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Thread: Confrontation at Yellowstone

  1. #1
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    Confrontation at Yellowstone

    Below is an e-mail letter with attached narrative (part of a much longer travelog with some photos) describing an Open Carry interaction at a Xanterra Parks and Resorts facility at Yellowstone park.

    Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

    Xanterra contact information is at the bottom - unfortunately I could not find a corporate e-mail address, only the one for yellowstone.

    BobCul


    ------------------


    Gentlemen,

    The narrative below is part of a travelog I have written about our recent travels. A full, much longer version with this and many other short visit stories will soon be posted on the web site at the address on the card provided to Joe Caruso at the Yellowstone Lodge, and also below.

    To reiterate, your representative found himself in a somewhat awkward situation and after a rocky start we had a good conversation on the situation at hand. In the narrative I have discussed the often cited reasons for trying to establish a safe zone by disarming the occupants - that unfortunately makes them all easy targets if someone decides to attack them.

    Again I encourage Xanterra to change this policy. As a quick suggestion, I would remove the signs and not prohibit individuals from carry sidearms, openly or concealed. You currently never see those carrying concealed sidearms, even with the signs if they choose to ignore them. You will never detect the persons with evil intent until they act, regardless of a sign or policy. There is always a staff member capable of pleasantly conversing with the open carrier, like Joe Caruso did with me, to assure himself that the individual was acting properly and rationally. I think you will find that almost all of those open carrying a sidearm will be very friendly and willing to engage in conversation. If you want further firsthand reporting on such an encounter, talk to Joe Caruso the assistant cafeteria manager at the Yellowstone Old Faithful Lodge. He is now experienced in such matters.

    You can also talk to me.

    Sincerely,
    (SIG LINES DELETED)

    =============
    Confrontation at Yellowstone

    On Saturday, July 21, 2012, we headed north to Yellowstone to see the sights. Stopping at West Thumb, Cathy visited the Yellowstone Association shop and I loitered outside - open carrying. We then went on a hike around the boardwalk at the thermal features. I have discussed this area walk in previous travelogs. Many folks passed by, including many foreign tourists and a few rangers. No big deal and a few friendly conversations ensued. Next we headed further north for a 4 mile hike. Two hours of vigorous walking was quite comfortable with the Fobus paddle holster and the 1911 without the light.

    We finished our walk about 8:15 pm, so we immediately headed into the Old Faithful area for some dinner because it was getting late. We went into the Yellowstone General Store to check out the snack bar. Looking carefully, we saw there were no firearm restrictions but the snack bar was about to close and the food selection was limited. The very friendly staff recommended the Old Faithful Lodge cafeteria which had a bigger selection and stayed open later. They had no reaction to the openly carried sidearm. We walked to the lodge and saw no firearm restriction signs on the open doors, so we moved through the common lobby area and into the cafeteria to look at the selection boards. After several minutes of surveying the menus, we decided on our selections, got our meals and drinks and headed to the cashier.

    While paying for our meals a fellow approached from my right and spoke; I thought to the cashiers, as they looked up at him. He said something along the lines of when you finish checking out step outside to have your meals. That sounded strange so I looked over at him and saw he was speaking to me. He had just started speaking without addressing me or gaining my attention before hand. Seeing my quizzical look he inferred correctly that I did not understand. He then said something about having a policy of not allowing firearms in the establishment. I informed him that I had looked for signage restricting this, as I am usually quite thorough in observing signs, but saw none. As an aside, the cash register clerk made some statements indicating that he understood my viewpoint and firearm position. Indeed, from our view as we moved away from the cashier and to the condiment stand in the dining room, there were clearly no signs on the entrance doors going directly into the dining room (though not the ones we entered the building by). We discussed the requirement for signage at all entrances and he acknowledged the apparent lack, thereof. But the cafeteria staff member said that he checked with the front desk management and the policy stands; he reiterated his request that we eat outside on the porch and not in the dining room. I will not go into details but I told him I objected to being required to leave the dining room and eat outside; it was a kind of “back of the bus moment”, yet I told him I would comply with his request. The exchange was quite cordial throughout.

