Current Wyoming Gun Laws

Welcome to Wyoming sign
Wyoming is a shall-issue state.
Last modified: January 16, 2023

Wyoming is a state that has a long and proud history of upholding and protecting its citizens’ rights. As such, this brief overview will explore the current gun laws in Wyoming, including their scope and enforcement.

A Brief Guide to Wyoming Gun Laws

Wyoming is a state that supports its citizens’ second amendment rights, being one of few shall-issue states. This means that the county sheriff’s office has some authority over issuing concealed firearm permits to applicants.

Sheriff
County Sheriffs have some authority over issuing concealed firearm permits.

Individuals interested in obtaining a concealed carry permit must apply through their local county sheriff’s office, and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) handles the issuing process. 

The process is thorough but efficient, ensuring all proper due diligence is taken while recognizing a citizen’s right to bear arms.

Individuals seeking to purchase firearms from a private individual do not need a weapon permit or background check. However, the state has no laws requiring firearms registration for its citizens.

Concealed firearm permit

On the other hand, obtaining a Wyoming Concealed Firearm Permit (CFP) exempts an individual from the federal requirement of going through a background check before a firearm purchase. 

Handguns
Handguns.

The CFP can be obtained by first-time applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and adhere to all the requirements outlined in the state law.

As such, although no one in Wyoming is required to register their firearms, it may be beneficial to obtain a CFP when buying a gun from anyone other than a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer to avoid any issues connected with federal regulations.

Open Carry in Wyoming

Open carry is legal without a permit for anyone at least 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm. 

However, it should be noted that open carry is prohibited in schools and businesses primarily devoted to selling and consuming alcohol.

Bar
Open carry is prohibited in bars in Wyoming.

Concealed Carry Permits

As of July 1, 2021, permitless concealed carry (also known as constitutional carry) is legal for any legal resident of the United States who is 21 years old or older and may lawfully possess a firearm.

Those under 21 who wish to obtain a concealed carry permit must meet all state eligibility requirements, including completing a firearms-training course that has been state-approved.

They must also demonstrate experience with a firearm through participation in an organized shooting competition or military service.

Purchasing Firearms

The minimum age to purchase and possess a handgun is 21 — 18 years old for shotguns or rifles — but there are some areas where firearms are off-limits (such as schools). 

Shotgun
The minimum age for purchasing a shotgun is 18.

It’s essential to be aware of these restrictions before purchasing or carrying any weapons onto restricted premises.

Out-of-State Permit Recognition

Wyoming honors permit from other states that recognize Wyoming permits. However, it’s important to note that this does not include out-of-state permitless carry permits for those under 21 years old. 

Those wishing to use an out-of-state gun license must meet all other applicable requirements by Wyoming state law.

Wyoming’s Castle Doctrine and Stand-Your-Ground Laws

Wyoming is a Castle Doctrine state, meaning an individual has the right to defend themselves, their family, and their property without fear of prosecution.

man pointing gun
The right to self defense is respected in Wyoming.

In other words, if an individual feels threatened in any way while they are lawfully present in their own home or any other place they are legally allowed to be, they have the right to use defensive force to protect themselves. 

Understanding the concept of “stand your ground” in relation to Wyoming state law is essential.

Laws regarding defensive force

In Wyoming, individuals can use reasonable defensive force when necessary to prevent injury or loss. This includes deadly force if necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury.

woman throwing punch
Reasonable defensive force is recognized in the state.

The law does not require people to retreat from a threat before taking action. Instead, it gives people a legal defense for using reasonable defensive force if they feel threatened. 

Individuals who use reasonable defensive force and follow all applicable laws will not be criminally prosecuted for their actions.

When is defensive force legal?

It is noteworthy that not all uses of defensive force are considered legal in Wyoming. Individuals must only use defensive force when necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.

US Courtroom
The court will consider how imminent the threat was when determining reasonable defensive force

To determine whether defensive force was used reasonably, courts consider various factors, including how imminent the threat was, whether other options were available besides using force and whether the person using force acted out of anger or fear.

If these factors suggest that the use of defense was unjustified or excessive, it may be considered illegal and open someone up to criminal investigation and charges or civil liability.

Overall, Wyoming has taken a firm stance on gun regulation. The state understands the importance of self-defense but recognizes the need for individuals to undergo training to possess guns legally.

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