Last week, a disgruntled minister in Wyoming wrote a mass email to all of the lawmakers in the Cowboy State expressing concern over a pro-gun bill that would have legalized campus carry for all law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits.
“I am writing to express my grave concern about House Bill 105,” wrote Rev. Audette Fulbright of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne. “Ample evidence has shown that schools and guns do not mix, and in particular, guns in the hands of amateurs/non-professionals is extremely dangerous.”
Well, in due time, Rev. Fulbright got a response from two state lawmakers.
The first was perfunctory but helpful response from Rep. Mary Throne (D-Cheyenne) who told Rev. Fulbright that HB 105 had been referred to the Senate Education Committee and she should contact committee members who were reviewing the bill.
The second response came from a supporter of HB 105, Rep. Hans Hunt (R-Newcastle) who in so many words told the minister, a recent transplant from Virginia, to ‘take a hike.’
“I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage,” Hunt said in his reply to Fulbright.
To be fair to Rep. Hunt, his curt response was prompted by Rev. Fulbright’s claim that she might leave Wyoming if lawmakers didn’t rethink the direction they were headed.
“My husband and I moved to Wyoming not too long ago” wrote Fulbright. “We believed it was a good place to raise children. With the recent and reactive expansion of gun laws and the profoundly serious dangers of fracking, we find we are seriously reconsidering our decision, which is wrenching to all of us.”
To some extent, one can argue that she opened the door for that ‘if you don’t like it, then leave’ response, but still, this type of candor coming from an elected official was somewhat shocking to Rev. Fulbright.
“Apparently I have to live here a certain amount of time before I have an opinion,” she told the Casper Star-Tribune on Friday.
Meanwhile, Rep. Hunt was unapologetic about his email, saying that he did not believe he was being offensive or mean-spirited and that he typically embraces opposing voices, but on this occasion he felt obligated to push for the eradication of ‘gun-free’ zones, which he believes are soft targets for sociopaths.
“Was it blunt? Yes. Would I apologize? No,” Hunt told the Star-Tribune.
Though, in hindsight, the second-term legislator said he might contemplate a different choice of words.
“If I had to do it again, would I sit and think about how to phrase my words more carefully? Probably,” Hunt told the Star-Tribune.
What do you think of Hunt’s reply (see full correspondences below)? Was it too direct? Was it mean-spirited? Or was it justified?
As for the fate of HB 105, that died in the committee this week.
Rev. Fulbright’s email:
I hope you are taking care of yourself during this busy session. I know it is a challenging, compressed time.
I am writing to express my grave concern about House Bill 105. Ample evidence has shown that schools and guns do not mix, and in particular, guns in the hands of amateurs/non-professionals is extremely dangerous, especially in any highly-charged situation. to expose our children to greater risk in their schools by encouraging more guns on campuses is something that we cannot allow.
My husband and I moved to Wyoming not too long ago. We believed it was a good place to raise children. With the recent and reactive expansion of gun laws and the profoundly serious dangers of fracking, we find we are seriously reconsidering our decision, which is wrenching to all of us. However, the safety of our family must come first. We are waiting to see what the legislature does this session. I know of other new-to-Wyoming families in similar contemplation. Your choices matter. It would be sad to see an exodus of educated, childrearing age adults from Wyoming as a result of poor lawmaking.
Rev. Audette Fulbright
I’ll be blunt. If you don’t like the political atmosphere of Wyoming, then by all means, leave. We, who have been here a very long time (I am proudly 4th generation) are quite proud of our independent heritage. I don’t expect a “mass exodus” from our state just because we’re standing up for our rights. As to your comments on fracking, I would point out that you’re basing your statement on “dangers” that have not been scientifically founded or proved as of yet.
It offends me to no end when liberal out-of-staters such as yourself move into Wyoming, trying to get away from where they came from, and then pompously demand that Wyoming conform to their way of thinking. We are, and will continue to be, a state which stands a head above the rest in terms of economic security. Our ability to do that is, in large part, to our “live and let live” mentality when it comes to allowing economic development, and limiting government oversight. So, to conclude, if you’re so worried about what our legislature is working on, then go back home.
Representative Hans Hunt
House District 02