An open letter to U.S. Senator Jon Tester about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

Dear Senator Tester,

In 2006 the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Neil
Gorsuch to a seat on the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, without
dissent or criticism.

Please inform Montana what Judge Gorsuch has done since 2006 to cause
you to be unwilling to announce support for his confirmation now. What
decisions has he written since 2006 that are unacceptable to you? What
breaches of professional ethics has he committed since 2006 that cause
you to withhold support?

Please tell Montana what has changed about Judge Gorsuch since 2006. If
you cannot articulate and document any significant problems, then Judge
Gorsuch deserves the same support from you now that the Senate gave him
in 2006, support you should announce to Montana rather than playing
political games. Reassure Montana that you work for us, and not for
Chuck Schumer of New York.

Sincerely,

Time to Contact Legislators – SB99 & HB494

Dear MSSA Friends,

It’s time to get messages to legislators in support of SB 99 and HB 494.

SB 99 has a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 22.  SB 99 is MSSA’s bill to prevent state and local employees from enforcing any new (after 1/1/17) federal laws or regulations restricting firearms, magazines, or ammunition (such as the Obama lead ban for hunting on public lands done the last day before Obama left office).

SB 99 is entirely consistent with Printz v. US in which the Supreme Court considered the initial Brady Law (in 1994) requirement that sheriffs must conduct the background checks on gun buyers.  Sheriff Jay Printz of Ravalli County, Montana, filed suit in federal court arguing that the feds did not elect or pay him, and that they couldn’t force him to implement federal law.  The Supreme Court agreed with Sheriff Printz and held that Congress could not commandeer the resources of state and local governments.

SB 99 is also consistent with and a mere extension of Montana law at 45-8-351 which prohibits local governments from enforcing gun laws not approved by the Legislature.

Police entities have testified against this bill in past sessions saying that police officers have taken an oath to uphold all laws, state and federal, and cannot be asked to breach their oath.  This is false.  Police take no such oath.  They DO take an oath to uphold the U.S. and Montana Constitutions, which of course includes the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments.

Please send messages to House Judiciary Committee members asking them to support SB 99.

HB 494 has a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee also on Wednesday, March 22nd.  HB 494 is MSSA’s Restaurant Carry bill that would allow people with CWPs to use a CWP in a restaurant which also has a license to serve alcohol, but where the primary business is food.  HB 494 will leave in place an existing law making it a crime to be intoxicated and in possession of a firearm.  The existing prohibition on Restaurant Carry is just nonsensical.  There is zero history of people with CWPs in Montana abusing that prerogative or getting in trouble.

Please send a message to Senate Judiciary Committee members asking them to support HB 494.

I hope to see some of you in Helena for the public hearings on these bills.  House Judiciary meets at 8AM and Senate Judiciary meets at 9AM.  I’ve asked the Chairman of House Judiciary to schedule SB 99 first item on the HJC agenda, and I’ve asked the Chairman of Senate Judiciary to schedule HB 494 as the last item on the SJC agenda.  If they do that, it should allow people attending to be present for BOTH public hearings (in different rooms of the Capitol).  NOTE:  Expect a boatload of Demanding Moms to show up to oppose both bills.

If you have any question about the legislative process, see:

If you have any question about testifying before a legislative committee, see:

Thanks!

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

The last public hearings on MSSA bills, 3/22

Dear MSSA Friends,

The last two public hearings have been scheduled for MSSA bills on Wednesday, March 22nd.

HB 494, Restaurant Carry, will have a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which convenes at 9AM.

SB 99, to prevent local enforcement of new federal gun laws, will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee, which meets at 8AM.

I hope to get the House Judiciary to schedule SB 99 as its first bill, and the Senate Judiciary Committee to schedule HB 494 as its last bill of the morning.  This should provide time for interested persons to attend both hearings.

WARNING.  Demanding Moms (“Moms Demand Action”, funded by NYC billionaire Michael Bloomberg) are already rallying their sympathizers to attend these hearings in numbers.  If you want these bills to pass, you need to make plans to show up and help me support them.  I know that’s difficult, but freedom isn’t free.

I’ll alert you again next weekend when it’s time to send messages to committee members urging support for these to bills (just on the off chance you can’t attend in person).

BTW, SJ 11, to define “shall not be called in question”, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee,  Now it will go to the floor of the House for debate and vote on Second Reading (soon, but unknown exactly when).  It IS time for you to contact your Representative (and any other Representatives local to your area) and ask him or her to support SJ 11.

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Hearing, SJ 11; status report all bills

Dear MSSA Friends,

There will be a public hearing for Senate Joint Resolution 11 before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, March 9th, beginning at 8AM.  SJ 11 is to establish the first-ever authoritative definition of the critical phrase in the Montana Constitution, “shall not be called in question.”

