Dear MSSA Friends,

With amendments provided by MSSA, our Sheriffs First, HB 274, has passed the House Judiciary Committee.  It will now move to the House floor for consideration on Second Reading sometime next week.

In the public hearing, attending sheriffs objected to HB 274 primarily because of the workload if they had to review and approve every federal action in their county.  Sheriff Lindler of Yellowstone County testified that the US Marshals had arrested over 1,000 felons with outstanding warrants in Yellowstone County in the past year (the Billings Gazette is looking into that claim).  He said he simply doesn’t have the time to look at and approve or deny 1,000 arrest requests.

The amendments provided by MSSA and adopted by the Committee make implementation of Sheriffs First optional by any sheriff.  It would also make prosecution for non-compliance optional for County Attorneys, curing a complaint by county attorneys that the Legislature may not interfere with their "prosecutorial discretion."  These amendments negate nearly all objections to HB 274 by those few sheriffs and county attorneys who attended the public hearing and opposed HB the bill.

You should now contact your Representative (not Senator, yet) and ask him or her to please support HB 274.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

By mssa