Wyoming Gun Laws: A Quick Guide
Wyoming Gun Laws Overview
Recent Law Changes
Wyoming gun laws are friendly to gun owners and strongly uphold the 2nd amendment. In fact, Wyoming instituted Constitutional Carry in 2011, becoming the 4th state to do so. Currently, there are 16 states that allow the right to conceal carry a weapon without a state-issued license. Well, 16 and a half, as Montana has permit-less carry but only outside of cities and towns. Interestingly, another early adopter of Constitutional Carry was Maine, you can read about Maine's gun laws here from Cardini Defense.
Age Limits and Background Checks
Wyoming does have age restrictions on purchasing firearms. To purchase, a person must be over the age of 21 for a handgun and over the age of 18 for a shotgun/rifle.
Wyoming does not require a permits to purchase, universal background checks, or forced waiting periods. Additionally, the state does not require any type of gun registration. Federal law applies to federally licensed gun dealers, which requires background checks before a sale. Although, for private gun sales, the state does not require these background checks.
Red Flag Laws
A Red Flag Law refers to an Extreme Protection Order set up by the state. These laws allow for the local courts to remove firearms from a potentially dangerous person’s possession. In Wyoming, there are no laws about Extreme Risk Protection. In 2020, the state senate failed to pass a bill that some viewed as a precursor to Red Flag Laws. The failed bill allows for due process but still removes guns from those with poor mental health.
There are places in Wyoming where having firearms are not allowed. This includes those with concealed carry permits, as well as those who open carry. Of course, law enforcement is given special exemptions in these places. The list below is up to date as of Spring 2021 and is from the official Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
No permit issued pursuant to Wyoming law or any permit issued from any other state shall authorize any person to carry a concealed firearm into:
o Any facility used primarily for law enforcement operations or administration without the written consent of the chief administrator;
o Any detention facility, prison or jail;
o Any courtroom, except that nothing in this section shall preclude a judge from carrying a concealed weapon or determining who will carry a concealed weapon in the courtroom;
o Any meeting of a governmental entity;
o Any meeting of the legislature or a committee thereof;
o Any school, college or professional athletic event not related to firearms;
o Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic liquor and malt beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to that purpose;
o Any elementary or secondary school facility;
o Any college or university facility without the written consent of the security service of the college or university; or
o Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or regulation or state law.
Self Defense Laws in Wyoming
Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine
Castle Doctrine is a traditional defense for using deadly force within one’s own home. Assumedly, the phrase comes from the old saying, “A Man's House is His Castle”. A person can claim self-defense when defending his home or property from an intruder. Although, states tend to interpret this right differently- some including anywhere around a home, and others stating that porches and yards are not included in the “castle”.
Another way to claim self-defense after a lethal encounter is to prove that there was an attempt to leave the area or to use non-lethal force first. This is aptly called a Duty to Retreat. In most states, Castle Doctrine and Duty to Retreat can coexist, as Duty to Retreat generally applies only to public spaces.
Wyoming does not require a Duty to Retreat and explicitly states so in its State Law.
“A person who is attacked in any place where the person is lawfully present shall not have a duty to retreat before using reasonable defensive force pursuant to subsection (a) of this section provided that he is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in illegal activity.” Wyoming Statutes Title 6. Crimes and Offenses § 6-2-602
In Wyoming, Stand Your Ground laws extend the reach of Castle Doctrine to any place a person is legally allowed to be. Notably, the burden of proof rests on the defendant to show that they were reasonable and justified in their act of self-defense.
Wyoming’s Concealed Carry Law
Wyoming is a Constitutional Carry state which allows its citizens the freedom to openly carry long guns and handguns. Further, residents of Wyoming may conceal carry handguns without a permit or license. Although, there are restricted areas where no firearms are allowed, such as schools and government buildings. For an extensive list of restricted areas, check out this page updated in 2020 from Gifford's Law.
Age and Requirements for Conceal Carry
Wyoming does not issue non-resident permits. Residents over 18 years old may apply, although applications from those between the ages of 18-21 are reviewed and closely monitored. Additionally, the applicant must be a state resident for at least 6 months before applying.
Process of Applying for a CWP
For a permit, a resident must submit an application, fee ($64 as of 2021), and proof of firearm training to the local sheriff's office. Wyoming is a “shall-issue” state, but it can still take up to 90 days for the permit to be issued. Once received, the permit is valid for 5 years.
FAQ: Wyoming Law
Can I Carry a Gun in My Car in Wyoming?
- Yes. If a person is legally allowed to carry a firearm, they may have a loaded gun in the vehicle (as long as it is not concealed).
- State Residents may conceal carry without a permit in their vehicles.
- Non-Residents may only conceal carry in a vehicle if they have a valid permit.
Are There Any Firearm Restrictions in Wyoming?
- No. Federal Laws are still applicable, so fully automatic machine guns and sawed-off shot-guns must be processed properly. Here is a link to the SC DOJ (South Carolina Department of Justice) for a complete list of Federal Laws concerning firearms.
I’m from another state, what CWP’s (Concealed Weapons Permit) will Wyoming Honor?
- A person may carry a concealed weapon as long as they have a valid permit from their resident state that has reciprocity with Wyoming.
Wyoming currently offers reciprocity with the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
*Please be aware that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Also, be sure to consult with an attorney if you have any legal questions.*