Montana Becomes 18th State to Pass Constitutional Carry Bill

By Faye Higbee

Last year’s elections in the State of Montana yielded a brand new Governor who is not afraid to stand for 2nd Amendment rights. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte won the race against an anti-gun Democrat. As a result, HB 102 was signed into law on Thursday, making Montana the 18th state to adopt Constitutional Carry, as well as Campus Carry. The move came just days after Utah became the 17th state.

Montana, 18th State for Constitutional Carry

Our Second Amendment is very clear: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Every law-abiding Montanan should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones. …

…Criminals don’t care about safe zones or gun free zones. Gun control measures don’t prevent criminals from perpetuating violence and other crime. Gun control measures step on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Gov Greg Gianforte at bill signing last Thursday

The bill passed both House and Senate in Montana by nearly all party line votes with most Democrats opposed, and most Republicans for. Even Montana is severely divided. One Democrat defected to vote for it; two Republicans voted against it.

The measure allows concealed firearm possession without a permit by default in most places in the state, with exceptions including secure law enforcement facilities, federal buildings, courtrooms, and K-12 schools. Property owners and tenants would have the ability to expressly prohibit firearm possession in private homes and businesses.

Additionally, the measure forbids the state university system from restricting firearm possession on campuses beyond requiring gun owners to have safety training akin to a hunter’s education course and safety measures such as requiring that firearms be transported in cases and stored with gun locks. The university system will also be allowed to forbid gun possession by students who have been formally disciplined for substance abuse or “interpersonal violence,” and prohibit possession by attendees at football games and other events that are supervised by armed security guards.

Montana Free Press

The Campus Carry section of the bill doesn’t go into effect until June 1st, while all the other provisions are immediate. The Montana Constitution grants a Board of Regents power over colleges and universities, and they are opposed to this law, so a legal challenge to that portion of is likely in the works.

No state that’s adopted campus carry (or Constitutional Carry, for that matter) has repealed the measure because of unintended consequences or a rise in violence as a result of the carry law. In fact, there’s been no evidence that allowing those with concealed carry licenses to lawfully carry on a university campus has led to any increase in violence or suicides anywhere the law’s been put into effect.

Cam Edwards, Bearing Arms

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Featured Screenshot via public access video of Montana Governor Gianforte as he signs HB 102 into law, making them the 18th state to adopt permitless carry.

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