About Bullock’s veto of HB 298 – Permitless Carry

Dear MSSA Friends,

I wrote this right after Bullock vetoed HB 298, but didn’t want to release it until MSSA no longer had any bills potentially hostage to the Governor:

The people of Kansas are more law-abiding and trustworthy than the people of Montana, at least that’s what the respective governors of those states believe.

Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas, just signed into law a bill that would allow adults in Kansas to carry firearms discreetly without advanced government permission.

Meanwhile, Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, just vetoed HB 298, a bill that would have allowed non-criminal adults in 6/10ths of 1% of Montana to carry discreetly without advanced government permission.  The rest of Montana, 99.4% of Montana, has been that way for 24 years now, entirely without the negative consequences now predicted if HB 298 had been signed by the Governor.

In order to justify his distrust of Montana people, Governor Bullock had to lie about the consequences of HB 298, unless you wish to be more generous and simply suppose that former Attorney General Bullock is dangerously incompetent in misunderstanding Montana law on the subject.

Just two of the several lies the Governor told to justify his veto from his veto letter are, “HB 298 would void our  state’s reciprocity agreements with more than 40 states that recognize concealed weapon permits and  it would void our laws allowing Montana permit holders to bypass the federal background check  required for a firearm purchase.”

The first truth is that Montana has zero reciprocity agreements with any other states – none -, so there is nothing to be voided.  Plus, HB 298 had no effect whatsoever on the existing Montana law recognizing permits of other states for use in Montana.

The second truth is that there is no way at all to bypass the federally-required background checks for Montana people to buy firearms from licensed dealers.  All that Montana law does is to allow a permit to clarify that the buyer is not some other prohibited person who the federal computers may confuse the buyer with.  Plus, HB 298 had no effect whatsoever on that existing Montana statute.

Really, the Governor knows this stuff, or at least he should unless he’s dangerously incompetent.

Or, Governor Bullock simply lied to the people of Montana in attempt to justify his rank distrust of Montana people, unlike Kansas Governor Brownback who appears to believe the people of Kansas more trustworthy than Bullock believes the people of Montana to be.

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

What we accomplished in the 2015 Montana legislative session

Dear MSSA Friends,

Some have asked me, "Just what did we accomplish with the 2015 legislative session?"  Now that the dust is settling, I can answer that.

Montana gun owners made at least three significant steps forward in the 2015 session:

1)  MSSA’s flagship bill to encourage the manufacture of smokeless powder, small arms primers, and cartridge brass, has been enacted.  Since SB 122 has an immediate effective date, it is effective now.  It includes defectless product liability protection for ammo component manufacturers, access to all existing Montana economic development programs for would-be manufacturers, and tax breaks.  The tax breaks kick in as of December 31st of this year.  Time will tell if SB 122 is effective in spurring ammo component manufacture in Montana.  SB 122 is both to create jobs and to insure future availability of ammo components in Montana, an important long-range goal.

2)  It is now legal to hunt with suppressors in Montana.  MSSA has sought for a decade to remove prohibitions on suppressor use.  The only remaining restrictions are those imposed under federal law, and two Montana laws:  One makes it a state crime to possess a suppressor not possessed legally under federal law, and another makes it a state crime to commit some other crime with a suppressor, legal bones thrown to placate the "crime-fighting" types.

3)  We got $700,000 appropriated for the Shooting Range Development Program (SRDP) for the next two years for FWP to make matching grants to help establish and improve local shooting facilities.  Although we got the SRDP well funded in the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions, FWP has diverted most of the money for other uses.  We had a real fight over this diversion in the Legislature this session, and the Legislature is NOT HAPPY with FWP’s diversion of legislative appropriations by FWP.  There was enough stink raised over this FWP diversion that we expect FWP has seen the light and will spend the money the Legislature appropriated for the intended purpose this budget cycle.

All things considered, getting these three things done constitutes a substantial win this session.  There were no anti-gun bills that made any progress whatsoever.

Another sort of progress was that we got a killer voting record on legislators who tell voters they are pro-gun, but vote consistently anti-gun.  MSSA and Montana gun owners will be using this voting record, as planned, to correct or replace errant legislators who have misinformed their constituents about their actual support for the RKBA.

