WV governor vetoes Permitless Carry – question for Bullock

Dear MSSA Friends,

Today, West Virginia’s Democrat Governor vetoed the Permitless Carry bill there.  I’ve been watching WV because I’ll bet Montana Governor Bullock has been on the phone with the WV governor to discuss this.  A question you should ask Governor Bullock comes out of the WV Governor’s veto message.

You should ask Montana Governor Steve Bullock, "Do you really think criminals who want to carry concealed firearms inside city limits will apply to the sheriff for a permit if HB 298 does not become law?"

Carry on,

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

FAX the Governor from your computer – free

Dear MSSA Friends,

In case you’re didn’t know of it, there a number of services Online through which you can send a fax for free, straight from your computer.  With these you can create a letter, save it as a .doc or .pdf file, and fax it to the Governor regarding MSSA bills arriving in the Governor’s office.

Today I used MyFax.com, which allows two faxes per day and up to 10 faxes per month for free.

All you need to do is create a short letter to the Governor, with standard letter format (date, inside address, greeting, body, closing, and signature line), save it as a .doc or .pdf file, and send it to the Governor’s FAX number, 444-5529, using such an Online service.  It’s easy.

I suspect faxes are more likely to be read than emails, so this might be a good way to address the Governor.

Best wishes,

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

Contact Governor Bullock NOW – HB 203, local enforcement new federal gun laws

Dear MSSA Friends,

Immediately below are a number of methods to Contact Governor Bullock to urge his support of HB 203, MSSA’s bill to prevent enforcement of new federal gun laws.  I recommend that you use ALL of these methods to get messages to the Governor, or at least as many as you have available to you (e.g., I don’t use Twitter).

HB 203 will be on the Governor’s desk today or within a couple of days, so it’s imperative that you ACT NOW!

Pasted further below is the text of the letter I’m sending to the Governor by US Mail on MSSA letterhead and electronically about HB 203.  Feel free to farm this letter for ideas that should be expressed in your own words.  Your letter should be shorter than mine.  If you can’t do any more, you should at least send the Governor a message saying "I agree with MSSA’s position on HB 203.  Please support it."  Don’t threaten, be polite, and be brief, but ACT NOW.

————————-

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
—————————————

Thanks loads for your help and support!

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

==================

March 19, 2015

Governor Steve Bullock
Capitol Station
Helena, Montana 59620

Dear Governor Bullock,

House Bill 203 is headed towards your desk.  We’d appreciate your support for HB 203.

Why should you support HB 203?  I see six primary reasons.

1)  Constitutional issues?  None.  In Printz v. US (an exactly on point 1995 case from Montana brought by a Montana sheriff refusing to enforce a new federal gun law) SCOTUS confirmed that Congress may not commandeer the personnel or resources of state or local governments.  So, under this decision, Montana has no obligation to enforce any federal gun laws.

2)  It’s what’s happening.  Three other states currently have laws to prohibit enforcement of new federal gun control: Kansas, Idaho, and Alaska.  Twelve states have introduced legislation to prohibit enforcement of new federal gun control: Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

3)  Not an academic exercise or statement.  In 1994, Congress actually enacted bans on firearms and magazines.  Fortunately, that ban expired in 2004, however there are bills before Congress now to reinstate those bans. The BATFE is constantly seeking ways to rewrite regulations to limit the right use firearms, witness its recent attempt to ban the most common ammunition for the most common rifle the U.S.  There are many more examples available.  This is a real and pending problem.

4)  States as laboratories of democracy.  In New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that a "state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."  Brandeis saw this as healthy experimentation akin to the scientific method.  Looked at a bit differently, the states have reserved to themselves the power under the Tenth Amendment to do things differently and in ways that serve the culture and people of the state. This is one healthy facet of the freedom so essential to our form of government.

5)  HB 203 would not affect any existing federal laws.  Enforcement of all existing federal laws concerning felons and guns, domestic violence, machine guns, dealer licensing, and more, would remain unaffected by HB 203.

