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Wyoming Gun Control Laws

Wyoming gun control laws are among the least restrictive in the United States, placing few obstacles to gun ownership and purchase. In 2021, it ranked 5th highest in gun death rate among the states according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nearly half of firearm-related deaths in the U.S. come from suicide. Four in ten come from homicide.

Like other states, the state of Wyoming seeks to balance individual rights to bear arms set forth in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and legitimate concerns of public safety. In so doing, it must also comply with firearm restrictions in federal law. This includes prohibitions on the ownership or possession of firearms by those under indictment for or convicted of a felony, those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, and those currently subject to a domestic violence protection order.

Gun Control Laws in Wyoming

Every state has its own gun control laws that restrict the purchase and use of firearms. As you might imagine, a state known as the Cowboy State has relatively lenient gun control laws. Wyoming law does not require a license, permit, or registration to buy or own a firearm. Wyoming sets the minimum age to buy a long gun (rifle or shotgun) at 18 and the minimum age to buy a handgun (pistol or revolver) at 21.

Wyoming adopted a permitless carry law for residents in 2011. It allows residents who would qualify for a concealed carry permit to carry without a permit. Wyoming expanded that law to cover otherwise qualified non-residents in 2021. The state still maintains a concealed firearms permit (CFP) for residents seeking reciprocity in other states. A state permit also lets permit holders forego an otherwise required background check when purchasing a new firearm from a federally licensed dealer.

The Wyoming Attorney General's office has the authority to issue permits. To apply for a CFP, contact your local sheriff's office. The sheriff then forwards your permit application to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) for review and background check. Wyoming is a "shall issue" state, which means that if you meet all the objective eligibility criteria, they shall issue the concealed handgun permit. 

Permits remain valid for a five-year period. However, the state can pursue a revocation if a permittee becomes ineligible in the future. The DCI maintains a helpful FAQ section on its website. Among other things, it lets local and out-of-state gun owners know which other states' permits Wyoming honors, and vice-versa.

Gun owners also need to be aware that Wyoming law includes a list of prohibited locations, where carrying a firearm is not allowed. These include:

  • Facilities used primarily for law enforcement or by a law enforcement agency
  • Detention facilities, prisons, or jails
  • Courtrooms (unless excepted by the judge)
  • Meetings of governmental entities
  • Meetings of the legislature or its committees
  • School, college, or professional athletic events not related to firearms
  • Places that sell liquor for consumption on premises
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • College or university facilities (unless with consent of their security)

Wyoming law does not regulate the possession of assault weapons or ghost guns, which are firearms that can be assembled from a kit or through the use of a 3D printer. It also does not mandate background checks for those purchasing a gun through a private sale. There is likewise no waiting period from the time of purchase to the time of delivery when buying a firearm. 

Like several other states, Wyoming has a state preemption law that bans local authorities from passing stricter gun laws than the state. It also passed a law that provides that firearms manufactured and not leaving Wyoming in interstate commerce do not fall under federal regulations. However, that law has never been tested in court. The following chart outlines Wyoming's gun control laws.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Wyoming's gun laws can be found in Wyoming Statutes, Title 6, Chapter 8, Sections 6-8-101 through 6-8-406, and Title 21, Chapter 8, Section 21-3-132:

Illegal Arms

Wyoming does not prohibit specific firearms. It does ban the use of a fully automatic weapon to take wildlife under its hunting regulations.

Waiting Period

Wyoming has no waiting period for purchasing a firearm.

Who May Not Own

Wyoming law provides that a person cannot possess a firearm if they:

  • Have previously pleaded guilty to or been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a violent felony*
  • Have previously pleaded guilty to or been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a nonviolent felony *
*except in situations where they received a pardon or had rights restored under the law. Federal law provides that a person cannot possess a firearm if they:
  • Have been convicted of any felony in any state, territory, or other jurisdiction of the United States.
  • Are a fugitive from justice
  • Are an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Have been adjudicated to be mentally defective or been committed to any mental institution
  • Are an illegal noncitizen
  • Have been discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions
  • Have renounced U.S. citizenship
  • Are subject to a court order restraining them from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of an intimate partner
  • Have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence

License Required?

Wyoming does not require a person to have a license to own a gun.

Concealed Carry License Required?

Wyoming issues concealed carry permits, but they are not required for a Wyoming resident or lawful U.S. citizen to carry a concealed firearm. If a resident is eligible for a permit, they may carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Permits are still available for residents who wish to be able to carry a concealed firearm in states that recognize Wyoming permits.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is legal in Wyoming, and no permit or license is required to open carry.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To be eligible for a concealed carry permit in Wyoming, a person must:

  • Be a resident of the United States and have been a resident of Wyoming for at least 6 months
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Not suffer from a physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a firearm
  • Not be ineligible to possess a firearm under federal or Wyoming law
  • Not have been committed to a state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance within 1 year before applying for the permit
  • Not have been convicted of a felony violation of the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act or similar laws of any other state or the United States
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act or similar laws of any other state or the United States relating to controlled substances within 1 year before applying for the permit
  • Not chronically or habitually use alcohol to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a firearm through completion of a firearm safety or training course, law enforcement experience, experience competing in organized handgun shooting competitions, or military service
  • Not be currently adjudicated to be legally incompetent
  • Not have been committed to a mental institution

Machine Gun Laws

Wyoming has no laws prohibiting the ownership or possession of machine guns, except in state game fields or forests. However, federal prohibitions may apply.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

Wyoming has few prohibitions against gun possession, but its gun laws do include potential prison time.

  • Possessing a concealed deadly weapon without a permit or other exception is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison; a fine of $750; or both. A second or subsequent offense is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison; a fine of up to $2,000; or both.
  • Possessing a firearm while having a previous violent felony conviction is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison; a fine of up to $5,000; or both.
  • Possessing a firearm while having a previous nonviolent felony conviction is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail; a fine of up to $750; or both.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Wyoming does not have a general criminal offense against possessing firearms on school grounds. However, a person who qualifies to carry a concealed weapon under state law cannot carry a concealed firearm onto the campus of an elementary or secondary school. School boards can also issue regulations to address concealed carry by school employees on campus.

Red Flag Law?


Universal Background Checks?


Stand Your Ground Law?

Yes. Wyoming law provides that a person who is attacked at any place where the person is lawfully present shall not have a duty to retreat before using reasonable defensive force as long as they are not the initial aggressor or engaged in any illegal activity.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts that include federal decisions, ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the status of the state law(s) you are reviewing.

Wyoming Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Do You Have More Questions on Wyoming Gun Laws? Contact A Lawyer

Navigating the different restrictions between federal and state gun laws can be difficult. As these laws vary from state to state, a Wyoming gun owner may also want information on gun laws in neighboring states like Colorado and Utah. If you face charges of illegal gun possession, a prison sentence is possible. To protect yourself and your gun rights, seek legal advice. Contact an experienced, local criminal defense lawyer for a consultation.

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