Council Says “No” to Waiver Allowing Firearms in Pony Express Room

Mar 6, 2024 | Politics

Torrington, WY March 6th, 2024 – The Torrington City Council met for their first meeting of March on Tuesday night.

The first item on the agenda was to hear a report from Paul Stille with Leo Riley & Co. The City of Torrington partners with Leo Riley & Co. in Casper, WY to perform an audit of the City’s Financial Statements. After hearing the report from Mr. Stille the council unanimously accepted the audit report for fiscal year 2023.

The Council then considered a waiver for the rental agreement for the Lincoln Community Complex Pony Express Room. The Goshen County Republican Party requested a waiver of Section 3 v. in the agreement relating to firearms. This section of the agreement does not allow the possession of a firearm in the Pony Express Room.

Goshen County Republican Party Chairman Kirk Haas told the council that the State Republican Central Committee plans to host a quarterly meeting in September of 2024.

“Part of the bylaws of the Wyoming State Republican Party states ‘at no time will any body of the Wyoming Republican Party meet in any venue that denies the individual the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution 2nd Amendment or the Wyoming Constitution.’ That piece of it is why we are asking for the waiver,” said Haas.

Haas then discussed the potential impacts of hosting the meeting. Up to 150 people were estimated to attend the meeting. Mayor Herb Doby pointed out that people from all over the state will travel for it.

During the discussion Councilman Rick Patterson gave his arguments for his intention to vote “No.”

“I’ve thought about this a lot and have done a lot of research and read the statutes and the Wyoming Constitution and the 2nd Amendment,” said Patterson. “By us not allowing [the waiver], it does not violate the Wyoming Constitution or the 2nd Amendment. My concern is that we have policy in place – to waive that policy is within our ability – but we open that up, and then pretty soon another group comes in and says “I want that waived.” I think it’s a bad precedent to waive a policy.”

Councilman Patterson also brought up his concerns with liability.

“I think there’s some potential liability that – God forbid – that there be an accident as a result of firearms in that facility. If someone’s injured, I believe the City of Torrington would have some liability. The biggest thing for me is that that room is next door to a preschool that will be in operation at the first day of this meeting. That, for me, is the line I won’t cross. I am not anti-gun. I own firearms. I use firearms, but, there’s a time and a place,” said Patterson.

After discussion, Councilman Shane Viktorin made a motion to grant the waiver, Mayor Herb Doby seconded the motion, and the Council voted 3-2 against granting the waiver.

Watch below to view the full discussion.