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

ACTION – Northwestern Energy

Dear MSSA Friends,

I highly recommend that you send an email much like the one I’m sending (below) to the following email addresses:

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

Please, do not use profanity or call names.  Do be firm and as strong as you want.  Here’s my message to Northwestern:

===========
Dear Northwestern Energy,

I have been a customer of the Montana Power Company and then Northwestern Energy for 40 years.  I fiercely resent Northwestern’s opposition to HB 598, a gun rights bill before the Montana Legislature.

Northwestern has no business toying in the gun rights arena.  Northwestern has no proper purpose spending the money I pay for utility service to pay a lobbyist to work against my fundamental, constitutional rights in the Legislature.

You may be assured that I will voice this complaint to the Public Service Commission.

Sincerely yours,

===========

Thanks!!

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

News Release, NWE attacks the RKBA

NEWS RELEASE
(for immediate release – March 13, 2015)

Northwestern Energy Turns Against the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Northwestern Energy, a company usually concerned only with efficient delivery of electricity and natural gas in Montana, took the bold step today to also become an active opponent of the right to keep and bear arms in Montana.

In a dramatic departure from usual corporate practice, Northwestern took a strong stance against House Bill 598, the Gun Owners Access to Justice Act, in a public hearing before the Montana House Judiciary Committee today.  Since the purpose HB 598 is to create a referendum on this issue for a vote by Montana citizens, Northwestern is also against allowing Montana people to vote on this important issue.

During the hearing on HB 598, the lobbyist representing Northwestern actually took the committee microphone five different times to reiterate Northwestern’s total opposition to the bill.

Also speaking in opposition to HB 598 was a representative of Moms Demand Action, a national group founded and funded by billionaire and anti-gun former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  This concurrence and Northwestern’s dramatic departure from its former policy of lobbying only about energy bills raises the question of whether billionaire Bloomberg may have financial ties to Northwestern.

Gary Marbut is President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, the primary political advocate for gun owners in Montana.  Marbut supported HB 598 before the committee and commented on the unusual opposition by Northwestern, “It’s a mystery to me why Northwestern would choose to burn so much political capital with the Legislature, with Montana ratepayers, and with investors, by launching so actively and visibly against the interests of Montana gun owners.  I’d guess that 90% of Northwestern’s Montana customers are gun owners.  How does it serve Northwestern’s corporate interests to poke a stick at this bear?”

The  Gun Owners Access to Justice Act clarifies that a high level of judicial scrutiny be applied to any government actions that impair the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, a level of scrutiny that is already applied to other fundamental rights.  It would also allow court costs and attorney fees for any person who successfully sued a governmental entity because the person’s rights had been violated by that government entity.

In D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.  Under the Montana Constitution, fundamental rights are considered to be those which the people have reserved to themselves from government interference in Article II, the Declaration of Rights.  The right to keep and bear arms is in the Declaration of Rights at Section 12.

If approved by the House Judiciary Committee, HB 598 will move to the floor of the House for Second and Third Readings, and then on to the Senate for the same consideration.  If approved by both House and Senate, HB 598 will go on the next General Election ballot for a vote of the people, and will not require the Governor’s signature.  HB 598 is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Monforton (R-Bozeman).

– 30 –

Information:  Gary Marbut, 549-1252
                 Robert C. Rowe, CEO, Northwestern Energy, 443-0715
                 Northwestern Energy, Butte, (888) 467-2669

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

Several updates – good news

Dear MSSA Friends,

HB 203 (no local enforcement of new federal gun bans) passed the Senate on Second Reading today.

HB 298 (Permitless Carry) passed the Senate on Second Reading today.

SB 143 (Campus Carry) was approved today by the House Judiciary Committee (I am told – it’s not on the Website yet).

HB 539, a bill MSSA opposed to create a crime of careless gun handling, was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee today.

Be sure to continue to press House Taxation Committee members to approve SB 122 (encourage manufacture of ammo components).

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee will conduct its public hearing on HB 598, for a referendum to go on the ballot to help secure the RKBA in Montana, the "Gun Owners Access to Justice Act".  Be sure to get messages to HJC members urging support of HB 598.

