CHEYENNE – A bill that would prohibit any sort of state-run firearm buyback program advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
House Bill 28, introduced by Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance, would prevent any governmental body – from a town to a state – from participating in the programs, which have been implemented in cities like Seattle, Boston and Detroit in the past.
As pointed out by Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie, during the meeting, there currently isn’t any push to establish buyback programs in Wyoming. Yet Lindholm said he wanted to ensure there is no potential for them moving forward.
“There’s a state out east that used to be just as red as Wyoming when it came to the Second Amendment,” Lindholm said in reference to the state of Virginia. “They’re in a very different place right now, and it started in 2007 when they started putting in gun buyback programs.”
While the state and other governmental entities would be prohibited from implementing such programs, the bill, which has the support of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, still leaves open the possibility of a private buyback program.
“We’ve got plenty of great gun buyback programs already in the state of Wyoming called pawn shops,” Lindholm said after the meeting. “Go to a pawn shop if you want to sell your firearm.”
In an interview after the meeting, Lindholm said he got the idea from a colleague in the North Dakota Legislature, which passed a similar bill last year.
“I got to thinking about gun buyback programs that are run by the state or some political entity, and it’s not right to use taxpayer funds to purchase something like that,” Lindholm said.
After some discussion, the committee approved the legislation by an 8-1 vote. Rep. Sara Burlingame, D-Cheyenne, was the only lawmaker to vote against the measure.
Lindholm, who serves as the House Majority Whip, said the bill has good momentum in his chamber.
“We’ll see what happens when it gets over to the Senate,” he added.
The bill must pass three votes on the House floor before it would move on to the Senate.