October 16, 2019

Update on Progress of Proposed Montana Legislation on Guns and Right to Hunt

Press Release from the Montana Shooting Sports Association:
Dear MSSA Friends,
Well, not exactly.  I’m home now.
Tuesday morning at 8 AM I attended a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee to support MSSA’s School Safety Act, HB 385, to allow for armed teachers.  Garrett Bacon of Helena also came to support the bill (thanks Garrett), but he was the only other proponent.  There were about 30 Moms Demand Action there.  Each side was allowed 20 minutes.  One of the MDA bill opponents took up over 10 minutes of that time with unpersuasive testimony.  Others of the 30 were frustrated when their side ran out of time and they were only allowed to state their name for the record.  I must admit that it is frustrating when some clueless dolt burns most or all of your side’s time with wasted talk, but I admit to not being so disturbed when it happened to the other side.  The committee has not yet taken action on the bill, but I think it likely the Committee will approve the bill.  It’s not too late to send messages to Committee members asking them to support HB 385.  Do it.
Tuesday afternoon, the Senate passed Permitless Carry (HB 262) and Post Office Carry (HB 246) on Second Reading.  Both of those were passed by the Senate today on Third Reading.  Since neither was amended by the Senate, both will now go to the Governor.  In a different email to you (maybe tomorrow) I’ll offer information and suggestions for messages to the Governor about these two bills.  Neither one passed with a veto-proof majority, which would be 34 votes in the Senate and 67 in the House.
Later on Tuesday afternoon I attended a public hearing before the House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee to support HB 151, a bill to prevent FWP from using for other purposes the money the Legislature appropriates for the Shooting Range Development Program.  There were several opponents, including FWP and their reliable sidekick the National Wildlife Federation.  I told how FWP had diverted the SRDP funding from two previous legislative sessions.  I think the Committee was sympathetic because legislators don’t like executive branch agencies and personnel ignoring legislative intent.  Please contact the House FWP Committee and ask that committee members support HB 151.
BTW, HB 151 and HB 262 (Permitless Carry) were MSSA bills (bills for which we overtly asked for introduction) last session.  They were not on the final MSSA legislative agenda this session, but we couldn’t hardly not support them when sponsors reintroduced them this session since they were introduced last session at MSSA’s request.
This morning at 9 AM I attended a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of SB 99 and SJR 11.  Garrett Bacon was there again in support (thanks again Garrett), but nobody else showed up to support these two MSSA bills.
Senate Joint Resolution 11 is the measure to provide the first authoritative definition for the critical phrase in the Montana Constitution “shall not be called in question.”  Surprisingly, there were no opponents.  I guess the Moms Demand Action wore themselves out on Tuesday.
SB 99 is the bill to prohibit state and local public employees (cops) from enforcing any new federal restrictions on firearms or magazines.  SB 99 was opposed by county attorneys and the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, although the opposition was not as spirited as it has sometimes been in the past.
NEW BILL.  A bill has been introduced for a referendum to upgrade the right to hunt, fish, and trap in the Montana Constitution, SB 236, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder.  It will have a public hearing tomorrow (2/16) before the Senate Fish and Game Committee.  I emailed a letter of support for SB 236 from MSSA.  Please send messages to the Committee in support of SB 236.
Every change to the Montana Constitution must be voted on by the people.  To put SB 236 on the ballot requires 100 votes combined out of the 150 possible votes in the Senate and House.  That’s a pretty heavy lift, so your ongoing support for SB 236 will be needed.
That’s enough for now.
Best wishes,
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MSSA-Sponsored Gun Bills Advance in Legislature

Press Release from the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

Dear MSSA Friends,

All four bills that had public hearings before the Montana House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday have been passed by the Committee.  They will now advance to the floor of the House for action before the full body on Second Reading.  If you’re not familiar with what this means, please review:
These four bills that have moved on to the House floor are:

