Kathleen Williams proposes a $200 million tax on Montana gun owners

Dear MSSA Friends,
On August 29th, candidate for Congress Kathleen Williams told a Kalispell audience that she wants to levy a $200 million tax on Montana gun owners.
Really!  Although that’s not the way she put it. She said that “high capacity magazines” (over 10 rounds of ammunition) need to be treated legally the same as “sawed off shotguns” and “machine guns.”
These items, you may know, require an application to the BATFE, a nine-month wait, and a $200 tax for each item registered, in order to legally possess them.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that there are 132 million high capacity magazines in private ownership in the US.  Given the high density of firearms in Montana, there must be at least one million of the magazines Williams would target in Montana, probably many more.
One million magazines in Montana and a $200 tax for each one by Williams is where Williams’ $200 million tax on Montana gun owners comes from.
Wait, you say.  Williams is so ignorant about gun laws that she didn’t know that her proposal to legally reclassify hi-cap magazines as NFA items would levy $200 million in taxes on Montana gun owners.  Well, if she gets her way and you don’t pay the tax on your magazines, some judge will inform you that ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Not for you and me, and not for Williams.
If Williams should get elected and get her way about the tax on Montana gun owners, one of the people who would have to pay that tax is Greg Gianforte, our sitting congressman who Williams is trying to unseat.  I don’t know how many hi-cap magazines Gianforte has, but I know he has some.
It is because I know Gianforte to be a very pro-gun guy, and because of Williams idea for a $200 million tax on Montana gun owners, that I urge you to tell all your friends to support Gianforte in the election that is going on right now.

MSSA 2018 General Election endorsements and grades

Dear MSSA Friends,

I have just posted MSSA’s 2018 endorsements and grades for the General
Election in November, for candidates for federal office and for the
Montana Legislature.  They are posted at:

You might guess that MSSA has invested scores of hours of research about
candidates to deliver to you our best recommendation about candidates
for various offices.  I hope you take advantage of that effort.

Please recirculate this information and link as widely as possible.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association

CoPP sues MSSA?

Dear MSSA Friends,

The Missoula Current (a liberal Missoula Website) reports that the Commissioner of Political Practices (CoPP) has filed a lawsuit against MSSA in state District Court in Helena.  Allegedly, this lawsuit is an enforcement action over claimed campaign irregularities from 2014.
If this report is correct (unconfirmed at this point), CoPP is asking the Court to fine MSSA $28,000 because one staple was missing from documents MSSA properly filed with CoPP in 2014.  Yes, $28,000 because of one missing staple!
I have posted more detail about this at:
So, if you see more about this in the media, now you know the Rest of the Story, as Paul Harvey used to say.
If you read the linked material, you will see that CoPP has been weaponized by anti-gun, liberal political elements to try to emasculate and sideline MSSA, your highly successful political warrior asserting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Stay tuned for more.
Best wishes,

Gun Safety for Kids – News Release

Group encourages widespread gun safety message for kids
(for immediate release, March 29, 2018)
MISSOULA – The “Be Safe” gun safety program for kids is the most widespread and readily available gun safety program for children in Montana.  Provided by the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), Be Safe has been the primary program for children’s gun safety in Montana for over 20 years.  Be Safe is approved by the Montana Legislature, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and law enforcement as a good way to deliver an effective gun safety message to children.
Designed for children in first through third grades, Be Safe is a short story about how one responsible but imaginary Montana family deals with gun safety issues in the home environment.  Typically, a presenter will read the story to children in a class at school, in church groups, or in other youth groups.
The presenter will then hand out copies of the material to children and ask children to take it home and have parents read the story to the child and siblings one more time before the child goes to bed.  This reinforces the message, involves siblings, and offers parents a carefully designed gun safety strategy for application in the home.  MSSA has distributed over 100,000 copies of the Be Safe material to Montana schools, gun clubs, and parents since the inception of the program.
MSSA has deliberately withheld any copyright protection for the Be Safe material, so that any interested person may reproduce the Be Safe material.  That material and supporting documents are publicly available at:
MSSA President Gary Marbut commented, “For all those concerned about firearms and child safety, we encourage the widest possible application of Be Safe in Montana.  We have no idea how many children’s lives have been saved over the years because of Be Safe.  It must be some, maybe many.  But, we can do better.  That’s why we encourage all Montana people to ramp up delivery of Be Safe to children in schools and any other possible venues.”
Marbut notes that enhancing Be Safe delivery to Montana children is especially timely with all the recent national concern about child safety and firearms.  Be Safe is designed to reach children of an age when they are very receptive to a gun safety message.  “It’s better to get some firearm safety information to kids when they are receptive and before they get into an older, know-it-all stage of development.”
“Be Safe is free and available to everyone,” Marbut continued, “and anyone who is honestly concerned about child safety will help responsible gun owners spread the word.”
Be Safe includes suggested rules about gun safety that parents can apply in their home.  Marbut says that even though Montana is a “gun rich environment,” Montana only has 48% of the national average of “kid/gun misadventures” per 100,000 population, probably because of Montana’s gun-friendly culture.  Despite this good record, Marbut maintains, Montana can do even better with a wider delivery of Be Safe.  Marbut defines a “kid/gun misadventure” as an incident in which someone 14 years or younger injures themselves or another with a firearm.
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Information:  Gary Marbut, 549-1252; mssa AT mtssa DOT org

County Attorney Candidate Questionnaire

Dear MSSA Friends,

Have you ever wondered how to sort among local candidates for County Attorney in your Montana county?  Aren’t they all strong on law and order?  Don’t they all believe in apple pie and the American way?

