Your help is needed!

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA needs money to support your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

I HATE asking for money.  But this is an election year and there are Montana political battles that must be fought, and won, IF we can afford the fight.  Foremost, there will be the expense to explain LR-130 to the voting public.  Then, there will be the race for Governor, for Attorney General, and for seats in the Montana Legislature.

If Montana hopes to avoid the debacle unfolding in Virginia, the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) MUST be involved in all of these important races.  That takes money.  That’s up to you.  There are no sugar daddies out there to drop big bucks on MSSA.  Just you.

A lot of pro-gun entities beg for money with every email they send.  I don’t like that, so I don’t do it.  But, I wouldn’t be a good leader for MSSA if I didn’t bite the bullet and send you this pitch for a donation for MSSA’s political effort.

Yes, MSSA has been highly successful.  Because of that, gun laws are good in Montana.  You don’t feel threatened – at least not this week.  But, the threats to your RKBA are just around the corner, when the Legislature meets a year from now.  There WILL be bills introduced for a universal background check, for a red flag law, and other restrictions on your rights.  The only thing standing between you and the loss of your gun rights in Montana is MSSA.

We need to make sure we get a governor elected who will sign our pro-gun bills, and legislators elected who will kill the anti-gun bills.  Again, that takes money.

MSSA can only spend money on political stuff from its Political Action Committee (PAC), an entity separate from our nonprofit MSSA corporation.  So, if you will make a donation for MSSA’s political efforts, it must be made to our PAC, the “Montana Shooting Sports Association Political Committee” (or MSSA-PC for short).

So, a check may be made to MSSA-PC and mailed to:

MSSA-PC
P.O. Box 4924
Missoula, Montana 59806

Here are the rules:  If you donate over $200 in any year, we must report your name, address, occupation, and employer to the Federal Elections Commission.  So, if your check is for more than $200, please include that information.  There is no limit to the amount MSSA can accept from an individual, we just need the information to properly report the donor to the FEC.

We REALLY need to build the treasury for our PAC, and we need your donation to do that!  Please send us the most generous donation you can, or even something every month for the next six to nine months.

Thanks so much for your help in defending your freedoms.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President

Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

  

Sanctuary movement explained for Montana

Dear MSSA Friends,

The national sanctuary movement divides into two categories:  Counties protecting people from abusive state governments, and state governments protecting people from abusive federal laws and policies.  Virginia is an example of the former.

Montana is an example of the latter.  The Montana Legislature passed a bill to protect Montana citizens from new federal gun control laws, but our governor vetoed the bill.  To cure that, we need a new governor.

Concerning the relationship between Montana and its local governments, we have a few local governments attempting to invoke local gun control.  To cure that, we have LR-130 that will appear on the November, 2020 ballot.  LR-130, if passed, will strengthen Montana’s preemption law and close some alleged loopholes a few local governments are trying to exploit to enforce local gun control.

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

A handout to use with LR-130

Dear MSSA Friends,

Some people have been asking for a handout for LR-130 that they can print locally and distribute to friends, or at gun stores, gun shows, shooting ranges, and more.  A .pdf file of such a handout is available for your use from this link.

http://progunleaders.org/LR-130/

You can take this file (printed or electronic) to your local copy shop or printer and ask them to print this two-sided piece on “Astrobright Terra Green Cover” (a bright, lime green, heavy paper) and cut the result into six pocket-sized handouts for each 8.5″X 11″ sheet.  You should be able to get 100 sheets printed and cut (into 600 pieces) for about $50.  If you wish to pay for printing of 25 sheets, 50 sheets, or 200 sheets, that’s up to you.

This is important! Pay for this with your own (personal) money, not the money of some organization such as a local gun club, or a business.  If your gun club or business pays for this, it could be required to form a “political committee”, file a bunch of paperwork with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, and report all sources of income (gun club members?)  However, if you do this with your personal funds, and unless you spend $250 or more, it is a freedom of speech exercise.  No reporting required.

Help freedom, preserve the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, help Montana gun owners, and help MSSA by getting these handouts spread to voters all over Montana.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President

Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

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

Explaining LR-130 and why it’s important to Montana

Dear MSSA Friends,

Some Montana gun owners have asked me where they can actually read LR-130, the November ballot issue to protect our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

I’ll provide a link below to where you can read LR-130 for yourself.  But first let me explain what LR-130 does and how to read it.

LR-130 is the result of House Bill 357 having been passed by the 2019 Legislature.  HB 357 sets a ballot measure to amend two relevant and existing state laws.  When an existing law is amended, language may be added to the law (shown as underlined words), or it can delete language from the law (shown as strikethrough words).

