The threat is no longer theoretical. The creepy clowns have invaded Wyoming.

Several sightings have now been reported across the Cowboy State, prompting panic and outrage on social media.

Some people have even threatened to shoot any creepy clowns they see. Others have warned that Wyoming is a "trigger-happy" state where people are "packing heat" and often "shoot first and ask questions later".

While we can all agree that clowns are creepy, we should also recognize this hysteria for what it is...before somebody gets hurt.

In most cases, these are just teenagers trying to get some attention. They're not evil, they're hoodlums.

With that in mind, here's a list of five tips to follow if you see a creepy clown in person.

1. DON'T shoot them - Shooting a clown does not meet the legal justification for self-defense.

2. DON'T shoot at them - Trying to scare a clown by shooting at them is against the law. You could wind in jail and you might accidentally shoot someone else.

3. DON'T beat them up - We'd all like to teach these jerks a lesson, but beating up a clown doesn't make you a hero. Just like chasing someone wearing clown shoes doesn't make you a fast runner.

4. DO call the police - If you see a clown in public, they are disturbing the peace. Alerting the authorities of their location will help protect them and others who may do harm to them.

5. DO take pictures - The best way to prevent an unfortunate tragedy is to expose these clowns for who and what they are, attention-seeking hooligans. If you see one in your neighborhood, warn the people you know so they won't freak out when they see one.

NOTE: While many creepy clown threats have been reported across the country, there have yet to be any documented cases of creepy clowns actually attacking anyone.

However, in the unlikely event that a machete-wielding clown comes after you or your family, by all means, fire away.

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