HB 262 – Permitless Carry (in other states called “Constitutional Carry”) – Rep. Bill Harris. Since 1991, a concealed weapon permit (CWP) has not been required for a law-abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in 99.4% of Montana – outside the limits of cities or towns.  With over two decades of experience that not requiring CWPs for nearly all of Montana has not created any problems, this bill will harmonize the law so a permit will no longer be required for a law abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in the remaining 6/10ths of 1% of Montana, inside cities and towns.  This bill would leave the permitting process in place, so citizens who desire them may still obtain CWPs for travel to other states that recognize Montana CWPs, and for firearm purchases at gun stores under the federal Brady Law.  This change would exclude criminals from applicability – it would still be illegal for criminals to carry concealed weapons.  Another way to explain this is that if a law abiding person were wearing a firearm, this bill would make it legal to put on a coat inside city limits without a government permit to dress for cold or wet weather.  This bill was carried last session by Rep. Harris and passed House and Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Bullock.

http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/billhtml/HB0262.htm

HB 246 – Firearms in Post Offices – Rep. Randy Brodehl.  This bill would prohibit enforcement by state and local officers of federal laws making it a crime to have a firearm in a vehicle in a U.S. Post Office parking lot, or inside a Post Office building.

http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/billhtml/HB0246.htm

HB 273 – CWPs and legal immigrants – Rep. Barry Usher.  Current law requires that only U.S. citizens may apply for a Montana CWP.  This restriction has been stricken by federal courts in other states as a violation of  “equal protection” (of the laws) for legal immigrants, who are deemed to have rights protected by the Constitution.  This bill will cause Montana law to conform to the equal protection requirements of federal courts.

http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/billhtml/HB0273.htm

HB 251 – Exclude various concealed weapons  – Rep. Kirk Wagoner.  This bill would exclude from concealed weapons laws a variety of weapons listed there, including a dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife having a blade 4 inches long or longer, and razor.  It would leave subject to concealed weapons laws only handguns.  This bill would simplify existing law.

http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/billhtml/HB0251.htm

Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to support all four of these bills.
Thanks,
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MSSA File Complaint Against One of Bloomberg’s Crony New York Lawyers

The Montana Shooting Sports Association and its President, Gary Marbut, have filed a complaint with the Montana Office of Disciplinary Counsel against an attorney in New York  City for allegedly offering legal advice without being licensed to practice law in Montana.<<<Read More>>>

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MONTANA GUN GROUP DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM POLITICAL PRACTICES MOTL MISTAKES USED TO JUSTIFY DEROGATORY DECISION

Press Release from the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

(August 27, 2016)
MISSOULA – Montana’s primer advocate for gun owners has demanded answers to critical questions from the political appointee currently enforcing campaign laws in Montana.  Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) sent a letter
Friday to Jonathan Motl, the controversial Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP), asking how the Commissioner could justify using wrong facts in a Decision derogatory to MSSA.
Marbut says that Motl’s handling of a Complaint about MSSA showed bias and impropriety from the beginning because Motl chose to not publish Marbut’s April 14th Response
to the Complaint in the public space of the COPP Website, although Motl did choose to publish both the Complaint and his Decision there. “This one-sided use of public funds makes the Commissioner’s effort look like a dedicated attempt to smear MSSA and me,” Marbut said.  About Motl’s publication of the Complaint but non-publication of Marbut’s Response, Marbut’s letter asks, “Am I being treated fairly?”
In his August 16th Decision,
Motl claims that Marbut and/or MSSA violated public disclosure law when a submitted form failed to include a list of candidates MSSA would support in the 2014 Primary Election.  However, the Decision also admits that the required list was indeed submitted. (Finding of Fact No 14:)  “The Commissioner determines that the disclosure set out in FOF No. 14 meets the requirements of Montana law.” (Decision, Page 8)  The problem, it seems, is that COPP attached the MSSA-provided list to the wrong COPP form when two forms and the list arrived in the same envelope at the COPP office.  This error by COPP, Motl claims, proves that MSSA broke the law.
In his August 25th letter to Motl, Marbut asks if it wasn’t actually COPP that “fell short of its responsibility to keep the public informed by failing to attach the provided list of candidates to the correct COPP form.”
Motl’s Decision also faults MSSA for not providing quarterly Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports to COPP.  Motl’s Decision states, “… MSSA filed no copies of its federal PAC (Political Action Committee, GM) reports with COPP.”  (Decision, Page 4)  Rebutting this factually incorrect claim by COPP, Marbut offers evidence in his letter to Motl that he sent 37 quarterly FEC reports (also publicly available from the FEC Website), not just the four reports Motl wanted, to COPP by email when asked for them by COPP.  Marbut also offers to send Motl a copy of the email in which COPP acknowledged receipt of this decade of FEC reports.
In the section of Marbut’s letter addressing this SNAFU by COPP, Marbut asks, “Does this flaw cause COPP to have failed in its due diligence to have properly investigated this matter before issuing its derogatory Decision?”
In his letter, Marbut asks several other relevant questions about Motl’s conduct, rationale, and conclusions in this matter.
Commissioner Motl has shown a history of feeding his side of a case to the media, while those subject to his enforcement action suffer bad publicity in legally advisable silence.  In order to correct this unfair advantage wielded by Motl, Marbut has chosen to go public with his Response to the original Complaint (previously hidden from public view by Motl) and with his related questions for Motl about the recent Decision.  Marbut says, “With fair, open, and equal public disclosure of the false facts used by Motl to justify his Decision in this case, and exposure of a biased process, let the public examine those facts and make up their own minds.”
Marbut concluded, “The power inherent in government offices must not be used in attempt to punish or silence political opposition.  The people will not allow that to become standard practice to be used by whatever clique is currently in power.”
 – 30 –
Information:  Gary Marbut, 549-1252 or gary(AT)marbut(DOT)com
Original Complaint:
Response to Complaint:
COPP Decision:
Letter of questions about Decision:
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Political Practices ruling and MSSA

