Montana: 2011 Legislature Adjourns

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Permitless Carry to Go to the Governor! 

House Bill 271 was approved by the state Senate last night, April 28, and will now go to Governor Brian Schweitzer for his consideration.  Sponsored by state Representative Krayton Kerns (R-58), HB 271 simply says that the prohibition on concealed carry does not apply to “a person who is eligible to possess a handgun under state or federal law.”

Existing law allows any person who can legally own and possess a firearm to carry it openly, either loaded or unloaded, anywhere in the state, including within city limits.  Additionally, law-abiding citizens are authorized to carry firearms concealed, without a permit, anywhere outside city limits.  Law-abiding citizens do not suddenly turn into criminals when they cross the arbitrary boundary into a city.  It makes no sense to allow them to carry concealed without a permit on one side of the line but not the other!

Unfortunately, House Bill 174 did not survive the politics of the end-of-session scramble.  HB 174 would have completely legalized the possession and use of suppressors by a person in the field or forest.  The bill was amended and finally passed out of the state Senate yesterday, April 28.  The necessary technical amendment, however, required the bill to go back to the House for concurrence on the change.  Legislative rules required a two-thirds vote since the bill was returning after the transmittal deadline and this proved to be too big of a hurdle.  The good news is that another bill, Senate Bill 124, sponsored by state Senator Rick Ripley (R-9), also amended the suppressor law and will legalize the use of suppressors in the field or forest for all activities except hunting.  SB 124 has already been approved by the Governor.

HB 271 will now go through the enrollment process and go to Governor Schweitzer in the next week or so.  Stay tuned for our next alert which will urge you to contact the Governor and ask for his support of HB 271.

Thanks to all NRA members who have communicated with your legislators over these last few months.  Your efforts truly make the difference in passing pro-gun bills through the legislative process!

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