    We moved to the porch outside the dining room and even though there were no tables and chairs, we made due with some comfortable rockers and a great view of Old Faithful and a beautiful sunset with a very new moon setting behind the mountains. I took a few minutes to again visit the front entrance doors (by an outside route) and DID find some small square signs with a red circle and slash over a handgun and a brief notation referring to a Xanterra Parks & Resorts policy. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera at that time. I had not seen the signs when we first entered because the doors were PROPPED OPEN and the signs on the outside front of the doors COULD NOT BE SEEN from our direct approach to and through the doors. Yes, the front doors were posted but in a useless fashion and the side doors were not posted.

    The person who confronted us was Joe Caruso, the assistant cafeteria manager, a very pleasant and professional young man. Xanterra does not hire fools. He again approached us after our meal (fair quality, by the way) and we had an extended conversation and I gave him my MCSM card and explained our reasons for open carrying. He appeared sympathetic and I gave him one of the Walk In The Park flyers (PDF file on the MCSM web site) and asked him several times to take my comments to Xanterra and suggested they should modify their policy. Joe then supplied me with comment cards. I have carefully checked the Xanterra web sites and can find no reference to any firearm or related policy. Times are changing and more folks will be carrying sidearm defense tools, especially in areas like Yellowstone.

    Any organization which actively denies the carrying of personal defense tools should understand the potential liability of their actions. There obviously is a loss of business liability as I already have a short list of businesses I will avoid. I need to get some Gun Owner - business educational cards - printed up to explain this at future contacts. If a business chooses to exclude me and others from doing business with them, that is their choice. I guess there is also the safety and legal liability for Xanterra, but not the one they are thinking about when they ask their lawyers about this position. What is their liability if by denying self defense, in the event of an attack, an individual is more seriously hurt or killed? This hazard headed into the Old Faithful area for some dinner extends not only to the denied firearm carrier but to the whole room - they can not benefit from an individual defending himself and thus the whole group suffers. As we left the building I had the clear thought, that now the people there were in MORE DANGER because they were in a victim disarmament zone. If Xanterra is worried about the reaction of some of their guests who might be upset at the sight of someone carrying a self defense tool, I reminded Joe of the 8 oz. Bear Spray my wife was carrying. All of our encounters with tourists and rangers in the parks have been very positive, often resulting in conversations and curiosity satisfied.

    If you care to contact Xanterra, here is the information to do so.
    Xanterra Parks & Resorts - 6312 South Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600N
    Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 - Phone: 303.600.3400 - Fax: 303.600.3600
    <http://www.xanterra.com/Corporate-Offices-350.html>
    Specifically for Yellowstone; <info-ynp@xanterra.com>

    Be kind to them. They are in the midst of an emotional reaction, denying firearm owners access to an area thinking it makes the area safer, and they will be bound up in a changing tide. Gentle and reasoned persuasion, and business changes, will educate them.
    =============

  2. #2
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    As a Xanterra employee I am incredibly sorry for your poor experience. It is true that Xanterra does maintain a no firearms policy in all of its facilities, something that was brought about with the allowance of open carry firearms into national parks. As you stated there are quite small no firearms signs posted at MOST doors entering xanterra facilities...but as you stated as well they are quite easy to miss! As an employee I have gone as high as I can go in trying to get these rules changed with little to no success. That being said, anytime I am not on the clock I stay out of all xanterra facilities...because I am always OCing. I hope that will a little more resistance from the OC community we can push to get these rules changed. And if you ever make it up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area drop me a line and we can enjoy the park as well as our constitutional liberties together! Again I apologize and hope that we can all cause the necessary stir to make some positive changes in the park!

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Does Xanterra have any competition in the area, or do they somehow have exclusive vendor rights in the park? If their rights are exclusive, I'd like to see a copy of the contract. Maybe they don't even have the right to prohibit firearms. Surely the contract is public information, right?
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Stop suggesting stores post signs!!!!!

    why are you giving them ideas about signs?

    This just encourages posting.

    We don;t want posting.

    Stop helping stores advance anti-gun policies.

    This has been covered extensively here and on other blogs.

    Stop.