Please contact House Judiciary Committee members and ask for their support for SJ 11, or show up to speak in favor of it.  If you have any questions about SJ 11, please see:
http://progunleaders.org/Question/

Here is the current status of all the bills that have been introduced at MSSA request, or that MSSA is supporting:

Bills MSSA has had introduced this session are:

1)  HB 494.  Passed House; pending in Senate.  Restaurant Carry.  To allow those with concealed weapon permits to use their permits in restaurants where food is the chief item for sale. Sponsor, Rep. Seth Berglee

2)  SB 99.  Passed Senate; pending in House.  No local enforcement of new federal gun laws.  To prohibit state and local employees from enforcing any new federal gun laws or regulations.  Sponsor, Sen. Cary Smith

3)  HB 385.  Failed on House Second Reading.  School safety.  To allow full-time public school employees to exercise a concealed weapon permit at school as long as the employee’s firearm is genuinely concealed and the employee responsible for the security of the firearm.  Sponsor, Rep. Seth Berglee

4)  SJ 11.  House Judiciary Committee public hearing 3/9, 8AM.  Defining “shall not be called in question.”  To provide a legislative definition for this never-before-defined phrase used in the Montana Constitution to secure the RKBA.  Sponsor Sen. Keith Regier

5)  HB 262.  Vetoed by Governor.  Permitless carry.  To allow concealed carry without permit inside the limits of a city or town if the person is eligible to possess a handgun. Sponsor:  Rep. Bill Harris

6)  HB 151.  In HFG Committee.  Secure shooting range funding.  To prevent FWP from misusing funds appropriated by the Legislature for the SRDP.  Sponsor:  Rep. Nancy Ballance

Bills MSSA is supporting

7)  HB 246.  Vetoed by Governor.  Post Office Carry.  Sponsor:  Rep. Randy Brohdel

8)  HB 273.  Passed House; pending in Senate.  Immigrant CWP.  Sponsor:  Rep. Barry Usher

9)  HB 251.  Passed House; pending in Senate.  CWP weapons cleanup.  Rep. Kirk Wagoner

10)  SB 236.  Pending in SFG Committee.  Right to hunt update.  Sen. Jennifer Fielder

11)  LC2322.  Exempt shooting ranges from property tax.  Rep. Adam Hertz

--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

About Rob Quist – candidate for Congress

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, January 22, 2017.

Gun ownership

But [Quist] believes that efforts to increase public safety are being derailed by gun manufacturers, questioning the need to own assault rifles.

“They’re only meant to kill people,” he said. “So maybe there should be some legislation to register those types of things. You register your car to drive, why not register guns. I know that’s a touchy subject for a lot of people …”


--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Open lettter to Montana GOP – Zinke replacement

March 2, 2017

Montana Republican State Committee
Helena, Montana

Dear Committee Member,

The Montana Shooting Sports Association is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners.  We watch politics closely in Montana.  In the last 30 years MSSA has gotten 67 pro-gun bills through the Montana Legislature and enacted into law (we’ve had a few more vetoed by various governors).

We wish to offer you our recommendation for a GOP candidate to fill the seat recently vacated by Congressman Zinke.

The good news is that there are a number of very good candidates to choose from.  The less helpful news is that we cannot recommend just one best candidate.  However, we can help you narrow the field by assuring you that there are four contenders who we believe would be very solid advocates for our cherished right to keep and bear arms – four known candidates, any of whom who would be great from our perspective.

Those four are, in alphabetical order:  Greg Gianforte, Carl Glimm, Ken Miller, and Ed Walker.

Glimm, Miller, and Walker have all served in the Legislature and all three of them have a 100% voting record on firearms issues over multiple sessions of vote records we keep.  Those 100% voting records are pure gold.  We know Gianforte well, know his personal commitment to the right to keep and bear arms, and have a great candidate questionnaire from him from his run for Governor.

So, we recommend all four of those candidates to you without reservation.

Other currently known contenders for this nomination either have less stellar or no records of legislative votes, have no candidate questionnaire on file with us, or are otherwise unknown to us.

We hope this is helpful to you in making this important selection.

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Postmortem, HB 385 – School Safety Act

Dear MSSA Friends,

The Montana School Safety Act, HB 385, failed to pass Second Reading in the House yesterday, 2/27.  HB 385 would have allowed a full-time school employee with a concealed weapon permit AND enhanced training to exercise that permit at school as long as the person’s firearm was always concealed and always secured.

The public education industry ramped up in opposition to HB 385.  That included the teacher’s unions, the school administrators, and the school boards association.  They heavily lobbied legislators, saying that guns in schools are just are just too dangerous around children, and that existing no-guns policies will keep children safe.  Of course, they would never support a bill to prevent police from bringing guns into schools.  Police guns are good, and safe around children, don’t you know.  An unspoken but obvious element of the opposition argument is that school employees are too incompetent to be trusted with firearms around children.  Hmmm.  Do they know their people better than I do?