A hacker with online handle "Virus Noir", from Moroccan Hackers group ‘ Moroccan Agent Secret’, hacked into and defaced the MSSA Website, mtssa.org, last night.  Our Website is temporarily unavailable while we install backup files.  This is why I have always refused to have either the MSSA email list or the MSSA membership list ANYWHERE Online.  Our lists are highly secured and were NOT compromised with this hacking.  It’s only an inconvenience while we reinstall files.  This hacker is reputed to have defaced almost 3,000 Websites around the World, a minority of those in the US.  There doesn’t seem to be any pattern, but somebody doing this just because they can.  In Montana, in addition to mtssa.org, the Websites of a real estate agency and an author of books about dogs were also defaced by the same hacker last night.

That’s enough for now.

Best wishes.

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

ACTION – HB 203 and HB 298

Dear MSSA Friends,

I’m just back from Helena and the public hearings in the House for campus carry (SB 143) and ammo components manufacture (SB 122).  Those hearings went reasonably well.  Look up the video for those on the Legislature’s Website if you’re interested, SB 122 in House Taxation Committee today, and SB 143 in House Judiciary Committee today.

Two bills will be on the Senate floor for Second Reading tomorrow, Wednesday, 3/11, at 1 PM.  CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND ASK FOR SUPPORT.  These two bills are:

HB 203, to prevent state and local government employees (police) from enforcing any new federal gun or magazine bans, and

HB 298, permitless carry, to allow concealed carry inside cities by lawful gun owners without permits.

Please contact your senators and ask them to support HB 203 and HB 298.

Get messages about these bills 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

Best wishes,

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

Campus carry and ammo components up tomorrow – ACTION NEEDED

Dear MSSA Friends,

Two important MSSA bills will have public hearings tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.  It’s time for action.

SB 122 is MSSA’s flagship bill this session, to encourage the manufacture of ammo components (brass, primers and powder) in Montana.  It is up for its public hearing before the House Taxation Committee tomorrow morning.  NOTE:  This bill died in this committee last session on a tie vote.  We REALLY need to work this committee on this bill.  There are two reasons for the H Tax Committee members to vote for this bill.  First, it’s a jobs bill.  If it works to spur manufacture in Montana, it will create good-paying jobs here.  Second, and more important to MSSA, this may be what saves the RKBA from annihilation in Montana.  There is only one plant in the US that makes smokeless power for civilian consumption.  All the rest of the powder we consume is imported (about a million pounds per year).  If that one plant in Florida had a fire, and something (think UN regulations) interrupted imports, our ammo supply would end, our firearms would become just awkward clubs, and our Second Amendment rights would be down the drain.  This bill is ESSENTIAL for the long term survival of the RKBA.

I will ask the House Tax Committee to restore some of the tax break incentives taken out by the Senate.  Because there are no manufacturers of brass, primers or powder in Montana now, these tax breaks will not cost Montana one dime of lost revenue, but will provide jobs, and will provide tax income for the state in the future.  Please ask Committee members to help with MSSA’s plan to fix SB 122, and to pass it.  SB 122 is a jobs bill, and is essential to insuring the long term viability of our RKBA.

SB 143, MSSA’s Campus Carry bill will be up for public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.  The chief argument for SB 143 is that the Montana Constitution gives the U-system NO POWER TO SUSPEND THE CONSTITUTION, or to suspend those rights that we the people have reserved to ourselves from government interference in the Montana Constitution.  The second argument is that purported "gun free zones" have been demonstrated to be very dangerous places, because they are magnets of disarmed victim zones for madmen and criminals.  The third argument is that NONE of the doom predicted for campus carry by opponents has materialized in the several other states that allow campus carry.  Drunk students, irresponsible students, youth, accidents – NONE of this is happening with CWP-holders on campus in other states.
http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/campus-carry-is-about-civil-rights-unelected-bureaucrats/article_1fad30a5-6d03-58a7-8320-15b2681732b2.html

The House Judiciary Committee is a strong committee for us, so SB 143 should do well there.  Message members of both committees about these bills if you can, but especially the House Tax Committee about SB 122.  Remember, MSSA’s ammo components bill died in this committee last session.

YOUR SUPPORT IS CRITICAL!

Please get messages about these bills 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 help.

