A bill designed to protect Wyoming gun owners from federal firearms regulations has passed a legislative committee and is now headed to the full Wyoming Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate File 81 on Wednesday by a 5-0 vote despite opposition from a state law enforcement organization.

Among other things, the bill would attempt to nullify taxes that specifically target guns and firearms accessories and to resist any federal gun confiscation efforts. Bill sponsor Sen. Anthony Bouchard told the committee that "the power to tax is the problem here." He said the bill would fight against any attempt by the federal government to use the ability to tax as a way to target the right to keep and bear arms. Bouchard said a "shift in Washington" raises the threat that the federal government will want to "use everything they can to go after our guns."

But Byron Odekoven of the Wyoming Association of Sheriff's and Chiefs Of Police [WASCOP] said that while that organization strongly supports the Second Amendment, it has a problem with Senate File 81 because it would strip law enforcement of qualified immunity under some circumstances.

Committee Chair Senator Tara Nethercott [R-Laramie County] asked Bouchard whether a part of the bill that declares federal gun laws "null and void" in Wyoming could lead Wyoming residents to "think that the federal law doesn't apply to them and therefore naively subject themselves to violations of the federal law?"

Bouchard answered that similar concerns in regard to the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act [passed by the legislature in 2010] have not proven true.

In the end all five committee members--Sens. Nethercott, Cooper, French, Kolb, and Kost--voted to send the bill on to the full Wyoming Senate.

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