One other interesting event in this session was that, for the first time, we had serious spending for lobbying by an out-of-state, anti-gun entity.  Everytown for Gun Control, an entity (not an organization) founded and funded by billionaire and ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent a reported (so far) $56,000 lobbying the Legislature, about five times what MSSA was able to spend.  Although this does constitute a warning to Montana gun owners that super-rich, out-of-state, gun control advocates are now trying to buy Montana political objectives (as they recently did with an initiative in Washington State), this effort will likely boomerang on them.  Consider this:  Governor Bullock vetoed two bills that Bloomberg spent money to oppose, bills approved by a majority of the Montana Senate and House.  When Bullock runs for reelection, he will need to explain to the people of Montana just why he did the bidding of NY Bloomberg rather than support the will of Montana people.  Some errant, incumbent legislators will squirm when tasked to make the same explanation to constituents upon reelection efforts.  Of course, these anti-gun candidates will lie, but MSSA now has the voting records to destroy the lies.

Thanks ever so much to all of you who kept shoulder to the wheel throughout the session, and sent messages to legislators whenever I asked.  This was IMPORTANT to achieving the goals we reached.  Thanks to the many legislators who carried and supported our bills.  Thanks to Elisa who ramped up MSSA’s social networking for the first time this session.  Thanks to Brian Judy, Montana’s State Liaison from the NRA, who did all he could to support MSSA’s efforts, even though he was swamped with hard political fights at the same time in the other states also under his umbrella.  And finally, thanks to those of you who have recognized the value that MSSA delivers and have joined MSSA.  Your memberships provide the essential financial support necessary to continue MSSA’s long run of successe s for Montana gun owners (67 pro-gun bills enacted in nearly three decades).

For any of you who are not yet MSSA members, please go immediately to the MSSA membership page at:
http://www.mtssa.org/?page_id=46
print off the membership application and mail it in with your check*, TODAY!  You get a LOT of bang for your bucks.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

* P.S.  MSSA and privacy.  MSSA is hypersensitive to member privacy.  That’s why we do not yet have a way for you to join MSSA and pay electronically Online.  We’ve looked at several electronic options, but have not yet found one that we believe meets MSSA’s demands to not compromise or expose the MSSA membership list in any way.  We haven’t given up on this, but we’re not there yet.

Great News – next plans

Dear MSSA Friends,

Great news.  SB 122 has become law because Governor Bullock has taken no action on SB 122, MSSA’s flagship for the 2015 session bill to encourage the manufacture of smokeless powder, small arms primers, and cartridge brass in Montana.  (If the Governor takes no action on a bill within 10 days of receiving it, it becomes law as if he had signed it.)  Now we need to spread the word that Montana is open for business in these manufacturing endeavors.

With the Legislature now adjourned, it’s now time to announce MSSA’s next goals:

1.  Build membership.  Any of you who are not yet MSSA members SHOULD JOIN!!!  Since you followed MSSA activities through the legislative session, you know we are working for you, to make good Montana gun laws even better.  MSSA has now gotten 64 pro-gun bills through the Montana Legislature and signed into law.  MSSA is the best at this in the US, therefore arguably in the World. WE NEED YOUR MEMBERSHIP SUPPORT!  If you are not yet an MSSA member, you can download the membership application form HERE.

If you are already an MSSA member, RECRUIT OTHERS.  Print out copies of the membership form linked above, and get your friends to join MSSA.  We do more for gun owners in Montana than any other state or national organization.  MSSA has a great membership recruitment brochure.  If you want copies of that, just send MSSA your mail address and say how many brochures you want.

2.  Raise funds for political action.  In the spring of 2016, MSSA will need to spend a lot of money to elect good candidates for the 2017 legislative session.  We need to start fundraising for that NOW. MSSA has a separate political committee for political spending (so we can protect our membership list).  This is called the MSSA-PC.  MSSA-PC can accept any size donations.  The largest single donations we’ve ever had was about $10,000.  But, we’d be glad to have $20, or $50, or more.  Just send a check payable to MSSA-PC to MSSA at P.O. Box 4924, Missoula, Montana 59808.

If you want to put on a match or a fundraising event for MSSA, great!

Please note that former NYC mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s group Everytown outspent MSSA by 5:1 in lobbying the 2015 legislative session.  He’s clearly decided to play in Montana politics.  We can’t let Bloomberg dominate the next election cycle.  Dig deep!

For any individual donation of $250 or more to MSSA-PC, we are required to report to the Federal Elections Commission the name, address, occupation and employer of the donor, so please provide that information with any donation of $250 or more.  Thanks loads!!!