HB 385 failed on a 44-56 vote.  All Democrat members of the House voted against HB 385, and the following 14 Republicans also voted against it:

Rob Cook, Conrad
Geraldine Custer, Forsyth
Jeff Essman, Billings
Ross Fitzgerald, Fairfield
Frank Garner, Kalispell
Bruce Grubbs, Bozeman
Jon Knokey, Bozeman
Denley Loge, St. Regis
Vince Ricci, Laurel
Walt Sales, Manhattan
Ray Shaw, Sheridan
Lola Sheldon-Galloway, Great Falls
Scott Staffanson, Sidney
Tom Welch, Dillon

Of course, I am disappointed that so many Republicans bought into the propaganda of the public education industry.  But that’s for Montana gun owners to take up with these Representatives.  MSSA’s job is to get the bills introduced and to provide you with the information to empower you to hold legislators accountable.

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Legislative update, February 21, 2017

Dear MSSA Friends,

Here’s the current status of MSSA bills and bills MSSA is supporting, and some requested action:

LC2322 – Exempt shooting ranges from property taxes
In finish drafting; to be introduced soon.

HB 151 – Protect shooting range funding (from FWP predation)
Waiting for action by House Fish and Game Committee.
!       Send messages urging support to Committee members

*HB 246 – Post Office Carry
Transmitted to Governor on 2/20

*HB 251 – Remove some items from concealed weapons list
Passed House, referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 262 – Permitless Carry
Transmitted to Governor on 2/20
!       Send messages urging support to Governor

*HB 273 – Legal immigrant CWPs
Passed House, referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 385 – Montana School Safety Act
Waiting action by House Judiciary Committee (likely 2/22)
!       Send messages to support to Committee members

HB 494 – Restaurant Carry
Passed by House Judiciary Committee
Due on the House floor for Second Reading (likely 2/22)
!       Send messages to any Representatives urging support

SB 99 – No local enforcement of new federal firearm or magazine bans
(Note: Amended by Senate Judiciary to add ammunition and
remove specific enforcement against violators.)
Passed by Senate on Second reading – 30-20

*SB 236 – Strengthen right to hunt, fish, and trap in the Montana Constitution
Waiting action by Senate Fish and Game Committee.

SJ 11 – Define “shall not be called in question”
Passed by Senate, transmitted to House.

* Not “MSSA bills” but supported by MSSA
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Legislative update, 02/20/17

Dear MSSA Friends,

I spoke in favor of MSSA’s Restaurant Carry bill, HB 494, before the House Judiciary Committee this morning (Monday, 02/20/17).  The bad news is that I was the only proponent.  The good news is that there were zero opponents.

I told the story of the Luby’s Massacre in Texas, where madman George Hennard drove his pickup through the front window of Luby’s Restaurant and then shot and wounded 44 people, killing 24.  Dr. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp was there having dinner with her mother and father.  She had left her handgun outside in her car because Texas law (then) made it a felony for Dr. Hupp to bring her firearm into the restaurant.  Both Dr. Hupp’s mother and father died that day because Texas law prohibited Dr. Hopp from bring her handgun into the restaurant.  She has said since that she’d much rather have faced felony criminal charges under Texas law than lose both parents.  For more information about the Luby’s Massacre, see:

Today the Senate discussed SJR 11 (to define “shall not be called in question) on Second Reading and passed it by 31-18.  It will advance to Third Reading tomorrow (Tuesday, 2/21).  If it passes there (expected, and by the same vote), it will move on to the House.

Keep the messages going to the Governor on Permitless Carry (HB 262) and Post Office Carry (HB 246).

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com

Public hearing – Restaurant Carry

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s Restaurant Carry bill, HB 494, will have its public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at 8 AM Monday, 2/20, in Room 137 of the Capitol.

Under current law, a person with a concealed weapon permit is not allowed to exercise that permit in a restaurant if the restaurant has a liquor license.  HB 494 would remove that restriction for places where the major business is not alcohol.

HB 494 amends current law with this added language:  “It is not an offense under (Prohibited Places statute – GM) to carry a concealed weapon while patronizing a restaurant where alcoholic beverages are not the chief item of sale.”

It just makes no sense if you have a CWP and are having dinner with your family at Applebees and drinking iced tea that you cannot defend your family just because Applebees has a liquor license.

HB 494 leaves in place 45-8-327, which makes it illegal to be under the influence of an intoxicating substance and also be in possession of a firearm, so the existence of that law should help sell HB 494 to legislators.

Please send messages to members of the committee asking for support of HB 494.  As always, keep the message short and be polite.  If you can, come speak to the committee at the public hearing.

Best wishes,
--   Gary Marbut, president  Montana Shooting Sports Association  http://www.mtssa.org  Author, Gun Laws of Montana  http://www.mtpublish.com