Missoula city attorney: Local governments retain ‘limited right’ to regulate guns

Missoula city attorney: Local governments retain ‘limited right’ to regulate guns

City governments still retain “limited ability” to regulate the carrying of weapons in city buildings owned or occupied by the public, the City Attorney’s Office in Missoula concluded in a legal opinion on Thursday. City Attorney Jim Nugent said the state’s new gun laws, as stated under House Bill 102, don’t prevent a local government from posting “no weapons” signs at government buildings. Violating the notice remains subject to prosecution for anyone without a valid concealed weapons permit to enter the facility while armed, Nugent said. But a person with a valid concealed weapons permit is now protected by state law. “If a local government building is generally posted with notices of no firearms allowed, a person with a valid concealed weapon permit may not be cited for violation of state law or city ordinance merely for being present in the government building with a weapon and a valid concealed weapon permit,” Nugent wrote. The sweeping gun reforms adopted by the 2021 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte in February have officials across the state scrambling to explore their legal boundaries. The Montana Board of Regents this week held a listening session on the draft policy to implement new laws allowing open and concealed carry on all Montana college campuses. The hours-long hearing saw most describe the new law as an “abysmal piece of legislation.” City and county officials in Missoula have expressed similar thoughts regarding guns at public hearings and other government functions. “A majority of […]

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