Montana House Considers Easing Gun Restrictions

Montana House Considers Easing Gun Restrictions

The Montana House of Representatives is considering a bill that would expand permission for the carrying of both permitted and permitless concealed firearms, including college campuses and government buildings in some cases.

The measure, introduced by Republican Rep. Seth Berglee, and passed the House judiciary committee on a 12-7 strict party line vote Monday, will allow citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a permit in most places, Helena NBC affiliate KTVH reported.

It also would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry their weapons into additional areas such as state and local government offices, restaurants and places where alcohol is sold.

The objective of the bill is “to reduce or remove provisions of law that limit or prohibit the ability of citizens to defend themselves by restricting with prior restraint the right to keep or bear arms that the people have reserved to themselves in the Montana constitution…,” the measure says.

In committee, the legislators added amendments that would allow judges to bar guns in courtrooms as well as school boards to restrict them in K-12 schools. Landlords and owners would be allowed to prohibit firearms on private property.

“I think it behooves us as legislators and as state officials to allow people their constitutional rights, and not prohibiting them,” Berglee said.

Republicans control both houses of the state legislature and, for the first time in 16 years, the governor’s office as well with the election of Greg Gianforte, 59, over Democrat Mike Cooney, Montana Public Radio reported.

Cooney was lieutenant governor to Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock, who was limited to two terms.

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