  5. #5
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    You can not cower - step up and speak out

    I have been visiting Wyoming for decades and we now live in Jackson. I hope to meet up with you and as many other Wyoming gunnies as possible.
    Thanks for the kind words. Two years ago, when the park regulations changed I organized the Walk In The Park activity on Independence Day, It was written up here and also on the web site at <www.mcsm.org>

    The experience was not "poor" it was instead an opportunity to educate a company employee and possibly get a message to management. I got an e-mail "read" confirmation - I wonder if they will reply?

    Whenever I encounter a situation which others would benefit hearing about, I write about it. I get the word out especially if it can be applied to change or correct a situation. I mentioned the firearm "business cards" and have taken the time to look them up. Just google for Concealed carry business cards and you will find several PDF files for the cards, one of which would be suitable for your purposes. If businesses realize that discriminating against part of their potential market will have an economic impact, their actions may change.

    Bob


    Quote Originally Posted by YellowstoneGlock View Post
    As a Xanterra employee I am incredibly sorry for your poor experience. It is true that Xanterra does maintain a no firearms policy in all of its facilities, something that was brought about with the allowance of open carry firearms into national parks. As you stated there are quite small no firearms signs posted at MOST doors entering xanterra facilities...but as you stated as well they are quite easy to miss! As an employee I have gone as high as I can go in trying to get these rules changed with little to no success. That being said, anytime I am not on the clock I stay out of all xanterra facilities...because I am always OCing. I hope that will a little more resistance from the OC community we can push to get these rules changed. And if you ever make it up to the Mammoth Hot Springs area drop me a line and we can enjoy the park as well as our constitutional liberties together! Again I apologize and hope that we can all cause the necessary stir to make some positive changes in the park!

  6. #6
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    Is it easier to hide from a condition, from your attackers, than to fight back. Postings already exist, I would be a chauvinist to think that anything I did caused someone to take an anti-gun attitude. I DO think I have encouraged some to think and act more intelligently and less emotionally by their trying to hid from guns and their owners.

    If anyone thinks such actions encourage posting, then might the companies also think I mean business when I say "no sale" in the future? The "No Guns = No Sale" cards will say that in the future.

    It is a bit short sighted to think that pushing back against anti-gun policies encourages those policies in some way.
    I will continue with the good fight. You are free to join or stay on the sidelines. Unless you can give me hard evidence that our actions in fighting back are actually causing more harm than good, your unsupported claims are useless.

    Bob


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    why are you giving them ideas about signs?

    This just encourages posting.

    We don;t want posting.

    Stop helping stores advance anti-gun policies.

    This has been covered extensively here and on other blogs.

    Stop.

  7. #7
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    Park Concessionairs

    Xanterra has the concession contract for Yellowstone lodging and food service in most areas - just look at their web site to see just how broadly they reach.

    I puzzled over this two years ago when visiting the Leeks Marina Pizza Parlor in Grand Teton Park. They have a very small "no guns" symbol at the entrances to their establishment. I asked an employee about it and was assured it was a concessionaire policy and not because any park employees worked out of the building as might cause the federal posting at a rangers office or similar place.

    Now it occurred to me to that perhaps such a prohibition at ANY location in a public park may be contrary to law - I have not looked into that. I guess there may be some legally competent folks on this site who could opine on this (or someone may know who could give an opinion). I have the feeling that the concessionaires can behave just as if they leased the space and ran a private business. BUT, your idea of looking at the concession contract makes sense. GO FOR IT.

    Bob


    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Does Xanterra have any competition in the area, or do they somehow have exclusive vendor rights in the park? If their rights are exclusive, I'd like to see a copy of the contract. Maybe they don't even have the right to prohibit firearms. Surely the contract is public information, right?

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    Slippery slope arguments falsely assume that one thing must lead to another. They begin by suggesting that if we do one thing then that will lead to another, and before we know it we’ll be doing something that we don’t want to do. They conclude that we therefore shouldn’t do the first thing. The problem with these arguments is that it is possible to do the first thing that they mention without going on to do the other things; restraint is possible.

    http://www.logicalfallacies.info/pre...lippery-slope/
    Pointing out the fact that a sign is posted is not the same as encouraging other businesses to post signage?
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

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    I think any true private business should be able to have any firearms (or other) policy whatever.