3.  Recruit and groom candidates for the Legislature.  It’s time for a confession about strategy.  People asked me why MSSA was running so many bills in the 2015 legislative session that we knew the Governor would veto if they got to his desk (as he did for some).  The answer is, to develop a killer voting record on legislators who need to be replaced, especially Republicans who voted with Democrats to kill MSSA bills.  Soon and in a separate email, I will be sending out information about in what legislative districts we need to be recruiting and grooming candidates to run for the seats to replace legislators who effectively killed MSSA bills in the 2015 session.  Stay tuned for that because I will depend on you to help MSSA locate suitable candidates.

As the information becomes available, I will also be sending out information about acceptable candidates to replace Governor Bullock, so all MSSA bills won’t be vetoed for the next four years.

That’s all for now.  Join, donate to MSSA-PC, and stand by for the launch of MSSA’s candidate recruitment effort.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

SB 122 transmitted to Governor – Contact Governor

Dear MSSA Friends,

SB 122, MSSA’s flagship bill to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, has been transmitted to Governor Bullock.

Please contact the Governor and urge him to sign SB 122.  The major points to hit are:

1)  SB 122 is a jobs bill.  It has the potential to create good-paying jobs in Montana in businesses that do not exist here yet.

2)  Because such businesses do not yet exist in Montana, what tax breaks are left in SB 122 will not cost Montana any lost tax revenue whatsoever.

3)  People employed in any new business under SB 122 will pay income and property taxes, and will spend the money they earn in the local economy.

4)  Ammunition components is a very big and growing market in the US, with relatively few suppliers.  Because of that, it is an activity waiting to be tapped by any state to get into the business early, as Montana would be with SB 122.

5)  Existing business in Montana that manufacture completed ammunition need the components that businesses fostered under SB 122 could provide.

I don’t think an RKBA argument (although important to us) will be persuasive to the Governor, so I wouldn’t offer that.

SB 122 will take a couple of days to go through the enrolling process before it lands on the Governor’s desk.  Now is the time to begin sending messages to Governor Bullock urging him to sign SB 122.  Feel free to contact him via ALL of the means offered.  As mentioned in an earlier email, it is possible to fax a letter from your computer via free Online fax services.

Contact the Governor

Online:
http://governor.mt.gov/Home/Contact/shareopinion

By U.S. Mail:
Steve Bullock
Governor of Montana
Capitol Station
Helena, Montana 59620

By phone:
406-444-3111
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
FAX: 406-444-5529

Email:  "Steve Bullock" <steve@stevebullock.com>

Twitter: @GovernorBullock

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GovernorBullock
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Thanks loads for your help and support!

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

Governor Bullock vetoes SB 295

Dear MSSA Friends,

Governor Bullock vetoed MSSA’s suppressor bill today, SB 295.  But, he signed HB 250, which will allow for hunting with registered suppressors.  He says he vetoed HB 295 BECAUSE he signed HB 250.

The difference between the two is that the Governor’s choice in bills now makes it illegal four different ways to hunt with an unregistered suppressor, instead of the three different ways it was illegal to hunt with an unregistered suppressor before he signed HB 250.  Go figure.

I’m sure the hundreds, maybe thousands, of victims of illegal, unregistered suppressed-rifle hunting will be comforted to know that their victimizers may now be prosecuted not just under three felony criminal statutes, but under three felony criminal statute plus one misdemeanor statute (Caution, sarcasm font used.)  (Truly, in the single case in Montana history where an illegal suppressor was used for poaching, the poacher was never charged by FWP or any other authorities with possession of an unregistered, illegal suppressor, but was only charged with poaching.)

The governor’s veto message for SB 295 is below.

The bottom line is that Montana will now allow hunting with ATF-registered suppressors.  HB 250 is effective as of today.

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

——————–

Dear President Barrett and Speaker Knudsen:

Today I signed House Bill 250, entitled "AN ACT CLARIFYING THAT SOUND REDUCTION DEVICES MAYBE USED ON FIREARMS WHILE HUNTING WILDLIFE; AMENDING SECTION 87-6-401, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE." When this bill first came to my office, I offered amendments that made the use of a suppressor on a firearm lawful while hunting in Montana. These amendments received strong bipartisan support in the legislature, and with my signature today HB 250 is now law.

In accordance with the power vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Montana, I do hereby veto Senate Bill 295 (SB 295), "AN ACT ELIMINATING A STATE LIMIT ATION ON THE USE OF SOUND REDUCTION DEVICES ON FIREARMS; AMENDING SECTIONS 87-]-201, 87-1-301, AND 87-6-401, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE. As a result of my action today on HB 250, this bill is not necessary. For this reason, I veto SB 295

Ammo components bill clears Senate – Contact Governor

Dear MSSA Friends,

SB 122, MSSA’s flagship bill to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, has cleared the Senate with a final vote of 31-19.  It will now go to Governor Bullock for his signature, hopefully.

