Three more bill hearings

February 16, 6:25 PM

Dear MSSA Friends,

Two MSSA bills have been scheduled for public hearings.

HB 203, which passed the House, MSSA’s bill to prevent state and local employees from enforcing any new federal gun and magazine bans, Is scheduled for its public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 23.  Along about next weekend, you will need to get messages to members of the SJC to please support HB 203.  I’ll remind you.

HB 505, MSSA’s safe travel to work bill, is scheduled for its public hearing on Wednesday, February 18th, before the House Judiciary Committee, on the same day as MSSA’s HB 457 (RKBA referendum).  NOW is time to get messages to HJC members to please support both HB 505 and HB 547.

A bad bill has been introduced, HB 539, to create the crime of careless firearm handling in a public place.  This bill is reputed to have arisen because of unenforced range rules at a shooting range located on property owned by the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  The bill fails to define what constitutes careless firearm handling, or what a public place is.  It would make a law subject to infinite abuse by whoever the enforcers might be (also unexplained).  This bill is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, and a hearing date has been set for March 5th.  I’ll remind you again to get messages to HJC members shortly before the hearing.

If you can come to Helena to support these bills, that will be outstanding.  If so, please review my advice for testifying before a committee at:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

If you can’t get to Helena to support these bills, please contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee or House Judiciary Committee via the Message Center, 444-4800, or 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

Several bills moved

February 16, 2:07PM

Dear MSSA Friends,

The House Judiciary Committee took executive action on and approved of MSSA’s bills this morning.  These bills will now move along to the House floor for Second Reading consideration by the whole House.  The bills passed by the HJC include:

Permitless Carry, HB 298.
Prohibited Places, HB 371
Fix Montana Supreme Court mistake, HB 388

Please get messages to your Representative (not Senator) asking him or her to support these three bills when they come to the House floor.

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

Correction – wrong dates SB 295 and HB 457

Dear MSSA Friends,

Sorry, but I gave you the wrong dates for the public hearings on SB 295 (suppressors) and HB 457 (RKBA).

These public hearings will be on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, not Monday and Tuesday.

I plead too many balls in the air, or too many birthdays, or something.

SB 295, to eliminate the prohibition on suppressors for hunting, will be heard before the Senate Fish and Game Committee at 3 PM in Room 422 of the Capitol on Tuesday, 2/17.

HB 457, for a constitutional referendum to remove archaic language from the RKBA in the Montana Constitution, will be heard before the House Judiciary Committee in Capitol Room 137 at 8 AM on Wednesday, 2/18.

If you can come to Helena to support these bills, that will be outstanding.  If so, please review my advice for testifying before a committee at:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

If you can’t get to Helena to support these bills, please contact Senate Fish and Game committee members or members of the House Judiciary Committee via the Message Center, 444-4800, or the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

Ask Committee members to please support these bills.  You can send a message about one bill to ALL Committee members with one click.

Thanks loads for your ongoing help.  YOUR PARTICIPATION IS CRITICAL!

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

Last MSSA bill introduced – Safe Travel to Work

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s last (I think) bill has been introduced as HB 505, a bill to exempt employers from liability IF they have or enforce no policy against firearms locked in employee’s vehicles in the employer’s parking lot and if one of those firearms should, against policy, be taken from the employee’s vehicle and used to injure someone in the workplace.  HB 505 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee – no public hearing date set, yet.

Previous versions of this bill have tried to accomplish more, but we decided to scale it back some so we’d have a chance of getting it through the Legislature and approved by the Governor.  This bill, if enacted, will cure the primary objection employers raise to firearms in employees’ vehicles.

Our concern is that employees who may need the tool for self defense while traveling to and from work are denied that ability by employers’ employment policies of no guns allowed in a private vehicle in the employers’ parking lot.  Employers certainly are not willing to be responsible for the safety of employees traveling to and from work, so employees should be allowed to provide for their own safety, not stripped of that ability.  Think of a nurse who gets off work at a hospital just before midnight and must travel alone through a dark town to get home.  Who is responsible if she has a flat tire and gets raped on the roadside with no ability to defend herself?

There is one more bill to be introduced that MSSA will support for sure (although not an "MSSA" bill), and several lurking around the corner that could be introduced that MSSA would oppose vigorously if they should be introduced.  We’re watching for those.  Stay tuned …

Best wishes,

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

FLASH – SB 122 passes Senate Second Reading

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s flagship bill to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana has passed the Senate on Second Reading by a vote of 28-22.  I expect this vote to hold on Monday on Third Reading, and for this important bill to move on to the House for consideration there.