6)  Montana law enforcement personnel would have more time and resources to focus on Montana crimes if excused from enforcing new laws from distant Washington that are culturally inappropriate in Montana.

Please support HB 203.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Marbut, President

Contact Governor Bullock NOW – HB 298, Permitless Carry

Dear MSSA Friends,

Immediately below are a number of methods to Contact Governor Bullock to urge his support of HB 298, MSSA’s Permitless Carry bill.  I recommend that you use ALL of these methods to get messages to the Governor, or at least as many as you have available to you (e.g., I don’t use Twitter).

HB 298 will be on the Governor’s desk today or within a couple of days, so it’s imperative that you ACT NOW!

Pasted further below is the text of the letter I’m sending to the Governor by US Mail on MSSA letterhead and electronically about HB 298.  Feel free to farm this letter for ideas that should be expressed in your own words.  Your letter should be shorter than mine.  If you can’t do any more, you should at least send the Governor a message saying "I agree with MSSA’s position on HB 298.  Please support it."  Don’t threaten, be polite, and be brief, but ACT NOW.

————————-

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
—————————————

Thanks loads for your help and support!

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

==================

March 19, 2015

Governor Steve Bullock
Capitol Station
Helena, Montana 59620

Dear Governor Bullock,

House Bill 298 is headed towards your desk.  We’d appreciate your support for HB 298.

Why should you support HB 298?  I see five primary reasons.

1)  Harmonizing law.  HB 298 harmonizes Montana law and makes the legal conditions inside the unmarked city limits lines the same as it has been outside city limits for the last 24 years.  That is, HB 598 allows non-criminals to carry concealed firearms without a permit, but HB 298 leaves the permitting process in place for those who want one.  There is zero evidence that unpermitted concealed carry has been any sort of problem in the 99.4% of Montana where it has been the norm and law since 1991.  It is high time that Montana quit discriminating against citizens in .6% of the state.  Why should you tell people inside city limits to sit in the back of the self defense bus?

2)  No harm, no foul.  Vermont has never since statehood required permits for concealed carry.  That has NEVER been a problem there – no evidence of elevated criminality or other problems.  It’s exactly the same report from the several other states that have adopted permitless carry.  Fears predicted about the effect of HB 298 in Montana have simply not materialized elsewhere.  Montana people are just as good and competent as the people of these other states.  No harm, no foul.

3)  The opponents.  Billionaire ex-Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has formed and funded Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action to push gun control across the US.  EGS is registered as a lobbying principal in Montana and its registered lobbyist opposed HB 298 in the Legislature.  You will hear from EGS and MDA in opposition to HB 298.  We don’t need NYC-driven policy in Montana.  Our people, customs, and culture are not like theirs.  We hope your treatment of HB 298 will reflect Montana culture, not NYC culture.

4)  Coat control is nonsensical.  The current scheme amounts to government coat control.  It is now perfectly legal to carry a firearm openly (unconcealed) inside city limits.  That is constitutionally-protected.  What is illegal currently is to put on a coat if wearing a firearm and without a permit.  That just doesn’t make a lot of sense.  There are times of the year in Montana when it is very desirable to wear a coat.  Why should a person be required to get a permit to put on a coat just because the person happens to be inside the imaginary and unmarked line called city limits?

5)  Untrained people?  More discrimination.  The following states issue concealed carry permits and require NO training: Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Washington.  People from ALL of those states are allowed to carry concealed inside city limits when they visit Montana. They are already afforded the ability to exercise their right protected under the Second Amendment without a training mandate being attached to it, but yet our own citizens are not.  There is no evidence that these “untrained” people are a problem.

Please support HB 298.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Marbut, President

Status update, SB 122; ammo component manufacture

Dear MSSA Friends,

SB 122 is MSSA’s bill to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components (brass, primers and powder) in Montana, carried for MSSA by Senator Matt Rosendale.  The introduced version of SB 122 contained three elements to encourage such manufacture:

1)  Liability protection.  Current Montana law contains defectless product liability for manufactures of finished ammo.  SB 122 extends that protection to component manufacturers.

