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A Message to Montana Governor Gianforte: Veto HB 258 Now

Dear Governor Gianforte, 

58%

58 percent of American adults report that they or someone they care for has experienced gun violence in their lifetime.

SurveyUSA. “Market Research Study”. SurveyUSA. (2018). https://bit.ly/2ExxpyZ.

We are survivors. We are survivors of the country’s gun violence epidemic. Gun violence has changed our lives, families, and communities with its devastation. We are part of a community which includes 58% of all adults in our country. 

You might not know us personally. You might not see us in your daily life. But, we are here. We are in every city, every town, and every corner of our great state.  

It is from this position that we are pleading with you to veto HB 258, a bill which would prohibit Montana state and local law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of any new federal public safety laws. 

Nullifying federal law is unconstitutional and provisions in the bill would prevent law enforcement officers from protecting their communities from gun violence and encourage extremists to defy federal gun laws, including laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. 

208

In an average year, 208 people die by guns in Montana.

Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown Research – EveryStat”. Everytown for Gun Safety. (2020). https://maps.www.everytown.org/everystat

Last updated: 1.14.2021

With over 200 gun deaths per year, Montanans need proven gun safety laws to end this public health crisis, but under a nullification law, Montana law enforcement officers would be discouraged from assisting federal authorities in making sure people who have dangerous histories don’t have access to a firearm. We deserve to be protected by the same national gun safety laws as everyone else in our country.

8th

Montana has the 8th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States.

Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown Research – EveryStat”. Everytown for Gun Safety. (2020). https://maps.www.everytown.org/everystat

Last updated: 1.14.2021

2x

Montana’s gun suicide rate is more than 2 times that of the national gun suicide rate.

Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown Research – EveryStat”. Everytown for Gun Safety. (2020). https://maps.www.everytown.org/everystat

Last updated: 1.21.2021

$1.4b

Gun violence costs Montana $1.4 billion each year, of which $42.3 million is paid by taxpayers.

Montana has the eighth highest rate of gun deaths in the country and 85 percent of these deaths are gun suicides. In fact, Montana’s gun suicide rate is more than two times that of the national gun suicide rate. The high rate of gun violence in the state also costs $1.4 billion each year, of which $42.3 million is paid by taxpayers. With this extreme legislation, this cost could rise as gun violence does. 

But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. This session, our neighboring states of Idaho and Wyoming proposed similar bills, but the bills were ultimately defeated and deemed too extreme. Law enforcement across the country have also come out to oppose these bills because they would make their own jobs more difficult and dangerous. 

This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Many of us come from diverse communities, backgrounds, and political ideologies, but what we all agree on is that no family should have to feel the pain of having someone taken from them by gun violence. A pain that we have endured for years. A pain that we know never goes away. 

We know that Montana has a rich history of responsible gun ownership, and we know that most gun owners here support common-sense gun safety. We are only asking that you continue that tradition and veto legislation that would not only make us less safe, but would undermine our law enforcement officers who continue to be on the front lines of two public health crises — coronavirus and gun violence. 

As a parent and a family man, you can understand our commitment to protecting our communities and families from further gun violence. We all want to keep our loved ones safe — and right now vetoing this dangerous legislation is how you can help us do that.

Sincerely, 

Jennifer A, Jennifer B, Su, Dannette, Allison, Sheri, Beckie, Julia, and Shannon

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