Please contact the Governor and urge him to sign SB 122.  The major points to hit are:

1)  SB 122 is a jobs bill.  It has the potential to create good-paying jobs in Montana in businesses that do not exist here yet.

2)  Because such businesses do not yet exist in Montana, what tax breaks are left in SB 122 will not cost Montana any lost tax revenue whatsoever.

3)  People employed in any new business under SB 122 will pay income and property taxes, and will spend the money they earn in the local economy.

4)  Ammunition components is a very big and growing market in the US, with relatively few suppliers.  Because of that, it is an activity waiting to be tapped by any state to get into the business early, as Montana would be with SB 122.

5)  Existing business in Montana that manufacture completed ammunition need the components that businesses fostered under SB 122 could provide.

I don’t think an RKBA argument (although important to us) will be persuasive to the Governor, so I wouldn’t offer that.

SB 122 will take a couple of days to go through the enrolling process before it lands on the Governor’s desk.  Now is the time to begin sending messages to Governor Bullock urging him to sign SB 122.  Feel free to contact him via ALL of the means offered.  As mentioned in an earlier email, it is possible to fax a letter from your computer via free Online fax services.

Contact the Governor

Online:
http://governor.mt.gov/Home/Contact/shareopinion

By U.S. Mail:
Steve Bullock
Governor of Montana
Capitol Station
Helena, Montana 59620

By phone:
406-444-3111
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
FAX: 406-444-5529

Email:  "Steve Bullock" <steve@stevebullock.com>

Twitter: @GovernorBullock

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GovernorBullock
—————————————

Thanks loads for your help and support!

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

Update, April 16

April 16, 12:44 PM

Dear MSSA Friends,

Several items of interest today.

Reports on the Website of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices show that billionaire ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s organization, Everytown for Gun Slander, has spent over $56,000 so far this legislative session in Montana influencing legislators to oppose MSSA bills.  Their level of success demonstrates again Montana’s Copper King history that Montana has the best politicians that money can buy.  When the legislators who were swing votes on failed MSSA bills this session run for reelection, I’m sure their pro-gun constituents will be impressed to learn how easily NYC Bloomberg’s anti-gun money turned these politicians against their constituents to do Bloomberg’s bidding.  Stay tuned for more on this after the session is over.

The Senate Finance and Claims Committee tabled HB 234, MSSA’s bill to prevent the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks from stealing the money the Legislature appropriates for the Shooting Range Development Program.  The Committee was spooked by the threat that if FWP is not allowed to steal the SRDP money then Montana would be ineligible to receive $27 million in federal funding from the Pittman-Robertson Act (11% excise tax on guns and ammo).  This was clearly a case of feds and FWP conspiring to maintain FWP as an 800-pound gorilla that can do anything it wants, notwithstanding legislative direction.

The House passed SB 122, MSSA’s bill to encourage manufacture of ammo components in Montana, on Third Reading.  SB 122 will now go back to the Senate for Senate concurrence with a couple of minor, technical amendments made by the House Taxation Committee.  Senate concurrence is expected.  Then, SB 122 will go to Governor Bullock.  Who knows what Governor Bullock will do with SB 122, but it is clearly a jobs bill, an economic development bill for Montana, and it doesn’t cost Montana a dime.  So, if the Governor doesn’t sign SB 122, he will have to invent some imaginary downside to justify that.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

ACTION NOW – Shooting Range Funding

Dear MSSA Friends,

The Senate Finance and Claims Committee will act tomorrow (Wednesday) morning on HB 234, MSSA’s bill to prevent FWP from stealing the money the Legislature appropriates to make matching grants for improvement of shooting ranges in Montana.  WE NEED THIS BILL TO PASS!!

The Committee Chairman, Senator Llew Jones, thought he could work out a side deal that would insure shooting range funding without HB 234, but that deal fell through.

The problem is that in order to protect its turf and prerogative to pirate the money, FWP sought and obtained a letter from the US Fish and Wildlife Service saying that if the Legislature locked up the shooting range money where FWP couldn’t steal it – couldn’t spend it for any other purpose than shooting ranges -, that would be considered a "diversion" of hunter license income under federal law and would make Montana ineligible to receive $27 million in federal money.

