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2013 MT Legislature

Apr 15, 2013 2:37 PM by MTN News - Helena

Bullock vetoes expanded conceal-carry bill

HELENA - Governor Steve Bullock on Monday vetoed House Bill 304, which would have allowed any person eligible to own a handgun to also be able to carry that weapon concealed in cities.

The Governor included the following rationale in his letter to legislative leadership:

"House Bill 304 would effectively eliminate Montana's concealed weapon permitting process by allowing anyone eligible to possess a handgun to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The measure would allow individuals to decide whether they are eligible to carry a concealed weapon.

"If the logic of HB 304 were applied to other situations, there would be no need for a person to be licensed before driving on our highways - all they would need to do would be to determine whether they were "eligible" to drive. The same goes for pilot's licenses, building permits, hunting licenses, or any other type of permit.

While I will fiercely defend the 2nd amendment rights of our citizens, I cannot support an absurd concept that threatens the safety of our communities, by not providing for basic fundamentals of gun safety or mental health screening.

Moreover, instead of protecting the rights of Montanans, in reality HB 304 erodes the ability of a Montana citizen to purchase a weapon or carry concealed in another state. HB 304 would void our state's reciprocity agreements with more than 40 states that recognize concealed weapon permits and it would void our laws allowing Montana permit holders to bypass the federal background check required for a firearm purchase.

I respectfully ask that you stand with the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the Montana County Attorneys Association and the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police in opposition to this bill and sustain my veto."

Click here to read the full text of Bullock's veto (PDF).

Here is the full text of HB 304:

INTRODUCED BY KERNS, EDMUNDS, JACKSON, LEWIS, F. MOORE, PRIEST, SHAW, TAYLOR, THOMAS, WARBURTON, E. WALKER

AN ACT REVISING CONCEALED WEAPONS LAWS; PROVIDING THAT THE OFFENSE OF CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON DOES NOT APPLY TO A PERSON WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO POSSESS A HANDGUN UNDER STATE OR FEDERAL LAW; AND AMENDING SECTION 45-8-317, MCA.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

Section 1. Section 45-8-317, MCA, is amended to read:

"45-8-317. Exceptions.

(1) Section 45-8-316 does not apply to:

(a) any peace officer of the state of Montana or of another state who has the power to make arrests;
(b) any officer of the United States government authorized to carry a concealed weapon;
(c) a person in actual service as a member of the national guard;
(d) a person summoned to the aid of any of the persons named in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(c);
(e) a civil officer or the officer's deputy engaged in the discharge of official business;
(f) a probation and parole officer authorized to carry a firearm under 46-23-1002;
(g) a person eligible to possess a handgun under state or federal law, a person issued a permit under 45-8-321, or a person with a permit recognized under 45-8-329;
(h) an agent of the department of justice or a criminal investigator in a county attorney's office;
(i) a person who is outside the official boundaries of a city or town or the confines of a logging, lumbering, mining, or railroad camp or who is lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, or other outdoor activity in which weapons are often carried for recreation or protection;
(j) the carrying of arms on one's own premises or at one's home or place of business; or
(k) the carrying of a concealed weapon in the state capitol by a legislative security officer who has been issued a permit under 45-8-321 or with a permit recognized under 45-8-329.

(2) With regard to a person issued a permit under 45-8-321, the provisions of 45-8-328 do not apply to this section."

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