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Montana Self-Defense Bill Clears Major Hurdle, Possible Third Reading Tomorrow!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Please Contact Your State Representative Today!

Today, the full House voted in support of House Bill 228 by a 58-42 margin, narrowly beating back hostile amendments that threatened the meat of the bill.  NRA backed amendments that clarified the defensive display language were adopted by a 93-6 margin and the measure now goes before the House for a final Third Read.

House Bill 228, sponsored by State Representative Krayton Kerns (R-58), is a broad piece of legislation that provides a number of specific protections for law-abiding citizens.  The provisions of HB 228 clarify and expand the fundamental right of
self-defense and protect law abiding citizens from undue prosecution should they ever have to exercise the right.  HB 228, as amended by the House
Judiciary Committee, still does the following:

  • Clarifies the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm in plain view and to display the firearm for harmless defensive purposes;
  • Allows a person who can lawfully possess a firearm and who doesn’t use it to commit a criminal offense to carry it concealed anywhere in the state without first obtaining governmental permission;
  • Prevents landlords and hotel operators from restricting law-abiding citizens’ self-defense rights;
  • Clarifies in statute the existing legal precedent that there is no duty to retreat from a threat before exercising the right to self-defense and allows a law-abiding citizen to use reasonable force in exercising the existing law that gives a private person the authority to arrest an offender;
  • Ensures that self-defense claims are adequately considered during incident investigations; and,
  • Shifts to the state, if self-defense is asserted by a defendant in a criminal case, the burden of proving an absence of justification.

For a section-by-section analysis of HB 228 to help you better understand and communicate with legislators, please visit http://progunleaders.org/Self-defense/.

Please contact your State Representative TODAY and respectfully urge them to vote for HB 228.  Also, please contact the 58 Representatives who voted in support of HB 228, in particular the nine Democrats, (Hiner, Jopek, Kottel, McChesney, Mehlhoff, Art and Pat Noonan, Steenson, and Van Dyk) to thank them for their vote and kindly ask for their continued support.  You may call (406) 444-4800 to leave a message for your legislators.  You may also use the “online message form” located
here.  When contacting your State Representative, it is important that you be as respectful and courteous as possible.  Long, terse, rude, and disrespectful messages are counterproductive.

If you don’t know who your legislator is, please click
here.

Once you identify your legislator, you can find email contact information by clicking on his or her name at the following alphabetical listing of legislators:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/61st/roster.asp?HouseID=0&SessionID=94.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.