2)  Economic development programs.  Current Montana law has quite a number of existing economic development programs that do various things to encourage new business in Montana.  SB 122 grants access to ALL existing economic development programs to new manufacturers of ammo components.

3)  Tax relief.  The introduced version offered a LOT of tax breaks to new component manufacturers.

Some have expressed concern that the Senate "gutted" SB 122.  Not true.  Here’s what happened.

The Senate Taxation Committee wrestled with SB 122.  All Democrats on the Committee opposed SB 122 (hey, that’s what they do), led by Senator Sue Malek (D-Missoula) and Senator Dick Barrett (D-Missoula).  Some Senate Republicans have had a problem with this bill in previous years.  What they say is that they want to reduce taxes on business generally, and that they oppose any special tax breaks for certain industries as complicating the job of getting across-the-board tax reduction done.  This is a plausible explanation, but it could also be a smokescreen for an anti-gun vote.

There are seven Republicans on Senate Tax, and five Democrats.  Four of the Republicans on Senate Tax are among those moderates who describe themselves as "responsible Republicans", ones who will vote with Democrats when it suits them to get something they want or to kill a bill they don’t like.  The three staunch Republicans on Senate Tax tried to get Senate Tax to support SB 122 as introduced, but could not corral the votes required for that, especially with all five Democrats already locked up against it.

So, the staunch Republicans on Senate Tax had to compromise with the "responsible Republicans" on amendments that the "responsible Republicans" would tolerate, to get SB 122 out of the Committee.  Otherwise SB 122 would have died right there.

In the amended version that passed the Committee (7-5, party line vote), about 60% of the tax breaks were removed, but the liability protection and access to economic development programs were left intact.

SB 122 passed the Senate in this form, 28-22 on Second Reading and 29-19 on Third Reading.  In this Third Reading vote, Democrats Hamlett, Moe, and Sands voted yes, two Republicans were excused, and Republican Tutvedt voted against.  Otherwise it was a party line vote.  SB 122 went to the House, and was assigned to the House Taxation Committee.

We had considered asking the House Tax Committee to restore the original language and tax breaks.  However, the Senate sponsor persuaded me that such a restored bill would stall in the Senate upon return there for Senate concurrence with House amendments.  Sponsor Rosendale is also the Senate Majority Leader.  I trust him to know what he can get past the Senate, so we did not ask House Tax to restore the missing tax breaks from the original version of SB 122.

If House Tax had restored the tax breaks stricken in Senate Tax, only four Senate Republicans would have had to vote against the restored House version to kill the bill.  There are seven of the "responsible Republicans" in the Senate, plus a couple or three other Republicans who can be quirky.  We can’t count on any Democrat votes on our bills.  The R/D split in the Senate is 29-21.  Given all of that, I couldn’t see going against the advice of the Sponsor to ask House Tax to restore the tax breaks taken out by the Senate Tax Committee.

House Tax made one small, technical amendment to the bill, just to clean up an erroneous date in the bill, but otherwise passed the amended Senate version by 13-7 (hey, we even got some Democrats).

So, the current status of SB 122 is not "gutted", although I’d agree it is weakened.  In its current form, we get 2 1/2 steps forward rather than the 3 steps we wanted.  Still, it’s moving the ball in the right direction.

SB 122 will be on the floor of the full House soon for Second Reading.  I’ll let you know when it’s time to ask House members to support the bill.  Assuming SB 122 passes the House on Second and Third Readings (likely, I think, in its current form), then it will return to the Senate for Senate concurrence with the minor, technical amendment made by the House.  Barring any wildcards being played in the hand, I expect Senate concurrence with the minor House amendment will be nearly automatic, and SB 122 will then go to the Governor for his signature.  This is the one of our bills that I think the Governor will be likely to sign (although I’m not betting any money).

Stay tuned …

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

Update in re Northwestern Energy

Dear MSSA Friends,

Thanks to all of you who have helped with the Northwestern Energy fiasco.  As is said in politics, if you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.

Several of you have asked me for updates and further explanations about this situation.  Well, it’s fluid and evolving, but there are a couple of points worth noting.

