Article I, § 24 of the Wyoming Constitution states: “The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.”
The Supreme Court of Wyoming has held that the right under article I, § 24 is subject to the reasonable exercise of the police power.1
In addition, in the 1982 case Carfield v. State, the Supreme Court of Wyoming rejected a challenge to a state statute prohibiting possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of certain crimes.2 The court noted that article I, § 24 grants Wyoming residents the right to possess firearms “in defense of themselves and of the state” but observed that “[i]n this case there is no claim, nor would the facts support such a claim, by [defendant] that his possession was for the purpose of defending the State or himself.”3 The court concluded that the right to “bear arms” is subject to the legitimate exercise of the police power of the state and the statute prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms was a reasonable and legitimate exercise of that power.4
Wyoming has provided by statute that, subject to approval by the governor, “[t]he attorney general may seek to intervene or file an amicus curiae brief in any lawsuit filed in any state or federal court in Wyoming, or filed against any Wyoming citizen or firm in any other jurisdiction for damages for injuries as a result of the use of fire arms [sic] that are not defective,” if the action threatens the right of Wyoming citizens to “keep and bear arms.”5
- See King v. Wyo. Div. of Crim. Investigation, 89 P.3d 341, 351-52 (Wyo. 2004) (finding that no right to carry a concealed weapon exists under the Wyoming Constitution); Mecikalski v. Office of Att’y Gen., 2 P.3d 1039, 1040-41 (Wyo. 2000) (rejecting an article I, § 24 challenge to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-8-104, which prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit); and State v. McAdams, 714 P.2d 1236 (Wyo. 1986) (also rejecting an article I, § 24 challenge to Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-8-104).
- 649 P.2d 865, 871-72 (Wyo. 1982).
- Id. at 871.
- Id. at 871-72.
- Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 9-14-101.