I am convinced this is a bluff by the USFWS, made in order to support the absolute turf protection that its buddies in the Montana FWP always insist upon.  I think the Legislature should call this bluff by federal bureaucrats.

Here is more detail, if you want it.  If not, skip to the end of this email and contact members of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

Detail:  Federal regulations enacted by the USFWS under the Pittman-Robertson Act (11% excise taxes on guns and ammunition) requires that states eligible for P-R funding must have programs using in-state hunter license fees that are under the "control" and "administration" of the state wildlife agency.  Well, excuse me.  The Shooting Range Development Program is assigned by Montana law to FWP.  It is TOTTALLY under the "control" and "administration" of FWP.  No other agency or entity is involved.  However, the USFWS says that if FWP can’t spend the money for whatever it wants, that violates the "diversion" principle.

I’d love to hear what a federal judge would say about "control" and "administration" of a program that is assigned by state law to FWP, and that has been working since 1990 with never a question or challenge by the USFWS.  This, especially considering that funding shooting range development is one of the allowed uses of P-R money specified in the P-R Act passed by Congress  Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be making the argument before a federal judge for the USFWS and FWP that a program that established by state law as being tasked completely and only to FWP is not under the "control" and "administration" of FWP.

That’s why I think the Legislature should call FWP’s bluff and pass HB 234.  Otherwise, if FWP presents a budget to the Legislature and the Legislature amends the budget request to spend less on administration and more on biology, or less on land purchase and more on education, exactly the same argument could be made that Montana is "diverting" hunter license dollars that are no longer under the "control" and "administration" of FWP, so Montana would then again be ineligible for $27 million in federal money.

Please contact the members of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee and ask them to pass HB 234.  Tell them it’s time for the Legislature to take control of the Montana FWP and end it as a subset of a federal agency.  Tell them that if it’s necessary for Montana to go to federal court to enforce its proper authority under the P-R Act, then that should be done rather than surrendering Montana control over its wildlife agency to federal bureaucrats.

Get messages to legislators via the Message Center, 444-4800, or with the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

Thanks loads for your immediate help!

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

WE DID IT – SB 122 passes Second Reading

Dear MSSA Friends,

SB 122, to encourage the manufacture of ammo components in Montana, passed Second Reading in the House by a vote of 60-40.  Wahoo!!!

In debate on the bill, one Democrat said that if SB 122 passes, maybe it would keep the Montana Shooting Sports Association out of legislators’ hair for the next two years while MSSA focuses on trying to get ammo component manufacturers going in Montana.  Ha ha.

SB 122 will go to Third Reading tomorrow in the House.  Barring a political cataclysm, I’d expect today’s vote to hold on Third Reading.

Then the bill will need to go back to the Senate for Senate concurrence with two small, technical amendments made by the House Taxation Committee.  I would expect that Senate concurrence to be a mere formality.  After that, SB 122 will go to the Governor.

Stay tuned.  I’ll let you know when it’s time to contact the Governor about SB 122.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

ACTION! – Two IMPORTANT bills

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s flagship bill, SB 122, to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, will be up for Second Reading before the full House tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13th.  This bill could have more long term consequence for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Montana than any other bill this session.  Please contact your Representative (not Senator) and ask him or her to support SB 122.  contact any other Representatives you wish.

While this is an important RKBA bill, it is also a jobs bill.  It has the potential to create a lot of good-paying jobs in Montana.  Plus, it won’t cost the state one dime of existing tax revenue because there are no such businesses in Montana now.

Get messages to legislators via the Message Center, 444-4800, or with the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

———————–

Also, MSSA’s suppressor bill, the "good" bill, SB 295, has gone to the governor for his signature.  Governor Bullock has already said he wants suppressors legal for hunting.  This is the best bill to accomplish that because it is much cleaner methodology than HB 250 for which he offered amendments.  Please contact the Governor and ask him to sign SB 295.

————————-

Contact the Governor

Online:
http://governor.mt.gov/Home/Contact/shareopinion

By U.S. Mail:
Steve Bullock
Governor of Montana
Helena, Montana 59620

By phone:
406-444-3111
Toll Free: 855-318-1330
FAX: 406-444-5529

Email:  "Steve Bullock" <steve@stevebullock.com>

Twitter: @GovernorBullock

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GovernorBullock
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Finally, if you’re interested in the proposed CSKT water compact, I’ve written about that (off MSSA mission) at:
http://progunleaders.org/Compact/

Thanks loads for your help and support!

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com