Casper Man Claims He is Discriminated Against Because He Can’t Bring Gun to Council Meeting
During the Communications from Persons Present portion of Tuesday's Casper City Council meeting, a Casper man claimed he was being discriminated against because he couldn't bring his gun to the meeting.
Tim Calbert spoke to the council, saying that his 2nd Amendment rights were being impugned.
"Just coming forward today, just to say I'm disappointed in the Council for the discrimination against myself and others," Calbert said. "'Why,' you might ask? It's the inability to perform my 2nd Amendment right within these meetings and, as a veteran, as a citizen - a law abiding citizen who pays his taxes - I don't see why I need to be discriminated about practicing my 2nd Amendment rights wherever I go.
Calbert stated that he "goes through scrutiny," just as others do to not just obtain the weapon and to receive his concealed carry permit, even though, he says, "Wyoming doesn't really require that."
"So, I just wanted to come and record on the minutes and how I'm disappointed," Calbert said. "And others are, I just happen to be the one voicing my opinion. And I won't be staying or attending any other meetings because I do not feel safe here."
Calbert said that even though two officers were present at the meeting, that is the only means of defense.
"If anything gets through them, I have no way of defending myself, nor the citizens of this city, within the meeting," Tim said.
"Any questions?" he asked.
Councilor Gamroth thanked Calbert for voicing his opinion and for going to the lengths that he has to stay trained in gun safety. But Gamroth stated that not everybody does that.
"It's worth noting," Gamroth said, "you mentioned not feeling safe in here, and I totally appreciate and respect that. We've heard from other constituents that don't feel safe because of people bringing firearms into council chambers like this. And so, it's one of those things that's really...in my perspective there's not an easy right or wrong answer. We have to do our best to gauge the sentiment of the community and strike as fine a balance as we can."
Gamroth said he appreciates Calbert's comments and he respects where he's coming from.
"I don't want anybody to ever feel scared to attend our meetings and that was part of my motivation for supporting [banning firearms from Council chambers], but I do understand that not everyone is going to agree with that, and it's going to be different perspectives."
"So you take away my right and the constitution because of others' fears?" he asked. "That's the answer."
"If that's the answer you'd like to take," Gamroth said.
"That's the answer you're giving," Calbert volleyed.
Councilor Steve Cathey then entered the conversation and challenged Calbert on the information contained in the concealed carry permit.
"When you got your concealed carry permit, did you read the back of it?" Cathey asked. "Because it states that you cannot take a firearm into a government building. That is at the state level and if you watched the Legislature this last session, they voted 'No' on banning gun-free zones. So, really, it isn't up to us sitting here. It's the State Legislature and their concealed carry that says you can't bring it in."
Read More: Guns At Council Meetings: Casper Says No, Cheyenne Says Not Exactly
Mayor Knell stated that he was in favor of having firearms in Council Chambers.
"I'm a gun guy," he said. "I want to have my gun up here. I'm a moving target all the time; you've seen social media. Would I feel more protected if I was packing my own gun? You better believe it. But, like the Chief said, 90 percent of the people who are packing a gun wouldn't know what to do with it. And then, in a situation where they're under stress, or under siege, now we've put even more people in danger."
Knell stated that the current City Council did not vote to ban firearms in the Council Chambers and he said that it's "really hard" to go against state law. He agreed with Calbert that it was frustrating, and stated that he doesn't like the decision either.
"It's been nice seeing you, but I won't be attending again," Calbert said. "I'll be watching the videos, because that's a cop out."
"I understand," Knell said.