HELENA – Lawmakers in the Montana House are giving their approval to bills which are attempting to limit the authority of cities and towns to pass their own ordinances regulating firearms.
The measures are the outgrowth of Missoula’s contentious ordinance requiring background checks for firearms sold at gun shows. That ordinance was passed a couple of years ago and has already been reviewed in the courts.
Backers of the measure believe the ordinance closed the so-called “gun show loophole”. But opponents say it steps beyond the authority granted to city’s to regulate firearms under the Montana Constitution.
The Missoula City Council also moved to further limit carrying of guns in public places last fall, regardless of concealed carry permits.
The House approved House Bill 325 and House Bill 357 which were introduced by Rep. Matt Reiger (R-Columbia Falls) — one of which is a “backup” bill, which would send the limits to voters if lawmakers don’t pass the first bill.
The Montana Senate will take up the idea.
Kiely Lammers of the Montana Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America called the legislation a “transparent attempt to target cities” that have implemented “common-sense gun safety measures.”
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News