Concealed carry ballot measure concerns school officials

Concealed carry ballot measure concerns school officials

A woman carries a .38 Special revolver in Kalispell on Wednesday, Oct. 14. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake) A measure on the November ballot would strip local governments in Montana of the power to regulate concealed firearms, except in publicly owned and occupied buildings within their jurisdictions. Some school officials worry the measure would hinder their ability to prevent people from openly carrying guns on school campuses. Legislative Referendum 130 aims "to prevent local governments from creating a patchwork of gun control laws across Montana that would just be landmines for unwary travelers," said Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and an architect of the ballot measure. Marbut and other backers, including state Rep. Matt Regier, R-Columbia Falls, say open and concealed carry laws should be uniform across the state so gun owners are less likely to break them inadvertently. "As a group, we want to follow the law," Regier said. "That’s why we get permits in the first place." LR-130 would erase the word "school" from one section of Montana law. Marbut, however, insisted the referendum "doesn’t change anything at all for school boards." He pointed to another statute that prohibits people from carrying weapons "in a school building." Lance Melton, executive director of the Montana School Boards Association, said the referendum probably would not affect school districts’ ability to regulate firearms in buildings, but it could prevent them from banning guns elsewhere on school grounds, such as parking lots and outdoor sporting events. And that, […]

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