Montanans Voted on State Preemption and Won

Montanans narrowly approved LR-130 by 51% in favor and 49% in opposition. The measure bans local authorities from restricting open and concealed carry except in public buildings owned by local governments. The law also prevents them from restricting firearm ownership by any group of people.

Rep. Matt Regier (R-Columbia Falls), who sponsored the bill, lauded the measure saying that it would prevent anti-gun authorities from overriding the state's firearms law.

“LR-130 protects us from entities in the future enacting stricter gun laws than exist at the state level,” Rep. Regier said.

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He pointed out that LR-130 strengthened the state's preemption laws, preventing the proliferation of a labyrinth of local gun laws that are difficult to comply with and track.

Anti-gun authorities in Montana were chipping away at the preemption laws. For example, the city of Missoula passed a local universal background checks law for guns and parts in 2016.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox declared the law unconstitutional, forcing the city to go to court.

The law was finally overturned by Montana Supreme Court after a protracted legal battle. Anti-gun organizations, led by Everytown for Gun Safety, put up a spirited defense to keep the law on the books.

The action spurred the need to have strong preemption laws to prevent other cities from emulating Missoula and enacting unconstitutional laws.

Regier sponsored a similar bill, which sailed through both the House and Senate but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock. However, Gov. Bullock could not veto LR-130.

Local gun laws, such as those in Libby, Culbertson, and Helena, will become illegal after the law takes effect.

Amanda Curtis, Montana Federation of Public Employees' President said local authorities would lose control if the law became effective. The group was in the coalition opposing the LR-130. Amanda’s remarks prove that gun control is always about people control.

“It hurts democracy when local people can’t make their own decisions,” she said.

Anti-gun activists opposed having the question on the ballot, which could be construed as stifling democracy.

Contrarily, giving the residents the power to decide on the issue is the epitome of democracy. In fact, Montana already has preemption laws, but anti-gunners could not respect the constitution, creating the need for LR-130.

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