Two current state laws limit cities’ and counties’ authority to regulate firearms, but they are not enough limitation.  One law, 7-1-111(9), M.C.A., prohibits local governments from using “any power that applies to or affects the right to keep or bear arms.”  BUT, it goes on to say, “‘except that a local government has the power to regulate the carrying of concealed weapons.”  LR-130 will remove this “except” clause from the law.

The other law to be amended by LR-130 is 45-8-351, M.C.A.  This law generally prohibits local gun control, BUT says that for “public safety purposes” a local government may adopt and enforce gun control measures in several ways.  LR-130 will dramatically shorten this list of allowed exceptions.  The net effect is that local governments will still be allowed to regulate unpermitted concealed weapons (people carrying concealed illegally inside city limits) and open carry into buildings owned and occupied by governmental entities.  That’s it.  If LR-130 is successful, local governments will no longer have alleged loopholes to exploit as Missoula tried with its universal background check ordinance and various “gun free zones” concerning “parks” and “public assemblies.”

Knowing this much, you are now equipped to read LR-130 at:

https://sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/LR-130.pdf

Some local governments and anti-gun political entities in Montana will likely mount a campaign against LR-130.  They may be joined by New York City billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his surrogate entities such as Demanding Moms and Illegal Mayors for Guns.  In this opposition, these opponents will almost certainly make up major and scary lies about the effects of LR-130, trying to stampede low-information voters away from LR-130.  One predictable lie (they’ve already floated this one) is that LR-130 will permit crazy people to go into schools and kill innocent children.  Scary, huh?  But, it’s a lie.  There is a different, existing law (45-8-361, M.C.A.) that prohibits guns in schools, a law that will not be affected by LR-130.  Even though it falls under the general “save the children” category of political argument, this lie is still stupid.  How low must be the IQ of someone who believes that bad people who will ignore laws against murder will be aware of and be deterred from their intended mayhem by an obscure city ordinance.

Although the Montana Constitution has a very strong reservation of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, that reservation is useless if any city or county may concoct and enforce local gun control, creating a patchwork of gun control across the state just waiting to entrap an unwary traveler.  Thus, 7-1-111 and 45-8-351, as updated by LR-130, are the actual implementation of the RKBA in the Montana Constitution.  That’s why LR-130 is so important.

Please explain LR-130 to all your friends and neighbors, at your local gun club, to the staff at local gun stores, and anywhere else you can.  LR-130 MUST PASS in November.

Thanks loads,

Gary Marbut, President

Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

  

Legislative update, 3/2/19

Dear MSSA Friends,

Montana legislators are now on their mid-session break.  Yes, the legislative session is half way done.  It’s time for an update about the various measures MSSA is working on.  I’ll include (S) for bills MSSA SUPPORTS, and (O) for bills MSSA OPPOSES.  An * indicates a priority bill, for or against.

HB 145 (S) – to eliminate the requirement that a CWP-holder must notify law enforcement when changing county of residence.  Passed House and Senate and sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.

HB 155 (S) – to prevent cities and counties from enacting local rules regulating knives.  Passed the House and assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee; public hearing scheduled for 3/12.

*HB 226 – MSSA’s bill to exempt nonprofit shooting ranges from property taxes.  Passed by House; public hearing held before the Senate Taxation Committee on 2/25; waiting for action by committee (keep messages coming to S-Tax Committee members urging support for this bill).

HB 322 (S) – to it make optional for a CWP applicant provide an SSN on a CWP application.  Passed the House and scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/13.

*HB 325 (S) – to amend the Montana preemption law to prevent local governments from creating a patchwork of local gun control laws across Montana.  Passed the House and scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/15.

*HB 357 (S) – identical to HB 325, but a referendum to go to a vote of the people should Governor Bullock veto HB 325.  Passed the House and scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/15.

HB 435 (O) – to allow come communities near tourist attractions to impose a broad sales tax, to include on firearms, ammunition, and accessories.  Hearing before the House Taxation Committee on 2/27; no committee action yet.

*HB 477 (O) – to authorize the Office of Public Instruction to devise rules for safe firearm storage, to distribute these rules to schools to schools for instruction of children, and to create a penalty for unsafe storage of firearms.  Scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on 3/12.

*HB 480 (O) – HB 477 on steroids, establishing storage requirements for firearms and creating criminal penalties for violation of requirements. Scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on 3/12.

Dead.  HB 582 (O) – to require suicide prevention materials from the Department of Public Health and Human Services to be distributed by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks at Hunter Education classes.  Died on Second Reading in the House on 2/28.