To help you evaluate and separate candidates for County Attorney, I have crafted a Candidate Questionnaire for County Attorney candidates.  That CQ is now posted for your use at:

As with the Sheriffs CQ, MSSA simply does not have the bandwidth to deliver and evaluate this CQ for County Attorney candidates all across Montana.  You will need to do that in your county.  Find a local gun club, or some other interested group, and get them to send the link for this CQ to all candidates filed for the office of County Attorney in your county.  Give the candidates a reasonable deadline (earlier deadline if there is a Primary Election contest).  When you get the CQs back, score the answers and announce the scores and any endorsements to local media and to any voters you can contact.

Note:  Be careful to not spend any money advertising scores and endorsements to voters or the public unless you first comply with all the laws and regulations enforced by the Commissioner of Political Practices.  If in doubt about an activity, call the CoPP office in Helena and inquire (406-444-2942).

Good luck administering this CQ.  The office of County Attorney can be very important to the RKBA.  I hope you find some champions out there.

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

Sheriffs’ CQ

Dear MSSA Friends,

I have revised and updated the MSSA Sheriffs Candidate Questionnaire.  It is now posted at:

MSSA does NOT have the resources to deliver this CQ to local candidates or evaluate the results.  YOU will need to do that for your county, and figure out how to distribute the results of your evaluation(s) – endorsements, grades, etc.

I strongly urge that candidates be sent this CQ by a local group, rather than by one or more separate individuals.  If you have an ZYZ County Gun Club, you might want to ask them to offer the CQ to candidates.  If there’s no active gun-related group in your county, you may wish to form one, or invite some other established and interested group to sponsor the effort.

It should only be necessary to email the link above to local sheriff candidates, with a polite cover letter asking the candidates to complete the CQ and return it to you.  Such candidates may provide an email address to the local elections office when they file for office.  Or, if they have a campaign Website, it may contain an email address.

Once you have evaluation results from returned CQs, feel free to utilize and distribute your evaluation results locally however you wish.  A favored candidate would probably like to receive a letter of endorsement that he or she could use in campaign activities.  Social media may be a good place to distribute results.

Please remember that if you spend any money on behalf of or opposed to any candidate(s), there are strict and convoluted laws rules about that, rules enforced by the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.  So, before you spend any money to publicize the results of your evaluation (such as printing posters, printing and doing physical mailings, etc.), be sure to learn about and comply with whatever campaign laws and rules apply.

I believe (but I’m not sure – check with CoPP) that whatever individuals do as individuals, alone and without consulting with a candidate, are unregulated Freedom of Speech.  So, for example, suppose some volunteer in your group formatted an 8 1/2″ X 11″ poster in support of a candidate (volunteer – no money spent) and made that file available to others (no money spent), and then INDIVIDUALS paid to have some copies of that file printed (no group or pooled money), without discussing this with any candidates involved (no “coordination”), then this would be a First Amendment exercise and unregulated.  HOWEVER, I’m no authority on this so be sure to check with CoPP about the impact before spending any money for an election.

Election of good sheriff candidates is VERY important.  So, I hope some of you will follow up on this in every Montana county.  Do feel free to share this email with folks you may know in other Montana counties.

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

Mental health and “gun violence”

Dear MSSA Friends,

All the talking heads are frothing over the Florida school shooting.  All this rabid attention only inspires copycat acts.

Of course school shootings and mass murder are terrible.  But, let’s ask some intelligent questions about what’s going on.

Many talking heads bring up various suggestions about mental health, from more taxpayer funding, to wider screening, to better record keeping and sharing, to using mental health evaluations to strip people of their civil rights.  So, what’s the deal with mental health and “gun violence”?  (I put “gun violence” in quotes because the issue is really about violence against people, by any method.  One of the largest mass murders in US history was done in a New York City nightclub with a quart of gasoline.)

Well, I have explored the intersection of mental health and gun violence.  I have written about that intersection and posted that Online.  Please review my analysis at:

There are important points in this analysis you need to be able to express to friends, elected officials, and in letters to the editor.

Why do most of these incidents happen in schools?  Well, duhhh!  “Gun free zones.”  I put that in quotes because these places are NEVER gun free.  They are only gun free for the law abiding victims.  But “gun free zones” are low-hanging fruit full of ripe, defenseless victims for a madman planning yet another copycat killing spree.

