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