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

New and important bill introduced

Dear MSSA Friends,

Representative Matthew Monforton, a gun-friendly attorney from Bozeman, has introduced HB 598.  This bill is for a statutory referendum, which will require only 50%+1 of each House and Senate to go on the ballot for a vote of the people.  HB 598 will accomplish two things:  1) require that any infringements on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms must pass the highest level of judicial scrutiny to survive, and 2) will award court costs and attorney fees to anyone who’s rights are infringed and who sues and wins the lawsuit.

This is really big!  This bill is not on the MSSA Legislative Agenda for the 2015 session, but MSSA is adopting it.  It’s a super idea that could have very positive consequences for the RKBA in Montana.

HB 598 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee next Friday, 3/13.  It’s not yet time to send messages to committee members asking for support.  Soon – maybe Wednesday or Thursday.

There are two more bills on the MSSA legislative agenda that are yet to be introduced.  I’ll let you know.  Stay tuned …

Best wishes,

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

Quick update – MSSA bills

March 7, 10:20PM

Dear MSSA Friends,

I’m just back from four days in Helena, with just enough steam left for a quick update.

MSSA’s HB 203 (prevent state and local officials from enforcing new federal gun bans) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote.  It will now move on to the floor of the Senate for Second Reading.  Contact senators and urge their support.

MSSA’s HB 298 (permitless carry) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party line vote.  It will now move on to the floor of the Senate for Second Reading.  Contact senators and urge their support.

MSSA’s flagship bill, SB 122 (encourage manufacture of ammo components in Montana) will have its public hearing before the House Taxation Committee Tuesday (3/10) morning.  This committee meets at 8 AM and I believe SB 122 will be the first item on the agenda.  Show up or contact all House Tax Committee members and ask them to support SB 122.

MSSA’s SB 143 (campus carry) will have its public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday (3/10) morning.  This committee also meets at 8 AM and I believe SB 143 will be the last item on its agenda (maybe about 9:30), so it should be possible for those attending to make both public hearings Tuesday morning.  Show up or contact all House Judiciary Committee members and ask them to support SB 143.

Please get messages about these bills 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 ongoing help.  It is ESSENTIAL to our success.

Best wishes,

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

MSSA bills scheduled for public hearings soon

Dear MSSA Friends,

Here are the MSSA bills that are scheduled for public hearings in the near future:

Thursday, March 5th
HB 203, to prevent enforcement by Montana officials of new federal gun and magazine restrictions, will be up before the Senate Judiciary Committee – 8AM.

HB 539, to create a new crime of unsafe gun handling (MSSA opposes because its a badly-written bill) is up before the House Judiciary Committee – 8AM.

Friday, March 6th
HB 298, permitless carry, is up before the Senate Judiciary Committee – 8AM.

Tuesday, March 10th
SB 143, campus carry, will be up before the House Judiciary Committee – 8AM.
If things work out as I’d like, SB 122, ammo component manufacture, will be up before the House Taxation Committee this day also – 3PM.

It is time now to get messages of support for HB 203 and HB 298, and of opposition to HB 539 to legislators on the committees hearing these bills.  I’ll remind you again when it’s time for messages in re SB 122 and SB 143.

Please get messages about these bills 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!

Best wishes,

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

Mid-session legislative summary

February 27, 4:15PM

Dear MSSA Friends,

We started the session with a LOT of bills, the most MSSA has ever pushed in one session.  That’s good and bad.  It’s good because, even given attrition, we’re more likely to come out the other end with a number of bills passed, and I’ve always thought it’s better to keep legislators debating and voting on pro-gun stuff, so they have less time and attention to think about anti-gun stuff.  It’s bad because it dilutes our efforts and effectiveness somewhat.  In net, I think it’s a good strategy, even though it means more work for you and for me.

Here are our successes, so far:

MSSA’s flagship bill, SB 122, (Sen. Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive) to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, a jobs bill, passed the Senate and has gone to the House.  Because of the tax breaks in the bill, it has been assigned to the House Taxation Committee.  That’s where this bill died last session, so we’ll need an extra push this session when the bill comes up for consideration by the House Tax Committee.

MSSA’s campus carry bill, SB 143, (Sen. Cary Smith, R-Billings) has passed the Senate and been transmitted to the House and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

MSSA’s suppressors-for-hunting bill, SB 295, (Sen. Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell) has been passed by the Senate and transmitted to the House, and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

MSSA’s bill to prevent enforcement by Montana officials of any new federal firearms or magazine bans, HB 203, (Rep. Art Wittich, R-Bozeman) passed the House, is in the Senate, has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for next Thursday, 3/5, at 9AM.

