Last night, Governor Brian Schweitzer signed into law House Bill 159. HB 159, sponsored by state Representative Cary Smith (R-55), restricts the authority of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the FWP Commission to regulate firearms and ammunition.
The need for this bill became evident last year when FWP, absent one shred of scientific evidence or supporting documentation, proposed that lead shot be prohibited for all upland game bird hunting on Wildlife Management Areas throughout the state. In fact, FWP’s own documents contained multiple points indicating a lack of objective biological or scientific support for this proposed change.
FWP’s own language indicated that this proposal was nothing more than a political and symbolic gesture. This is of concern because it is consistent with other states moving in the direction of broader restrictions on the use of lead ammunition for hunting. The enactment of House Bill 159 removes this purely political, potential outcome by restricting the authority of FWP to regulate this aspect of game management.
Thank you for all of your efforts that made this bill a reality!