‘By All Means, Leave’: The Amazingly Blunt Response One State Rep. Gave a Citizen Who Wrote Him Opposing Concealed Carry in Schools
Get out of here.
That was one Wyoming state representative’s message to a resident who contacted him recently stating her opposition to a bill that would have allowed people with concealed carry permits to carry guns in public schools, colleges and sporting events.
Rev. Audette Fulbright had emailed all state legislators, including Republican Rep. Hans Hunt, earlier this month to say she and her husband had just moved to Wyoming and were “seriously reconsidering” their decision amid the proposed expansion of gun laws.
“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,” Fulbright wrote. “To expose our children to greater risk in their schools by encouraging more guns on campuses is something that we cannot allow.”
Fulbright also said she was concerned about “the profoundly serious dangers of fracking” and said the question of whether to leave was “wrenching to all of us.”
“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,” she wrote.
Hunt’s response? “By all means, leave.”
“I’ll be blunt,” he wrote back. “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.”
Fulbright is not one of Hunt’s constituents, but he was one of just two lawmakers who responded to her letter. The other, state Rep. Mary Throne (D), said the bill had moved to committee and to contact committee members. It has since been shot down by legislators.
Fulbright told the Casper Star-Tribune her family moved from Virginia in July to have access to better schools and a beautiful environment.
“Apparently I have to live here a certain amount of time before I have an opinion,” she told the newspaper.
Hunt, who was the youngest member of the Wyoming legislature when he was elected in 2010 didn’t back down from his response.
“Was it blunt? Yes. Would I apologize? No,” Hunt told the Star-Tribune. He said later: “If I had to do it again, would I sit and think about how to phrase my words more carefully? Probably.”
Read the full correspondence below:
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
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