CHEYENNE -- With some trepidation, Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Thursday signed into law a bill asserting that Wyoming-made firearms are exempt from all federal laws and regulations.
The legislation, which takes effect in July, is meant as a shot across the bow of the federal government. But it's unclear whether the new law will remain a symbolic declaration of states' and Second Amendment rights, or spark a real-life confrontation between state and federal officials.
Under the law, any firearms made from scratch in Wyoming -- besides automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers -- are officially exempt from all federal gun laws so long as the gun isn't taken out of the state.
That means no three-day waiting period to buy a Wyoming-made gun, no Federal Firearms License needed, no federal taxes to pay.....
Wyoming is the third state to pass a Firearms Freedom Act, after Montana and Tennessee. The laws are all based on the argument that since the federal government justifies its ability to regulate firearms on a section of the U.S. Constitution allowing Congress to regulate interstate commerce, any guns that never leave a state are exempt from federal control.
But Wyoming's Firearms Freedom Act is harsher than the other states' laws, as it says that any state or federal official who tries to enforce any federal gun law on firearms made and sold in Wyoming could face a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
(note, there's an error in this, Wyoming is the fourth state to pass such a law, Utah just passed one. But Wyoming's IS the first with penalties for federal officials who violate it.)