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

Permitless and P.O. Carry to Gov.

Dear MSSA Friends,

Both Permitless Carry (HB 262) and Post Office Carry (HB 246) have been “enrolled” (as having passed Senate and House) and are on their way to the Governor’s Office.

HB 262 would eliminate the requirement that lawful gun owners must get a government permit to put on a coat if wearing a gun in 6/10ths of 1% of Montana, inside city limits (open carry is allowed/legal throughout Montana, including inside cities, and permitless carry has been allowed/legal in Montana outside cities since 1991).

HB 246 would prevent state and local police from enforcing federal gun bans at Post Offices, including in P.O. parking lots.  How many times have you gone to a Post Office to check mail or get stamps, not realizing that having a firearm in your vehicle violates federal law.  In Printz v. US, the US Supreme Court held that states have no obligation to enforce federal laws, or that Congress may not commandeer the resources of state and local governments to effectuate federal programs.

Please contact Governor Bullock about both of these.  You can try sending an email to bullock@stevebullock.com, or you can send a message via the governor’s Website at:

I recommend you do both.  Be polite and be very brief.  Begin your message with “Please sign HB xx.”

About HB 262, Permitless Carry, please make the point that HB 262 will NOT affect the permit issuance process in ANY way.  In his 2015 veto of this bill, Governor Bullock claimed his veto was because the bill would do away with the permit issuance process.  Not true, and we need to rebut this claim vigorously.  Also, you might ask Bullock, “Why treat Montana’s urban dwellers as second class citizens, and as untrustworthy?  Why not allow city dwellers the freedom their rural neighbors have enjoyed and not abused for a generation?”

Do it!

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

Restaurant Carry introduced as HB 494

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s Restaurant Carry bill has been introduced as HB 494 by Rep. Seth Berglee.

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 will amend 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.”

HB 494 will soon be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee (probably today) and then will quickly be scheduled for a public hearing.  Be ready to act on HB 494 and I’ll let you know ASAP when a public hearing is scheduled.

Explanation for urgency:  There is a deadline for most bills (ones not about money) in the Legislature, called “transmittal.”  This a mid-session point when all House bills must be transmitted to the Senate, and Senate bills to the House, or they are dead.  That transmittal deadline is coming up on March 1.  It will take HB 494 a minimum of one day for a public hearing and action before committee, a minimum of a day to appear before the House on Second Reading, and another day for Third Reading.  These are absolute minimums.  Committee work and getting to and through Second Reading will probably take longer.  It is because of the looming transmittal deadline that HB 494 will need to move quickly.  Stay tuned on this.

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

Montana RKBA week starts March 6th – celebrate!

Dear MSSA Friends,

The first full week of March, the 6th through the 12th, is set up by law in Montana as the official celebration of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  This is courtesy of a law MSSA got passed in 1991.

You are encouraged to get with others and plan some sort of local celebration for this week.

Here is what the law says:

“1-1-224. Observance of right to keep and bear arms. The week beginning the first Monday in March is an official week of observance to commemorate Montana’s valued heritage of the right of each person to keep and bear arms in the defense of his home, person, or property or in aid of civil power. During this week, all Montanans are urged to reflect on their right to keep and bear arms and to celebrate this right in lawful ways.”

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

Legislative Preference List 021617

Dear MSSA Friends,

We are now in the peak of activity of the legislative session.  With all the bills moving, it can be difficult to keep track of them.  There is an easy solution to that problem.

The solution is to go to the Legislature’s Website, set up an account (takes about a minute), and then set up a “Preference List” (will take another three or four minutes).  Set the account to send you email notices for any pending action on a bill on your Preference list.  Done.

Then you will get email notices about pending bill actions, and it will be simple to check on bills’ progress – just go to your Preference List.

Okay, here’s how you do that.  Go to the front page of the Legislature’s Website, at:

Click on “Bills” and then on “2017 LAWS” on the left side of the page.  Near the bottom of the page that will take you to, on the left, click on the line that says “Establish a Preference Account”.  Just follow the instructions from there.  You’ll need to give an account name (whatever you can remember – could be “MSSA123” or your name) and a password (again, whatever you can remember).

Here is a list of the MSSA-related bills I’m tracking in my Preference List:

LC1177 (not introduced yet) – Restaurant Carry
LC2322 (not introduced yet) – Exempt shooting ranges from property tax payments
HB 151 – Secure shooting range funding
HB 246 – Post Office Carry
HB 251 – Remove certain items from conceal carry laws
HB 262 – Permitless Carry
HB 273 – Legal immigrant CWPs
HB 385 – School Safety Act
SB 99 – Prohibit enforcement of new federal gun laws by Montana public employees
SB 236 – Upgrade constitutional Right to Hunt (and fish and trap)
SJ 11 – Define “shall not be called in question”

To establish your Preference List for these bills, you will only need to enter the bill type (e.g., HB or SB), and the bill number.

Establishing a Preference list via the Legislature’s Website will simplify following these bills and staying informed about their progress.

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