Dear MSSA Friends,
Several months ago former Republican legislator from Billings, Don Roberts, filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices (COPP), claiming that the MSSA Political Action Committee had done a number of nefarious things that were in violation of Montana campaign finance laws.  That Complaint, if you can understand it, is at:
I responded to the Complaint with a letter posted here:
The various claims made by Roberts are restated in my Response, so it’s easier to understand this if you read through my Response.
You may hear in the news that the COPP has just released his Decision in this case, at:
The essence of the decision is that the COPP found MSSA violated campaign finance laws in two respects:
1.  When I filed the MSSA PAC with the COPP in 2014, two forms were filed on the same day.  On one form were listed the 18 candidates in who’s races the PAC would take a position.  The COPP holds that those 18 candidates should have been listed by names on BOTH forms filed, and to omit them on one form was a sneaky attempt to deprive the public of critical information.
2.  I have also maintained a separate, federal PAC, the MSSA Political Committee, which reports quarterly to the Federal Elections Commission.  We raise money for that federal PAC with small donations, mostly at precision rifle matches.  Federal rules require reporting of the name, address, occupation, and employer of donors who contribute $200 or more.  Those federal reports are done quarterly.  Then when money is spent (and also reported to COPP) on in-state political activities, the COPP says that it is necessary to report the name, address, occupation and employer for all donors to the federal PAC who contributed $35 or more.  While taking this position, the COPP also admits that there is nothing illegal about the federal PAC collecting unitemized donations between $35 and $199 and then donating that money to the state PAC in (reported) lump sums.  So, the COPP says that while doing nothing illegal, the state PAC is trying to do an end run around state reporting by funneling money through the federal PAC, which COPP holds is illegal even though he admits it is legal (go figure).
What may be more important is that the COPP fined my Democrat opponent two years ago $200 for failing to report nearly half of her campaign expenditures, while fining a Republican $50,000 for essentially the same offense.
So, I’m talking with attorneys and preparing to contend with this threat to our ability to prevent our political voice from being suppressed by strained or unequal application of the laws.
Curiously the first news about this COPP Decision (according to Google), an AP story, broke today in the Washington Times:
The media may try to spin this as, “Dark Money Gun Group Violates Campaign Laws.”  You know the rest of the story.
Stay tuned for more …
Best wishes,
Gary Marbut
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About Bullock’s veto of HB 298 – Permitless Carry

News Release from Montana Shooting Sports Association:

I wrote this right after Bullock vetoed HB 298, but didn’t want to release it until MSSA no longer had any bills potentially hostage to the Governor:

The people of Kansas are more law-abiding and trustworthy than the people of Montana, at least that’s what the respective governors of those states believe.

Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas, just signed into law a bill that would allow adults in Kansas to carry firearms discreetly without advanced government permission.