HB 646 (O) – to provide a tax credit of up to $300 for the purchase of a (expensive) gun safe.  (Note:  The next step will be to require that all guns be kept unloaded and locked in gun safes.)  Not assigned to a committee or scheduled for a hearing yet.

Dead.  *SB 95 (O) – basically to create a “red flag” law.  Tabled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/24.

Dead.  *SB 303 (O) – to require reporting certain mental health records to the FBI for the NICS system.  Tabled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/26.

Stay tuned for MSSA alerts about messages needed to legislators.

Best wishes,

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

Action – HB 226 on Second Reading tomorrow (Wednesday)

Dear MSSA Friends,

HB 226 is scheduled for Second Reading debate and vote on the House
floor tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6.  HB 226 is MSSA’s bill to exempt
nonprofit shooting ranges from property taxes.

You need to get a message to your Representative in the House asking him
or her to please support HB 226.  Here are some talking points:

1.  Shooting range clubs are community service organizations that are
valuable to the communities they serve.  Such ranges provide a safe and
suitable place for Montana’s many gun owners to practice with, test,
sight in, and use their firearms, thereby decreasing potential conflicts
on other private and public lands.

2.  Many range-owning clubs have sought federal 501(C) status in order
to avoid property taxes and plow the money saved back into range
operation and improvement.  The purpose of HB 226 is to create an
opportunity for such clubs to get the same result under state law,
rather than driving them into the clutches of the IRS for that benefit.

3.  HB 226 has multiple conditions included to proof it against abuse,
including that a qualifying club must be a nonprofit corporation under
Montana law, must have officers, directors, and a registered agent, and
more.

4.  The Fiscal Note for HB 226 shows zero fiscal impact.  Those who
researched and wrote the Fiscal Note cannot identify any cost from HB
226 that may be shifted to other taxpayers.

Feel free to use any or all of these talking points, but try to express
them in your own words when you message your Representative.

Thanks loads for your help.

Best wishes,

Wrap-up for last week in the Legislature

Dear MSSA Friends,

Let me give you a wrap-up of last week in the Legislature.

The public hearing was held on HB 226, MSSA’s bill to exempt nonprofit shooting ranges from property tax.  The Montana Department of Revenue opposed HB 226 because it allows a nonprofit entity to get court costs and fees from DoR in a lawsuit challenging a DoR denial of the proposed tax exemption.

The House Taxation Committee approved HB 226 after amending it to exclude a residence at a shooting range.  Committee members were concerned that the measure could be abused by somebody with a mansion setting up a target, calling that a shooting range, and demanding a property tax exemption.  This amendment degrades HB 226 just a bit, only about 5% I think, so it’s still a good bill.  For ranges that have a caretaker residence on property, that residence is often a mobile home, which is assessed and taxed as personal property rather than real estate.

HB 226 will now go to the floor of the House for Second Reading, debate, and a vote.  I’ll get another email out when it’s scheduled for Second Reading and ask you to message House members.

HB 325 and HB 357 had their public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.  HB 325 would roll back local government authority to regulate firearms under Montana’s “preemption law” at 45-8-351, in order to curb abuse of that statute by Missoula and other communities, and to prevent a patchwork of local gun control laws across Montana.  HB 357 is the identical, companion measure that is a referendum to go to a vote of the people should Governor Bullock veto HB 325.

The usual suspects opposed HB 325, including the Montana League of Cities and Towns, the Montana Association of Counties, the Montana School Boards Association, and ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s captive Mom’s Demand Action and Mayors for Gun Control.

The House Judiciary Committee has not taken action on HB 325 and HB 357 yet (as of Monday morning), but I predict the Committee will approve the bills.  Keep messages going to Committing members asking for support of HB 325 and HB 357.

HB 322 is sponsored by Rep. John Fuller and is scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on This coming Thursday, 2/7.  HB 322 would remove the requirement that a CWP applicant provide a Social Security Number as a part of the application.  Law enforcement have told me that for completing background checks they prefer to use full name and date of birth, and that SSNs are not particularly useful, especially since there is so much fraud in use of SSNs by illegal aliens and others.  Plus, we are advised by all knowledgeable advisers, government and private, to NOT use SSNs for identification to reduce exposure to identity theft.  Please get messages to members of the House Judiciary Committee asking them to support HB 322.

HB 145 and HB 155 have passed the House, gone to the Senate, and have been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  No public hearings scheduled yet.

SB 95, a gun control bill, remains tabled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and probably will remain so, although we’ll continue to watch it.

Thanks loads for your help.

