Wyoming’s hate and gun laws have significant gaps that allow people to keep and access firearms, including assault weapons, after they have been convicted of violent hate crimes.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Wyoming
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Some access||Significant access||Some access|
|State Law||Some access||Some access||Significant access||Some access|
Wyoming is one of the only states in the nation that still has no criminal hate crime statute, although a state anti-discrimination statute does make it a lower-level misdemeanor to deny a person access to public accommodations and facilities or “the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, or the necessities of life,” based on their race, religion, color, sex, or national origin.1 (Sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity are not included as protected categories).
Wyoming generally restricts people from accessing firearms only if they have been convicted of specified violent felonies.2 This narrow restriction applies to people convicted of some of the most seriously violent crimes, including aggravated assault and battery for causing or attempting to cause a victim to suffer serious bodily injury or any bodily injury with a deadly weapon, or threatening to use a drawn deadly weapon.3
Federal law is somewhat broader, and generally prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.4 (In Wyoming, misdemeanors are generally not punishable by more than one year in jail,5 so hate crime offenders are generally subject to federal firearm restrictions only if they are convicted of felonies).
People convicted of a number of violent felony offenses in Wyoming are eligible to access firearms under state but not federal law, including those convicted of making felony terroristic threats of violence, causing serious bodily harm to a stalking victim, or possessing a firearm with intent to threaten a person’s life or physical well-being.6
People convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors in Wyoming generally remain eligible to access firearms under both state and federal law, including people convicted of violently injuring a hate crime victim, making credible threats to inflict bodily injury or death, or stalking that causes the victim to suffer substantial fear for their safety.7
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- Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-9-101; 6-9-102.[↩]
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-8-102; 6-1-104(a)(xi) (defining “violent felony” for these purposes).[↩]
- Id.; Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-2-502 (felony “Aggravated assault and battery”).[↩]
- 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).[↩]
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-10-101.[↩]
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-2-505 (felony “Terroristic threats”); 6-2-506(e)(ii) (felony stalking involving serious bodily harm); 6-8-103 (Possession of deadly weapon with unlawful intent). These felonies are not defined as firearm-prohibiting “violent felonies” under Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-10-104(a)(xi).[↩]
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 6-2-501 (misdemeanor “Simple assault; battery”); 6-2-506 (misdemeanor “Stalking”); 6-6-103(b)(ii) (misdemeanor threats of bodily injury or death).[↩]