MSSA’s permitless carry bill, HB 298, (Rep. Bill Harris, R-Winnett) passed the House, has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is set for public hearing next Friday, 3/6, at 9AM.

MSSA’s Safe Travel to Work bill, HB 505, (Rep. Matthew Monforton, R-Bozeman) was seriously amended by the House Judiciary Committee and has passed the House and gone to the Senate.

Still pending.

Some bills are not subject to the usual, mid-session Transmittal deadline, especially appropriation bills and referenda.  MSSA has one of each, and maybe another.

MSSA’s bill to prevent FWP from stealing money the Legislature appropriates for shooting range funding, HB 234, (Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton) is still pending before the House Appropriations Committee.

MSSA’s constitutional referendum bill, to remove the this-doesn’t-apply-to-concealed-weapons language from the 1884 RKBA in the Montana Constitution, HB 457, (Rep. Matthew Monforton, R-Bozeman) has been passed by the House Judiciary Committee and is awaiting Second Reading action on the floor of the House.

MSSA still has a bill draft in on a referendum for Sheriffs First, which we may rework and have introduced.  Stay tuned for more about this.

Lost

MSSA’s bill to revitalize the Montana Home Guard, SB 130, (Sen. Roger Webb, R-Billings) was tabled by the Senate State Administration Committee.

MSSA’s Sheriffs First bill, HB 274, (Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton) was defeated on the floor of the House.

MSSA’s bill to rein in game wardens, HB 281, (Rep. Dale Mortensen, R-Billings) died on the floor of the House.

MSSA’s bill to clarify that schools are not mandated to expel for a year a student who forgets a hunting rifle in the student’s car in the school parking lot, HB 320, (Rep. Carl Glimm, R-Kila) died on the floor of the House.

MSSA’s bill to correct the idiotic law about "Prohibited Places", HB 371, (Rep. Kerry White, R-Bozeman) died on the floor of the House.

MSSA’s bill to correct a Montana Supreme Court mistake about an existing self defense law, HB 388, (Rep. Randy Pinocci, R-Great Falls) died on the floor of the House.

Bad bills

There have been a number of bad bills, either on the horizon or introduced, that MSSA has opposed.

Universal background checks, to make it illegal to transfer a firearm from one private individual to another without federal government permission and record, was drafted but not introduced.  (Sen. Dick Barrett, D-Missoula)

Roll back all of MSSA’s 2009 self defense bill, was drafted but never introduced.  (Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula)

To outlaw exploding targets on public lands, HB 160, (Rep. Willis Curdy, D-Missoula) was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee.

Require funnelling Montana mental health records into federal computers for RKBA denial, HB 530 (Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula) was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee.

Make it a crime to handle firearms carelessly, HB 539, (Rep. Willis Curdy, D-Missoula) is scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee next Thursday, 3/5.

Other bills of interest

HB 212 (Rep. Kirk Wagoner, R-Montana City) would clarify that trapping is included within the right to harvest wild fish and game animals in the Montana Constitution.  I testified in support of the bill, and that this had been my intent when I crafted the language for this constitutional referendum.  HB 212 was passed by the House and approved by the Senate Fish and Game Committee.

HB 250 (Rep. Kirk Wagoner, R-Montana City) would clarify that it is legal to use suppressors to take unregulated animals in Montana, such as coyotes and Prairie Dogs.  This bill is problematic, for two reasons:  1) it makes no change in current law because under current law suppressors are only prohibited for taking regulated wildlife, and 2) the governor could sign this bill and claim credit for signing a suppressor bill while vetoing MSSA’s suppressors-for-hunting bill, SB 295, which actually does something.  HB 250 has passed the House and been approved by the Senate Fish and Game Committee.

HB 533  (Rep. Kirk Wagoner, R-Montana City) does some of what MSSA’s Permitless Carry bill does, and some of what MSSA’s Prohibited Places bill would have done, but not all of what either covers.  HB 533 has passed the House.

That’s all for now.  Thanks SO MUCH for your essential help to date.  Now, we’ll need to really knuckle down to push the remaining bills through the process.  I’ll keep you informed.

Best wishes,

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