Northwestern has published a statement on its Website, a really bogus statement about its opposition to HB 598.  Northwestern’s statement is a lame excuse in attempt to justify its opposition to HB 598 and its corporate misbehavior by claiming that the bill would have consequences it clearly will not.  Northwestern says it "feels" that HB 598 would prevent it from controlling firearms in its workplaces and among its employees.

This is a totally bogus excuse, easily demonstrated.  HB 598 says clearly, on Page 2, at Line 5, that the bill applies only to "the state or one of its political subdivisions" (local governments), not to private entities.

Northwestern makes the lame excuse in its posted statement that it opposes HB 598 to insure its property rights and employee control.

Even if that were correct, which it definitely is NOT, Northwestern’s lobbyist spoke in opposition to HB 598 for six minutes in just the first of five times he came to the committee microphone to oppose HB 598.  An examination of the transcript of that six-minute testimony discloses that the lobbyist’s presentation included 927 words.  Of those, two short sentences totalling 28 words, or 3% of his testimony, was about Northwestern’s alleged property rights problem.  The other 97% of the lobbyist’s presentation was a rant about seniors, schools, future elections, and a mish-mash of other hypothetical scare stories that have absolutely no relation whatsoever to Northwestern’s alleged concern about its property rights or to its company mission area.

Sorry Northwestern, your posted statement just doesn’t pass the smell test.  It reeks of attempted coverup of a deliberate anti-RKBA effort by Northwestern.  That statement is such a transparent attempt to excuse unjustifiable corporate behavior as to be laughable.  The people of Montana and the Legislature are not stupid enough fall for such a Clintonesque attempt at misdirection.  Heck, next Northwestern may even claim that its dog ate its homework, or that hostile alien thought waves from outer space caused it to misunderstand HB 598, not exactly the quality of corporate responsibility one normally expects from the leaders of a major corporation in Montana.

One final thought about Northwestern’s posted statement attempting to justify its anti-RKBA stance on HB 598.  Northwestern attempts to further excuse its misbehavior by saying it was joined in its opposition to HB 598 by lobbyists for other business interests in Montana.  It is my firm belief (admittedly without actual evidence) that Northwestern went out of its way to actually RECRUIT these other people as opponents to HB 598.  Saying its anti-RKBA position is excusable because/if it recruited others to do the same is a really sleazy position for Northwestern to take.

Stay tuned MSSA Friends and keep up the pressure.  Again, you may send your comments to:

Pat.Corcoran@northwestern.com
Pam.Bonrud@northwestern.com
Bobbi.Schroeppel@northwestern.com
PSC_complaint@mt.gov

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

Northwestern Energy lobbying mission statement

Folks,

FYI, from Northwestern’s Online mission statement in re lobbying:
http://www.northwesternenergy.com/docs/default-source/documents/corporategovernance/politicalcontributionspolicy.pdf

E.  Lobbying Activities

1.  It is important for us to interact with legislators, regulators, and other public policymaking bodies in order to further the interests of the company.

3.  Our government and regulatory affairs staff actively lobbies public officials on issues that impact our company and our ability to do business. (Emphasis added)

WTF does opposing the RKBA have to do with Northwestern’s company or mission?

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

Some more good news

Dear MSSA Friends,

Thanks for your help with Northwestern Energy.  We need to hammer home the message, "Leave the right to keep and bear arms alone – mind your own business."

Good news.

Both HB 203 (no local enforcement of new federal gun or magazine bans) and HB 298 (permitless carry) have cleared the Senate and are on their way to the Governor’s desk.  Tomorrow I’ll provide you with information about contacting the Governor in support of these two bills.

SB 122 (ammo component manufacture) has been approved by the House Tax Committee with a 13-7 vote.  This bill will now move on to the House floor for Second Reading, and then Third Reading.  SB 122 got a minor, technical amendment in House Tax, so it will need to go back to the Senate for concurrence with this House amendment.  That shouldn’t be a problem.  Then it, too, will go to the Governor.  More about this when it’s assigned for Second Reading in the House.

That’s all for now.

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