Best wishes,

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

Preemption cure bill introduced

Dear MSSA Friends,

Rep. Matt Regier has introduced HB 325, the bill to cure the abuse of Montana’s “preemption” law by some local governments such as Missoula and Helena.  The plan is that this bill will be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and scheduled for a public hearing in that Committee on Friday (2/1) morning at 9 AM.

The plan is also that there will be two measures, this one and a companion and identical referendum.  This is so that if we get HB 325 to Governor Bullock’s desk and he vetoes it, then the same thing as a referendum will go on the next General Election ballot for a vote of the people.  The referendum is being prepared and may also get introduced in time to be also scheduled for its public hearing before House Judiciary on Friday.

Folks, this is a very important bill, if we can get it done.  Other communities are watching Missoula and its prohibition of unregistered private firearm sales to see if Missoula can get away with that.  That issue has now gone to the Montana Supreme Court.  I predict that the Montana Supreme Court will figure out some imaginative way to allow Missoula to enforce whatever gun control it wants, despite our reservation of the right to keep or bear arms in the Montana Constitution.

So, the real solution to this policy debate is the Legislature, and therefore HB 325 – for the Legislature to withdraw from local governments any power that they might stretch all out of shape to invoke local gun control across Montana.

To prevent this creeping gun control by local governments in Montana, we need your full support in getting HB 325 passed, along with its to-be-introduced, companion referendum.

Please show up on Friday if you can for the public hearing on HB 325.  If you can come, be sure to review:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

If you can’t be there, get messages to the House Judiciary Committee members asking them to support HB 325.

Thanks loads for your help.

Best wishes,

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

Bill hearings coming this week

Dear MSSA Friends,

Don’t forget the public hearing on MSSA’s bill to exempt nonprofit shooting ranges from property taxes, before the House Taxation Committee, at 9 AM on Wednesday, January 30th.

It is now time to get messages to the House Tax Committee asking members to please support HB 226.  If you’re involved with a local club that operates a shooting range and can come to Helena to speak in favor of HB 226, that will be great.  Please review:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

Remember, the goal is to allow nonprofit shooting range clubs to not pay property taxes because of a state law, rather than forcing them to go to the IRS seeking some 501(C) status to achieve this same result.  I still need letters from shooting range clubs supporting HB 226.

I expect introduction today (Monday) of another of MSSA’s bills, our bill to roll back local government authority to impose a patchwork of local gun control laws across Montana.  This is being done to rein in Missoula, which is trying to prohibit private firearm transfers without a gun-registering federal background check.  It is also being done because cities like Helena have abused the authority to prohibit guns in “parks” by identifying large parcels of open space where two-legged and four-legged predators roam as parks.

This history of abuse is just too much.  It’s time for the Legislature to withdraw the legislative-granted authority that local governments seem determined to abuse.

We hope this bill, once introduced, will be assigned a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, February 1st, which is also Capitol Day and Freedom Day at the Montana Legislature.  This should be a great excuse for you to come to Helena.

I’ll get another alert out as soon as this bill is introduced, gets a bill number, and it is confirmed as scheduled for a public hearing on 2/1.

We’re still waiting for introduction of the Montana School Safety Act, to allow armed school staff.  More about that ASAP.

Best wishes,

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

Three bills to act on

Dear MSSA Friends,

Okay, the firearms-related bills begin, with public hearings coming up next week (starting 1/21).

On Monday, 1/21, the House Judiciary Committee will hear two bills that MSSA SUPPORTS.

House Bill 145, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, would remove the requirement from law that a person with a concealed weapon permit must notify authorities if changing county of residence.  We have asked Zolnikov to accept friendly amendments to accomplish two more things with this bill:  1) To remove SSN from the CWP application form; and 2) to further clarify that sheriffs may not charge more to process a CWP application than the $50 already listed in the law.

House Bill 155, sponsored by Rep. Casey Knudsen, would prevent local governments from creating a patchwork of laws across Montana to regulate knives.

Please send a note to the House Judiciary Committee in SUPPORT of these two bills, no later than Noon on Monday.

On Wednesday, 1/23, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear a bill that MSSA OPPOSES.   

Senate Bill 95, sponsored by Sen. Malek, would create a bunch of ways a person could lose the right to keep or bear arms, possibly for life, under Montana law.  SB 95 is allegedly to help fight domestic violence, but is riddled with potential for abuse and unintended consequences.

Please send a note to the Senate Judiciary Committee OPPOSING SB 95, no later than Noon on Wednesday.

If you have questions about how to do this, please review the material I provided at:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/

Thanks loads for your help with these three bills.  Stay tuned for more.

Best wishes,

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