The Montana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the Montana Board of Regents unanimously voted to challenge the new law forcing guns onto college campuses and explore other options to keep students and faculty safe from gun violence.
“Guns don’t belong on college campuses,” said Shannon Thomas, a volunteer with the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We have been ringing the alarm about this legislation since January, and we’re grateful to the Regents for voting with the safety of our students and communities in mind. We’ll continue to support them as they explore other options to keep their campuses safe from gun violence.”
Since January, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers and supporters have done more than 1,600 digital actions, including sending 1259 emails and making 347 calls, in addition to numerous tweets, urging against forcing guns on campus.
In February, Governor Greg Gianforte signed HB 102, a reckless bill to eliminate the permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in nearly all public places, meaning that more people could carry hidden, loaded handguns without a background check or any safety training, and also force colleges and universities to allow anyone to carry concealed, loaded firearms on campus with few exceptions.
Guns have no place on college campuses, and allowing guns on campus could increase the risk of gun suicide for students. The national firearm suicide rate for children and teens has increased by 59 percent in the past decade – and access to firearms increases the risk of suicide by three times. And, on average, over 200 people are shot and killed with a gun in Montana every year — giving the state the eighth highest rate of gun deaths in the country. Montana also has the second highest rate of gun suicides in the country, which accounts for nearly 85% of gun deaths in the state and is more than two times that of the national gun suicide rate.