This 28-22 was pretty much a party line vote, although Democrat Senator Bradley Hamlett voted for it and Republican Senators Rick Ripley and Bruce Tutvedt voted against it.

Thanks ever so much for your help on this important bill!!!!!!!!!!

Best wishes,

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

Report: Bill hearings last three days

Dear MSSA Friends,

I’ve attended and testified at public hearings for six bills before legislative committees in Helena over the last three days.  Here’s a brief report on those bills with suggested followup by you.

Tuesday
HB 212 before Senate Fish and Game. HB 212 would clarify by law that the right to "harvest wild fish and game animals" in the Montana Constitution includes trapping, as well as hunting and fishing.  I told the committee that I, personally, had selected those words and crafted that language for the constitutional referendum MSSA pressed in about 2003 to secure that general right in the Montana Constitution.  And, I told the Committee, I specifically selected that verbiage to include trapping within the umbrella of the protected right.  The opposition was almost entirely anti-trapping people, the same ones who have twice tried to run a statutory initiative to create a law that would ban trapping on public land.

Wednesday
HB 320, before the House Judiciary Committee, would clarify that school boards may, BUT ARE NOT REQUIRED TO, expel for one year a student who forgets to take a hunting rifle, shotgun or other firearm out of the student’s vehicle before parking in the school parking lot.  Over 450 Montana kids have had their educational futures derailed because administrators mistakenly told school boards that they had no choice under federal law but to expel such kids for a full year.    The Committee will likely take executive action on HB 320 tomorrow (Friday), so it’s not too late to get messages to Committee members asking them to support this bill.

HB 298, before House Judiciary Committee, is MSSA’s "Permitless Carry" bill, which would make concealed carry legal inside city limits without a permit, as long as the carrier is eligible under law to possess firearms.  The Committee will likely take executive action on HB 298 tomorrow (Friday), so it’s not too late to get messages to Committee members asking them to support this bill.

HB 371, before the House Judiciary Committee, is MSSA’s bill to fix the Montana "Prohibited Places" law at 45-8-328.  This law makes it illegal to exercise a CWP in a bar, bank, or public building (although this misconceived law doesn’t prohibit open carry in those places).  HB 371 would open up all of these places, except genuine bars but including restaurants, to concealed carry by CWP-holders.  The Committee will likely take executive action on HB 371 tomorrow (Friday), so it’s not too late to get messages to Committee members asking them to support this bill.

If both HB 298 and 371 pass, any lawful gun owner could carry concealed inside city limits without a permit, just like outside city limits for the last 24 years, but CWP-holders would have the extra privilege of being able to carry in "Prohibited Places."

Thursday
HB 388, before the House Judiciary Committee, is MSSA’s bill to correct a misunderstanding by the Montana Supreme Court.  The Court said in a decision that it didn’t understand what the Legislature intended with MSSA’s 2009 bill that required investigators, in any situation where self defense is apparent or alleged, to conduct an investigation so as to disclose all evidence, including evidence that could exonerate a self-defender accused of a crime.  HB 388 clarifies the language of the existing statute so even the Montana Supreme Court can’t misunderstand legislative intent.  The Committee will likely take executive action on HB 388 on Monday, so it’s not too late to get messages to Committee members asking them to support this bill.

HB 281, before the House Judiciary Committee, would require game wardens to comply with all the requirements for arrest, search, and seizure that deputy sheriffs are required under law to comply with.  It would also establish an affirmative defense of "trivial mistake" for violation of fish and game laws that hopefully will reduce the plethora of citations game wardens tend to write for some honest-intentioned person who is accused of failing to dot some "I" while hunting or fishing.  The Committee will likely take executive action on HB 281 on Monday, so it’s not too late to get messages to Committee members asking them to support this bill.

When beginning this email, I intended to list the primary opponents to each bill.  That’s too tedious, but there is a common denominator.  All major opponents to all of these bills were representing government institutions:  The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the Montana County Attorneys Association, the Montana Police Protective Association, the Montana Game Wardens Association, the Montana School Administrators Association, and other groups representing government employees.  When MSSA attempts to expand liberty, or to rein in government, government institutions turn out big time in attempt to thwart MSSA, always.

That’s enough.  I need to get to work on some proposed amendments for HB 320.  The school establishment may even support this bill if I can get the amendments tweaked right so as to satisfy their concerns without giving up important points.

Best wishes,

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

Two more MSSA bills introduced; hearings

Dear MSSA Friends,

Two more of MSSA’s bills have been introduced and public hearings on these bills have been scheduled.

