Big Horn County becoming a second amendment sanctuary discussed at mayor’s meeting

Barbara Anne Greene

Representatives from the towns of Cowley, Manderson, Burlington and Basin, the Basin Area Chamber and two Big Horn County commissioners attended a mayors’ meeting on April 31. Also in attendance was guest speaker LaRae Dobbs, the county’s emergency management coordinator for the county. The Town of Basin hosted the meeting that was held at the Basin City Arts Center.

Basin Mayor CJ Duncan started a discussion about if Big Horn County should become a Second Amendment sanctuary. He passed out a copy of a resolution from Niobrara County that declared that county to be a sanctuary.

Duncan said that he believes Fremont and Weston counties have also adopted the resolution. He has discussed the resolution with the Basin Town Council members and each of them supports it. He asked that town representatives at the meeting to take the discussion back to their towns.

He would like to know where the other towns stand on this issue. If supported, it could be taken to the commissioners to ask them to pass such a resolution.

County Commission Chair Dave Neves told the group that the commission had talked to the county attorney. “She recommended we not sign it. Because in Wyoming, a resolution carries the same affect as law. So if we sign that, we would be at risk of being in violation of state or federal law, even if it were a law we didn’t agree with. She recommended instead of a resolution we could do a proclamation if we felt like we wanted to do that. So far we haven’t done that.“

He went on to say that a proclamation does not have the same legal teeth as a law would.

Duncan said he understood where the county’s legal council was coming from. He added, “Along the same token, I feel it’s a responsibility we have as leaders to protect our rights —federally as well as state constitution. Frankly, I’m concerned that federal law is going to affect these rights and I would like to get ahead of that. I don’t like to be put in a corner and have to react.”

Commissioner Felix Carrizales said that as individuals, he believes the commissioners feel the same as Duncan. But as elected officials, he said funding is tied to a lot of things the county does. “I’ve told constituents this and they did not want to hear those comments. We are tied to so much federal and state money. We want to be careful we don’t lose some of that funding. It’s amazing how much money we receive. I suppose towns are receiving some of that money, too. We are trying to walk that fine line.”

Carrizales continued that he wants the towns to talk about it and then bring it to the commission. They will be open to hear it. If the county is ready to make a stand, then the commission will consider doing it. He added that maybe the county should go ahead and put out a proclamation so it was clear as to where the county stood on the issue.

Another part of the meeting was a roundtable where Duncan asked for a community activities update from each of the groups represented. Cowley noted an upcoming Easter egg hunt, spring rodeo and Pioneer Day celebration on July 24. Burlington also mentioned the upcoming egg hunt and its Pioneer Day celebration on July 24. Basin’s update included a community egg hunt and the clean up day on April 24. Dobbs gave an update on public health orders. The commissioners discussed the county fair in August and that the multi purpose building at the fairgrounds will be closed on May 1 so repairs can be made. The chamber discussed Lilac Days, Wyoming Best workshop and a Blueways Trail event that will be held at the Basin Boat Dock Park July 17 in conjunction with the town and Bighorn Basin Outdoor Recreation Collaborative.