To cure this societal defect, MSSA proposed the Montana School Safety Act in the last session of the Montana Legislature, House Bill 385.  HB 385 would have allowed trained and qualified school employees to be armed at work, to protect themselves and our precious children and grandchildren.  See the bill copy at:

HB 385 didn’t pass.  Opponents said it’s just too dangerous to have guns in schools.  Leave defense of our children to the professionals, they said.  Oh, but keep the fire extinguishers in the buildings, they said, because the staff of a school with a beginning fire can’t wait for professional firefighters.  Yeah, right.

How bad can it get?  How many children could a madman shoot in the target-rich environment of a school?  Well, I tested that.  Read about and see videos of my test at:

It could be very bad – much worse than the recent shooting in Florida.

So, what’s the solution?  It certainly won’t prevent drunk driving to take cars away from sober people.  And, it won’t inhibit madmen to make it more difficult for law abiding people to purchase or own firearms.  That’s obvious.

One solution is to get rid of gun free zones – all of them.  They’re dangerous places and magnets for violent madmen.  When one of these incidents happens, what’s the first thing people on scene do?  They call for police.  Why call police?  It’s not because of the nifty clothes police wear, and not because of the fancy cars they drive, but because police have guns they can use to shoot the perpetrator.  The victims are calling for guns.  Why shouldn’t the intended victims have guns so they can shoot the perpetrator themselves rather than wait fatal minutes for police to arrive?

It seems that this problem of mass murder needs to be examined through the lens of sociology, rather than of law or psychology.  More gun control laws have not worked anywhere.  Calls for more or better mental health are likely to only obscure important aspects of the problem, and postpone workable solutions.

Enough rant.

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

S. 2206 – release wilderness study areas

Dear MSSA Friends,

Montana’s Senator Daines has a bill coming up for committee hearing, S. 2206, to release for general Forest Service management five different areas that were designated as “wilderness study areas” about 40 years ago.  About 35 years ago, the Forest Service declared that these areas were not suitable for wilderness designation.
Pasted below is the text of MSSA’s letter of support to Daines in re S. 2206.  If you agree with me, you should email messages of support, especially from clubs and organizations, to Senator Daines, ASAP.
Here’s my letter to Senator Daines:
February 1, 2018
Senator Steve Daines
218 E. Front St., Suite 103
Missoula, Montana 59802
Dear Senator Daines,
The Montana Shooting Sports Association supports S. 2206.  We believe that moving the included wilderness study areas back into standard Forest Service management will benefit Montana hunters, but especially hunters who are no longer young and fit but who still wish to hunt.
When we were younger, we could hike in five miles, shoot an elk, and with a struggle, pack it out.  Many of us can no longer do that, because of age or infirmity.  We are effectively excluded from the hunt because we cannot use motorized methods to get within a mile or so of the hunting opportunity.
These wilderness study areas are classic examples of public lands from which those who are not unusually fit are effectively excluded.  We hope that having these areas returned to standard Forest Service management and multiple use will once again allow effective public access for all of the public, and for all hunters.
Sincerely yours,
Gary Marbut

Bump fire stocks – why you should care

Dear MSSA Friends,

One or more bills have been introduced in Congress to outlaw “bump fire” stocks, like the one(s) allegedly used in the Las Vegas massacre.

Why should you care?

First, I’ll agree with many of you that bump fire stocks are stupid.  They are usually inaccurate and just waste ammo.  As my friend Stephen says, they’re a good way to turn money into noise.  They have little practical utility.

But, that’s not the issue here.  The issue here is yet another assault on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  The people control crowd see banning these devices as low-hanging political fruit in the emotionally charged aftermath of Las Vegas.  They have zero intent to limit their ratcheting away of the RKBA with just banning bump fire stocks.  That’s just what they think they can get away with right now.

Another such incident and they’ll be after the device de jour.  What will be next?  Standard-capacity magazines, semi-auto rifles, red-dot sights, “cop-killer bullets” (all rifle ammo), banning private firearm sales without government registration/permission?  The possible list is extensive.  The people controllers already have their wish lists of future restrictions made.  The bills to accomplish these are already written, just waiting for an inflammatory incident to launch them.

In the broader context, a ban on bump fire stocks is just another attack on individual liberty.  Why does anyone “need” a car that will go faster than 65 MPH.  Why does anyone “need” to be able to send uncensored emails or make uncensored Online posts?  Why does anyone really “need” the privacy of their persons, papers, or homes, if they’re not criminals?  Why does anyone “need” to own his or her own property or live outside an urban apartment?  This list is endless too, and all or these are on the chopping block designed by those who want us all subservient to a tyrannous government.

So, where do we draw the line?

Here and now.  Hard and fast.  With bump fire stocks (even if you and I may think they’re dumb.)  This is the time to rise up and just say NO.  By that I mean ABSOLUTELY NO!

It doesn’t matter if some pro-gun group cuts a deal to throw bump-fire stocks under the bus, in exchange for leniency by our would-be masters, or in exchange for some other favor.  The message to Congress is still ABSOLUTELY NO!

Contact all three of Montana’s congressional delegation today, Senator Tester, Senator Daines, and Congressman Gianforte.  Tell them NO inroads on the RKBA, zero, none.  Tell them we are all watching closely.

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