discussion with community members, Washakie County Sheriff Steve Rakness and Ten Sleep School attorney Scott Kolpitcke.
Before making a decision, the board and community members heard from Kolpitcke about Wyoming Senate File No. SF0075 and the impact the bill could have on the school’s concealed carry rule.
He stated that as SF0075 is written at the moment it wouldn’t impact the rule but that as the bill goes through the legislative process, changes could cause the board to start all over again with the rule.
“What the bill looks like between now and the end of the session is anyone’s guess,” Kolpitcke said.
He added that it might be worth considering waiting to see what the Legislature does before adopting the concealed carry rule because if changes are made to the bill which would cause the school to have to change their concealed carry rule, the rule-making process would have to start again.
Kolpitcke explained to the board at an earlier meeting that Wyoming has a law called the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires all state and local agencies to follow certain procedures when enacting a rule. He explained at that time, “When you go through the rule-making process, under state law there is a 45-day notice of comment period. You give notice to the public that in 45 days you are going to take action on this policy, and you allow people to make written comments, oral comments. If at least 25 people request a public hearing, then another 45 days after that initial meeting, you have to have a formal public hearing, again giving people the opportunity to have a meeting where they can come in and express their opinions. So you could potentially have at least a 90-day process where you formally have to give these notices and let people express their opinions.”
Kolpitcke also explained to the board that SF0075, if passed as it is now, would allow anyone from the general public with a concealed carry permit to come into the school legally carrying a firearm.
Several community members voiced their concerns about having to start the process again and asked many questions of Kolpitcke to further understand the ramifications of not only having to start the process over but also of SF0075.
Concern about SFOO75 allowing anyone from the general public who has a concealed carry permit to enter the school was a hot topic.
Community member Tess Greet said that the school has done a marvelous job of working to protect the students and everything possible should be done to ensure their safety. She added that allowing teachers to conceal carry, especially with the fact that the general public could conceal carry in the school if the bill is passed, would be an extra layer of protection.
Megan Greet added that (school safety) is more important now than ever before. After a brief closed session with Kolpitcke, the board resumed the open session and discussed how each member felt about either waiting until after the legislature session or proceeding. All members of the board, with the exception of Megan Truman, said they should proceed and vote on adopting the rule. Truman stated she was concerned that having teachers conceal and carry would make the students feel less safe and might be detrimental to the students’ ability to learn. Truman also asked that if the board voted to adopt the rule that the teachers and students be surveyed down the line to learn if the rule created fear or a feeling of safety.