Meanwhile, Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, just vetoed HB 298, a bill that would have allowed non-criminal adults in 6/10ths of 1% of Montana to carry discreetly without advanced government permission. The rest of Montana, 99.4% of Montana, has been that way for 24 years now, entirely without the negative consequences now predicted if HB 298 had been signed by the Governor.

In order to justify his distrust of Montana people, Governor Bullock had to lie about the consequences of HB 298, unless you wish to be more generous and simply suppose that former Attorney General Bullock is dangerously incompetent in misunderstanding Montana law on the subject.

Just two of the several lies the Governor told to justify his veto from his veto letter are, “HB 298 would void our state’s reciprocity agreements with more than 40 states that recognize concealed weapon permits and it would void our laws allowing Montana permit holders to bypass the federal background check required for a firearm purchase.”

The first truth is that Montana has zero reciprocity agreements with any other states – none -, so there is nothing to be voided. Plus, HB 298 had no effect whatsoever on the existing Montana law recognizing permits of other states for use in Montana.

The second truth is that there is no way at all to bypass the federally-required background checks for Montana people to buy firearms from licensed dealers. All that Montana law does is to allow a permit to clarify that the buyer is not some other prohibited person who the federal computers may confuse the buyer with. Plus, HB 298 had no effect whatsoever on that existing Montana statute.

Really, the Governor knows this stuff, or at least he should unless he’s dangerously incompetent.

Or, Governor Bullock simply lied to the people of Montana in attempt to justify his rank distrust of Montana people, unlike Kansas Governor Brownback who appears to believe the people of Kansas more trustworthy than Bullock believes the people of Montana to be.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association

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Montana Senate Hopeful Curtis and Guns

An email sent to members of the Montana Shooting Sports Association from Gary Marbut:

Dear MSSA Friends,

A Missoulian story about aspirant for the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate (to replace withdrawn Walsh), Amanda Curtis of Butte, has her portraying herself as a supporter of the Second Amendment. The article says, “Curtis said she’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution and that she and her husband own firearms.”

That’s not what her record says, not by a long shot.

MSSA tracked 24 gun-related votes cast by Curtis in the Montana House last session. Curtis voted anti-gun on 23 of 24 opportunities. For that, she scored a miserable 2.6%. A 59% score would have earned her an “F” on gun issues. She is well below F-, if there is such a thing.

Curtis voted:

NO on a bill to encourage manufacturers to move to Montana and create new jobs if those manufacturers make firearms (HR5).

NO on two bills to protect hunters’ hearing by allowing sound reduction for hunting (HB205 & HB27).

NO on a bill to prohibit the university system from suspending the Montana Constitution (HB240).

NO on a bill to allow investigators working for public defenders to carry firearms for self defense (SB133).

NO on a bill to exempt from criminal “disorderly conduct” charges a hunter who fires a shot at a deer or elk (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB446).

NO on a bill to allow people located inside city limits the same ability for self defense as those outside city limits (HB304).

NO on a bill to allow a person eating at a restaurant that serves beer to provide for his or her self defense (HB358).

NO to medical privacy for gun owners (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB459).

NO to preventing newspapers from publishing the private information about people who have been issued a concealed weapon permit by the local sheriff (the Governor disagreed with her on this bill too) (SB145).

Curtis is virulently anti-gun. Her claim to support the right to keep and bear arms sounds like the beginning of another Walsh thesis.

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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MSSA-Endorsed 2014 Primary Candidates – 70% Success

MSSA endorsed a total of 23 candidates in the Primary Election just held, and supported 18 of those by mailing 19,000 postcards to voters in contested districts.

Here’s how that turned out.

MSSA Endorsed Primary 2014 – 70% Success

Body/Name District Win/Loss
Montana Senate
Mark Blasdel – Senate District 04 W
Kris Hansen – Senate District 14 W
Tonya Shellnutt – Senate District 24 W
Cary Smith – Senate District 27 W
Joanne Blyton – Senate District 29 L
Jedediah Hinkle – Senate District 32 W
Marissa Stockton – Senate District 42 L
Scott Boulanger – Senate District 43 L (possible recount)

Montana House
Ronalee Skees – House District 07 L
Mike Hebert – House District 11 L
Ann Morren – House District 18 L
Ryan Osmundson – House District 30 W
Sarah Laszloffy – House District 53 W
Jeff Essmann – House District 54 W
Seth Berglee – House District 58 W
Debra Lamm – House District 60 W
Mike More – House District 65 W
Matthew Monforton – House District 69 W
Bob Wagner – House District 71 L
Mike Miller – House District 80 W
Theresa Manzella – House District 85 W
Edward Greef – House District 88 W
Dan Salomon – House District 93 W

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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Montana Shooting Sports Association Political Activity

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA has a separate “Political Committee,” an entity designed to be able to legally receive money according to federal and state laws and rules, money that may then be used to support or oppose candidates or ballot issues.

