In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy, a plethora of bills expanding gun rights in every direction have been introduced in the Montana legislature. One of these bills could open old wounds for Indian peoples.
House Bill 215 would designate the Winchester Model 1873 the official gun of Montana because, as the bill reads:
the popularity of the Winchester Model 1873 has led it to be credited as “The Gun That Won the West”.
But “Winning the West” means something much different to the people who were here for hundreds of years before men with guns came and rode roughshod over Indian people, ravaged tribal culture, seized land and devalued Indian women.
This bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Greef (R-Ravalli) told the Billings Gazette that he had “spoken with” representatives from the legislature’s Indian caucus, but didn’t say in the article whether he’d shown them the specific language of the bill.
Last session, Sen. Shannon Augare led Indian legislators and others in opposing a “Code of the West” bill for similar reasons.