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Another Loss for Gun Lobby, Victory for Public Safety as Governor Bullock Vetoes Final Dangerous Gun Bill


Everytown for Gun Safety and Montana Moms Applaud Governor Bullock’s Veto of House Bill 533; Veto Comes After Numerous Dangerous Gun Bills Were Rejected with Bi-Partisan Opposition in the House
83 Percent of Montanans Support Requiring a Permit to Carry Concealed Handguns in Public

HELENA, Mont. – Everytown for Gun Safety and the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today released the following statement applauding the defeat of numerous dangerous gun bills in Montana as Governor Bullock vetoed one final piece of legislation – House Bill 533, which would have allowed the public carry of concealed handguns with no permit or safety training and would have allowed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.

“Today, Governor Bullock once again heeded the call of moms across the state and stood up for the safety of Montanans. Governor Bullock’s decision to veto both HB 533 and HB 298 will keep our state’s common-sense concealed carry permitting system in place, and it will protect our families and our communities,” said Pamela Owen, volunteer Chapter Leader for Montana Moms Demand Action. “But, that’s not all we’ve accomplished this legislative session: Moms and gun safety advocates across the state have helped defeat other dangerous gun bills, including efforts that would have forced colleges to allow guns on campus and threatened our state’s most fundamental public safety laws. Gun safety supporters are a formidable force that is winning against the extremist gun lobby right here in Montana. We’ll continue to fight for safer gun laws that keep our children and communities safe.”

Last month, Governor Bullock vetoed House Bill 298, a similar bill that would have dismantled Montana’s current concealed carry permitting system. Recent polling shows 83 percent of Montanans support requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.

Montana’s legislative session will soon adjourn for the year. This session, gun safety advocates went toe-to-toe with the gun lobby and defeated dangerous bills that would have compromised public safety. In addition to the two bills vetoed by the Governor, the Montana House, with several Republicans joining Democrats, rejected other dangerous gun bills. HB 371, HB 598 and SB 143 each failed on the House floor with bi-partisan opposition. Even in Montana – a state with a strong gun culture – dangerous gun bills that compromised public safety were rejected.

Montana is one of many states where the gun lobby fell short on a range of bills—including legislation that would have let people carry hidden, loaded guns in public without a permit (defeated already in Tennessee, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia) and bills that would have forced guns on college campuses (Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming).

Leading up to Governor Bullock’s vetoes and the legislative defeat of other dangerous gun bills, the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action hosted the first-ever gun safety advocacy day at the Capitol, which brought together a broad coalition of gun safety advocates who urged Governor Bullock and the legislature to reject several dangerous gun bills that ultimately failed. Everytown and Moms Demand Action have 7,600 supporters in Montana.

Bills that failed in Montana this legislative session include:

  • SB 143, which would have removed the authority of public colleges and universities to regulate guns on school property—forcing them to allow concealed carry on campuses;
  • HB 298, which would have removed the requirement that people undergo firearm safety training and obtain a permit before carrying a concealed weapon in public. By doing so, local sheriffs would even have been unable to block people convicted of certain weapons offenses or sexual assault from carrying concealed weapons in public;
  • HB 371, which would have forced local governments to allow guns in their parks and buildings and would have allowed guns in bars and other establishments where alcoholic is sold;
  • HB 598, which would have called into question all of Montana’s gun laws, threatened public safety, interfered with private property rights, and invited excessive litigation at Montana taxpayers’ expense; and
  • HB 533, which would have allowed people to carry loaded handguns in public without a permit. It would have also allowed concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.