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Teen launches ballot initiative to allow teachers to carry guns - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Teen launches ballot initiative to allow teachers to carry guns in Montana

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HELENA -

Montanans could have the chance to vote to allow teachers to carry guns in schools, thanks to the efforts of a 17-year-old junior at Whitefish High School.

Chet Billi filed draft language for a proposed initiative for the 2016 ballot this week with the Montana Secretary of State.

He'd like to see teachers at all levels carrying, including colleges, in accordance with state concealed-carry laws.

Reached by telephone Thursday, Billi said he previously lived in Alaska, which has a firearms heritage similar to Montana's.

"I have an immense respect for firearms as well as a deep love for them," he said.

He said he's bothered that after school shootings, "The first thing the government seeks to do is take guns out of the hands of the very people who could have prevented the incident."

He said he's been engaged in politics and debate for years.

"I guess it's part of my personality," he said. "I like competition."

There's still a long process for the measure to reach the ballot.

According to a spokeswoman for the Montana Secretary of State, that office sent the ballot language to the Legislative Services Division on Tuesday.

Legislative Services can make recommendations for revisions within 14 days. Ultimately the ballot language will require the approval of Secretary of State Linda McCulloch (a Democrat) and Attorney General Tim Fox (a Republican), all before signature-gathering can begin.

Billi says he has no specific plan yet for the sometimes difficult process of gathering signatures, but wanted to take the first step.

A measure to legalize concealed-carry on Montana's public college campuses passed the Montana Senate in the last Legislative session, but was died in the House on a 49-51 vote.

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