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 Supreme Court ruled the Board of Regents has the sole right to set policy regarding the possession of firearms on the Montana University System property. This ruling comes after the Montana Board of Regents challenge to HB102, a dangerous law forcing guns on college campuses, passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Greg Gianforte last year.
“Guns don’t belong on college campuses,” said Sheri Sprigg, a volunteer with the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We worked hard to ring the alarm about the legislation allowing guns on campus, and were grateful to the Regents for voting with the safety of our students and communities in mind. This ruling is a massive win for public safety.”
Last year, Governor 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. The Montana Board of Regents unanimously voted to challenge the new law forcing guns on college campuses, filing a lawsuit against the state over whether the state legislature or the Board of Regents has the constitutional authority to regulate the possession of guns on campuses. This ruling will keep students and college campuses safer.
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 55 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 ninth 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.