SB 295 is MSSA’s bill to end the prohibition on use of firearm sound suppressors for hunting.  It has been assigned to the Senate Fish and Game Committee, and the public hearing on this bill will be next Tuesday, 2/17, at 3 PM, in Capitol room 422.  If we can get this bill passed and signed by the governor (likely this session), this will eliminate the last state restriction on suppressors, except for the separate crime of committing a crime with one (go figure).

HB 457 is MSSA’s constitutional referendum to revise the RKBA in the Montana Constitution at Article II, Section 12, by removing the archaic language, "but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons."  This language is a relic of the Montana Territorial Constitution of 1884.  It is no longer consistent with Montana culture and needs to be removed from the Constitution.  A constitutional referendum is one way to get a constitutional change before the voters of Montana (the other is a constitutional initiative – by gathering a LOT of signatures).  To get this on the ballot will require the favorable votes of 100 of the Legislature’s 150 members.  This will be a heavy lift, although MSSA has done it before with the right to hunt amendment.  Then, if we can get 100 votes out of the Legislature, this will go to the ballot and 50+% of the people voting must approve the measure at the election to actually amend the Constitution.  The public hearing on HB 457 will be at 8AM next Wednesday, 2/18, in Capitol Room 137.

If you can come to Helena to support these bills, that will be outstanding.  If so, please review my advice for testifying to a committee at:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

If you can’t get to Helena to support these bills, please contact Senate Fish and Game committee members or members of the House Judiciary Committee via the Message Center, 444-4800, or the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

Ask Committee members to please support these bills.  You can send a message about one bill to ALL Committee members with one click.

Thanks loads for your ongoing help.  YOUR PARTICIPATION IS CRITICAL!

Best wishes,

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

ALERT – SB 122 – Ammunition Component Manufacturing

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s bill to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, SB 122, will be considered on the floor of the Senate tomorrow (Friday) on Second Reading, beginning at 1 PM.

Please get messages to your state senator asking him or her to please support SB 122.

You can contact your senator via the Message Center, 444-4800, or the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

Friends, this is MSSA’s flagship bill this session.  We NEED your support on this one.  Although MSSA has plenty of good bills working this session, and some yet to be introduced, SB 122 may have the most important and far-reaching consequences for the RKBA of any bill in Helena this session.

Thanks for your help!

I’ve just returned from Helena and three days of hearings on bills there.  I’ll get out a report on that later today.  Stay tuned …

Best wishes,

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

HB 203 passes House Third Reading

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s bill to prevent local enforcement of any new federal firearms or magazine bans or restrictions, HB 203, passed the House on Third Reading today with a vote of 58-42.  It will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

All Democrats voted against HB 203, as did Republican Frank Garner

Best wishes,

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

Five MSSA bills up Wednesday and Thursday

Dear MSSA Friends,

There are five MSSA bills scheduled for public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and Thursday of THIS week, February 11th and 12th.  The HJC meets at 8 AM in Room 137 of the State Capitol.  Here are the bills for each day:

Wednesday
HB 298 – Permitless carry.  Will allow concealed carry without a permit inside city limits by persons eligible to possess firearms, the same as it has been outside city limits in Montana for 24 years.

HB 320 – Guns on school grounds.  Will clarify that school boards have full authority over discipline of kids who forget a hunting rifle in a car in the school parking lot, and that federal law does NOT mandate an automatic one-year expulsion.

HB 371 – Prohibited places.  People with CWPs will be able to carry in a bunch of formerly prohibited places, including restaurants that have a liquor license, but not including genuine bars.

Thursday
HB 281 – Game wardens.  Will require that game wardens must comply with all the same requirements for arrest, search and seizure as deputy sheriffs, and will provide an affirmative defense of a trivial mistake for persons charged with violating game laws.

HB 388 – Fix Montana Supreme Court mistake.  The Legislature enacted 45-3-112 in 2009 at MSSA’s request, to require that in an alleged or apparent case of self defense police investigators must investigate ALL evidence, including evidence that might corroborate legitimate self defense.  The MSC held that 45-3-112 made no effective change in Montana law.  HB 388 clarifies the language to fix that MSC mistake.

If you can come to Helena to support these bills, that will be outstanding.  If so, please review my advice for testifying to a committee at:
http://progunleaders.org/Legislative%20Process/hearing.html

If you can’t get to Helena to support these bills, please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee via the Message Center, 444-4800, or the Online Message Form at:
http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp#email

Ask Committee members to please support these bills.  You can send a message about one bill to ALL Committee members with one click.

Thanks loads for your ongoing help.  YOUR PARTICIPATION IS CRITICAL!

Best wishes,

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