    However, for a concession type business on government (so-called "public") land, I don't think this is right. The laws in the park overall are those of the state, now. If you want a concession on "public" land you should have restraints on the sorts of things you can do. In fact I am sure there are already many conditions on the actions you can take in such a business (my wife had a lodge in national forest land and the restrictions were numerous and detailed). Why should you be able to get away with trampling customers' RKBA in your business, when you are subject to many more petty restrictions?

    Until Xanterra comes to their senses, I suppose the usual policy should be followed by firearms owners: boycott. I do not patronize businesses that trample customer RKBA. I suggest the rest of you do likewise.

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    Any update? I'm going to Grand Teton, and Yellowstone in June. WY doesn't honor my WA CPL.
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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    Any update? I'm going to Grand Teton, and Yellowstone in June. WY doesn't honor my WA CPL.
    Do you need it to be honored? We have open and concealed with no permit needed. Maybe it's for residents only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin in WY View Post
    Do you need it to be honored? We have open and concealed with no permit needed. Maybe it's for residents only.
    No permit for concealing in WY is for residents only with the definition of at least 6 months residency.

    I maintain that Xanterra does not have the right to have policies of exclusions as exclusive concessionaires on public lands.
    Last edited by MAC702; 07-14-2015 at 05:11 PM.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobcul View Post
    Is it easier to hide from a condition, from your attackers, than to fight back. Postings already exist, I would be a chauvinist to think that anything I did caused someone to take an anti-gun attitude. I DO think I have encouraged some to think and act more intelligently and less emotionally by their trying to hid from guns and their owners.

    If anyone thinks such actions encourage posting, then might the companies also think I mean business when I say "no sale" in the future? The "No Guns = No Sale" cards will say that in the future.

    It is a bit short sighted to think that pushing back against anti-gun policies encourages those policies in some way.
    I will continue with the good fight. You are free to join or stay on the sidelines. Unless you can give me hard evidence that our actions in fighting back are actually causing more harm than good, your unsupported claims are useless.

    Bob
    Newbie insults OCDO owner.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  14. #14
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobcul View Post
    Xanterra has the concession contract for Yellowstone lodging and food service in most areas - just look at their web site to see just how broadly they reach.

    I puzzled over this two years ago when visiting the Leeks Marina Pizza Parlor in Grand Teton Park. They have a very small "no guns" symbol at the entrances to their establishment. I asked an employee about it and was assured it was a concessionaire policy and not because any park employees worked out of the building as might cause the federal posting at a rangers office or similar place.

    Now it occurred to me to that perhaps such a prohibition at ANY location in a public park may be contrary to law - I have not looked into that. I guess there may be some legally competent folks on this site who could opine on this (or someone may know who could give an opinion). I have the feeling that the concessionaires can behave just as if they leased the space and ran a private business. BUT, your idea of looking at the concession contract makes sense. GO FOR IT.

    Bob
    There is no special dispensation for concessionaires.

    Guns are legal on NPS lands where state law does not otherwis restrict it. Guns are restricted in facilities where federal employees normally work - such must be clearly posted.

    http://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/management/lawsandpolicies.htm

    See Fair Credit Reporting Act:
    Guns at national parks
    "Asked about an unrelated provision in the bill allowing visitors to U.S. National Parks and refuges to legally carry licensed, loaded firearms, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters during Friday's press briefing, just before the signing ceremony, that Obama would sign the bill with the gun provision included: "Overall, the credit card reform bill is important for consumers and should be signed," Gibbs told reporters. The gun clause takes effect Feb. 22, 2010."
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...d-law-1282.php
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Really, Grape? Two comments about a now three year old thread?

    But since you opened the door, concessionaires (that is their legal title) are not federal employees but independent contractors who operate NPS facilities. Any GFZ policy would be in contravention of NPS policy.

    Too bad you waited so long and that it came to my attention from being on the sidebar and your comment about the (in 2012) newbie.

    Perhaps this little tidbit of information will be of use to some future visitors to National Parks.

    stay safe.
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  16. #16
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Really, Grape? Two comments about a now three year old thread?

    But since you opened the door, concessionaires (that is their legal title) are not federal employees but independent contractors who operate NPS facilities. Any GFZ policy would be in contravention of NPS policy.

