This month, the Wyoming Legislature is considering a bill that would endanger our children and communities. HB 117/SF 67 would allow civilians to carry guns in all schools, government meetings and public sporting events. We need to encourage our Legislature to drop this bill, and instead support common-sense measures proven to make schools and public spaces safer.

Studies show that the best way to protect children in schools is with threat-assessment and safe-storage programs. As the Department of Homeland Security reported in 2018, “preventing violence by detecting and addressing these [behavioral] red flags is more effective than any physical security measure.”

Law enforcement officials agree that armed civilians interfere with their ability to stop active shooters. As former Dallas Police Chief David Brown said, “We don’t know who the good guy is versus who the bad guy is if everyone starts shooting.” The fact that most civilians have far less weapons training than police officers’ average 168 hours increases the risk of accidental shootings. Twenty-one percent of gunfire incidents reported in schools over the last seven years were unintentional.

Allowing guns in more public places increases the risk of them falling into the hands of people who might harm themselves or others. Access to a firearm triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of death by homicide. Wyoming currently has the highest rate of gun suicides in the country. Suicide rates among young people have increased by 56% over the past decade nationally. Ninety percent of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal, compared to only 4% of attempts not involving a gun.

To learn how you can take action now to stop this dangerous bill, and help keep our children and communities safe from gun violence, email the Wyoming chapter of Moms Demand Action at wyoming@momschapterleaders.org.

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