You will be interested to know that the MSSA Political Committee yesterday sent 19,000 postcards to registered voters in 18 Montana legislative districts in support of candidates that MSSA has endorsed for the upcoming Primary Election. If we can get these ardently pro-gun candidates elected, we’ll have an improved chance of getting pro-gun legislation through the 2015 Montana Legislature.

This involvement in elections is VERY IMPORTANT. It lets candidates and legislators know that MSSA is a serious player in the political arena. Because if this, we get much more traction in Helena than we would if we were not active in elections, evaluating, endorsing, and supporting candidates actively.

You won’t be surprised that we ran our MSSA Political Committee bank account down to near zero sending out these 19,000 postcards.

So, we’d love to have donations from you to MSSA PC to help rebuild this account for the November General Election. If you can help, you may mail a check to:

MSSA PC
P.O. Box 4924
Missoula, Montana 59806

Your check should be made payable to MSSA PC.

There are some rules:

No corporate checks: Although lawsuits have changed this landscape, we prefer no checks drawn on the account of a corporation. Personal checks please.

No limits; reporting info: There is no limit to the size of the check you are allowed to write, ALTHOUGH if it is $35 or more, we MUST report your Name, Address, Occupation and Employer. If your name and mail address is on your check, you can just write your occupation and employer in the memo blank.

Remember, MSSA is the most successful such entity in the U.S., and therefore probably in the World (they don’t have gun rights organizations at all in most countries). Since MSSA’s founding, we’ve now gotten 64 pro-gun and pro-hunting bills enacted into Montana law. For us to continue this level of success, we need your support for MSSA PC.

Thanks loads for whatever you can do.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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Gun Grabbers Paying for Fake Studies

Dear MSSA Friends,

As you have learned, I don’t send out pitches for financial assistance. I just don’t, for a variety of reasons.

However, I’m making an exception in this instance. I’ve known John Lott for 30 years. He’s the author of the authoritative book More Guns; Less Crime, wherein he proves that crime is reduced in states that enact “shall-issue” concealed carry laws. John deserves whatever support you can afford. Here’s the pitch:

Gun Grabbers Paying for Fake “Public Health” Studies
to Justify Banning Guns in an All-Out Info War

The courts have delivered a series of defeats to the gun control movement in recent years causing gun control lawyers to cry out for evidence that gun control works and needs to happen in the U.S. Hearing their cries, Bloomberg, Soros and Obama have recently invested HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, paying academic scholars in major universities to produce fake academic studies that will “prove” we need gun control.

The problem for them is THE FACTS DO NOT SUPPORT GUN CONTROL, so these clever academics will have to COOK THE STUDIES to “prove” we need gun control. It will take academics with great knowledge of statistics to be able to FIND THE TRICKS in these BOGUS academic studies.

This is why Dr. John R. Lott, economist and author of More Guns; Less Crime, and Board Members Ted Nugent (musician) and Brad Thor (NYT Best-Selling Author), announce the formation of the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) to EXPOSE AND CRUSH THESE FAKE STUDIES. CPRC is the ONLY organization of this kind!

Dr. Lott is the best person for the job. In Forbes, Milton Friedman was quoted as saying, “John Lott has few equals as a perceptive analyst of controversial public policy issues.” Ted Nugent says, “John Lott is my academic hero.” Sean Hannity remarks on one of Lott’s books, “If you want the truth the anti-gunners don’t want you to know… you need a copy of The Bias Against Guns.”

Dr. Lott needs you to help fund this organization to hire staff and cover the costs of getting CPRC analysis out to the public.

Receive Founding Member Status by donating $50 or more today, CLICK HERE TO DONATE and choose a perk! For every dollar you give, we get a matching dollar from a generous donor up to $200,000

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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