    Too bad you waited so long and that it came to my attention from being on the sidebar and your comment about the (in 2012) newbie.

    Perhaps this little tidbit of information will be of use to some future visitors to National Parks.

    stay safe.
    Aware of all of the above.

    Thought was worth posting, particularly since no resolution was noted.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Question

    Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months, which would make sense as that's how long you need to live here to get resident hunting/fishing licenses, but according to several state/city websites you're considered a resident for "all purposes other than game licenses" as soon as you're either employed or own/rent your primary home (designated you live in it more than 6 months per year) in the state.

    I'm not trying to say you're wrong, I'm just wondering because I have friends and family looking to move here and want to be able to inform them correctly.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Last edited by Justin in WY; 08-13-2015 at 10:56 AM.

  18. #18
    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin in WY View Post
    Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months...
    Wyoming Statutes 6-8-104(a)(iv) and 6-8-104(b)(i):

    6-8-104. Wearing or carrying concealed weapons; penalties;
    exceptions; permits.
    (a) A person who wears or carries a concealed deadly
    weapon is guilty of a misdemeanor ...
    unless:
    ...(iv) The person does not possess a permit issued
    under this section, but otherwise meets the requirements
    specified in paragraphs (b)(i) through (vi), (viii) and (ix) of
    this section and possession of the firearm by the person is not
    otherwise unlawful.
    ...
    (b) The attorney general is authorized to issue permits to
    carry a concealed firearm to persons qualified as provided by
    this subsection...The attorney general through the division shall
    issue a permit to any person who:
    (i) Is a resident of the United States and has been a
    resident of Wyoming for not less than six (6) months prior to
    filing the application.
    ...
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

  19. #19
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Justin in WY
    Mac702, could you tell me where you found the requirement of 6 months to be considered a resident at? I asked a local cop and they said it's 12 months...
    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Wyoming Statutes 6-8-104(a)(iv) and 6-8-104(b)(i):
    We regularly admonish people to not ask LEOs about the law. They frequently don't know it and won't be the ones to defend you if things go south.

    They way to get the best answer is to read the actual pertinent law. There are those like Mac who will guide you.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    We regularly admonish people to not ask LEOs about the law. They frequently don't know it and won't be the ones to defend you if things go south.
    Oh no, I know they often don't know, and I know they wouldn't risk their job to defend you. But there are only 2 or 3 cops in my town (and a few game wardens), so if they all think the law's more lenient than it is you're pretty safe "breaking the law", since they're the only ones here who could bother you about it. About 1/4 of people here carry open or concealed, and I've never had an issue at all, so it's pretty safe.

    Thanks for the information though.

    Edit: Also, is there even any way for a cop to find out how long you've been a resident of a state aside from you telling them? I wouldn't imagine so.
    Last edited by Justin in WY; 08-14-2015 at 08:44 AM.

  21. #21
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    http://grahamfaupel.com/wp-content/u...ency_Print.pdf

    Demonstrating the intent to terminate residency in the
    old state and establish residency in Wyoming is a fact based analysis and should
    generally involve the following actions:

    • Maintaining a domicile (preferably one you own) in Wyoming;
    • Selling your residence in the former state (or at least downsizing);
    • Spending more time in Wyoming than anywhere else;
    • Registering to vote (and voting) in Wyoming;
    • Registering vehicles in Wyoming;
    • Obtaining a Wyoming driver’s license;
    • Renewing your passport to reflect Wyoming;
    • Amending estate planning documents to reflect Wyoming
    residency;
    • Moving financial accounts to Wyoming;
    • Moving situs of trusts to Wyoming;
    • Engaging in social, civic, and religious organizations in Wyoming;
    • Preparing and signing an affidavit of domicile;
    • Making charitable donations in Wyoming (consider reducing the
    charitable donations in the old state);
    • Establishing relationships with a doctor, dentist, accountant, and
    attorney in Wyoming; and
    • Changing mailing address to Wyoming: financial institutions,
    magazines, memberships, clubs, and insurance.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

  22. #22
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    We are getting considerably off topic which is Confrontation at Yellowstone.

    Posts referencing "residency" in Wyoming likely deserve a separate thread.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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