Tag Archives: gun bills

GUEST POST: MSU Sending Mixed Messages Over Guns on Campus

by pariahdog

In a recent article in the Montana State University Exponent, Kevin McRae, Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education, has publicly declared the opposition of the Montana University System (MUS) to the passage of Senate Bill 143 (Cary Smith-R) allowing concealed carry of firearms on MUS campuses.

The issue of campus carry legislation is now gaining national significance with Montana as one of the states involved in the debate.

In spite of the stated opposition of the Montana University System (MUS) to Senate Bill 143, there exists the appearance of duplicity on the part of the MUS. This appearance of conflict between words and actions arises from the fact that Montana State University (MSU)-Bozeman will be facilitating the annual fundraising banquet and firearms raffle/auction of the Bridger Mountains Chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA). This event will take place on Saturday, April 4, 2015 in the MSU Strand Union Banquet Hall.

Fifty percent of the proceeds of this fundraising event go to the national NRA Foundation. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), the lobbying arm of the NRA, currently advocates at the State level legislation for concealed carry of firearms on college campuses. This includes actively advocating for passage of Senate Bill 143 in Montana.

Facilitating a fundraiser for an organization actively lobbying for the passage of legislation opposed by the Montana University System sends a conflicting message regarding the MUS position on Senate Bill 143 both to students and the public. This is especially perplexing given that firearms are part of the official 2015 NRA Merchandise Package provided to the local organization for raffle/auction at their annual fundraising banquets.

Not only is the fundraiser being held on an MUS campus, but a select segment of the public is apparently being granted special permission to bring guns to campus for the purpose of raffling/auctioning them for funds that will then be used to support an organization currently advocating for a bill opposed by the MUS that allows concealed carry of guns on campus.

A clear solution to this appearance of duplicity would be to not facilitate NRA fundraising events on the campus of an MUS institution.  Indeed, there are many off-campus venues in the Bozeman area that could host such an event.

The same mixed message was sent by the MUS in 2013 when similar campus carry legislation (House Bill 240) was passed by the Montana Legislature and subsequently vetoed by the Governor.

That year, the same annual Friends of the NRA fundraising event was held in the Strand Union Building at Montana State University in Bozeman.

It is one thing to have open debate about the issue on campus, but quite another to facilitate on campus fundraising efforts by a group clearly working in support of the very campus carry legislation opposed by the MUS.  The words indicate MUS opposition to Senate Bill 143, the actions speak otherwise.


Reforming Gun Laws, Montana Republican Style

by Cowgirl

It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws.  It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.

In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.

There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:

First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas.  Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.

The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.

Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session.  Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place.  I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men–who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages–will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.

And if you think Republicans do not believe in guaranteed access to healthcare, think again.  A few GOP legislators have just introduced House Bill 459, a bill to guarantee the provision of medical care–to anyone who is armed.  The bill makes it a felony to deny someone health care if the denial is based in any way on the fact that the person is in possession of a weapon, and refuses to answer the doctor’s question about said possession.  Said another way, this bill ensures that you can bring a weapon to your doctors office, and the doctor may not ask you to leave the premises if you refuse to answer the doctor when you are asked “is that bulge under you clothing a concealed weapon?” It also forbids pediatricians from asking other questions about guns that they routinely ask, about whether the parent owns weapons and, if so, whether the parent is safely storing them in the house, out of reach of the child.

These legislators should themselves seek out a pediatrician, because they are overgrown children who somehow became legislators.

There are many more such bills, including:

HB 302 by Rep. Krayton Kerns would prohibit state enforcement of any federal ban on semi-auto firearms/magazines

 HB 215 by Rep. Edward Greef declares the Winchester rifle “The gun that won the west.”

HJ 5 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil amends the U.S. Constitution to prevent President from entering into any arms treaties that infringe on gun rights.

LC1639 by Rep. Scott Reichner would prevent local governments from restricting firearms.

HB 27 by Rep. Ted Washburn would allow the use of silencers when hunting “large predators,” while

HB 205 by Krayton Kerns would eliminate the prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in the field altogether.

HB 240 by Rep. Cary Smith seeks to allow guns on college campuses.

HB 468 by Rep. Alan Doane would encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.

HJ 3 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil calls for an amendment to the US Constitution which “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”

SB 304 by Rep. Roger Webb would establish a “firearm protection act.”

HB 292 by Rep. Randy Brodehl would revise laws related to pawn shop stolen gun procedures