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Montana Senate Votes to Gut Firearm Training Requirements and Recklessly Force Guns on Campus Instead of Proven Solutions to Gun Violence

February 3, 2021

88 % of Americans Agree Permits are Needed Before Carrying a Concealed Gun in Public, and States That Have Weakened Their Firearm Permitting System Have Seen Increases in Violent Crime Rates

The Bill Allows People to Bring Firearms Into Places Where Alcoholic Beverages are Sold, Dispensed and Consumed, Which Is Opposed by 93 % of Americans

Montana Has the Seventh Highest Rate of Gun Deaths in the Country, 85 % of which are Gun Suicides

HELENA, Mont. — The Montana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Montana Senate voted to advance HB 102, which would eliminate the permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in nearly all public places, meaning that more people could carry hidden, loaded handguns without a background check or any safety training. The bill will move back to the House for concurrence. 

“As a responsible gun owner, I know how important firearm training is,” said Shani Henry, a gun owner and volunteer with the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Gutting training requirements and forcing guns on campuses is a recipe for disaster. Montanans deserve better — they deserve proven solutions to gun violence. If this reckless bill gets to his desk, Governor Gianforte should veto it immediately.”

Permitless carry legislation strips states of essential permitting and training standards for carrying concealed guns in public. Training is one of the cornerstones of responsible gun ownership, and removing that element is risky. The majority of Americans support concealed carry permitting systems that provide firearm safety training and ensure that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public. In 2003, Alaska became the first state to enact permitless carry legislation. Since then, the rate of aggravated assaults committed with a firearm in the state increased by 71 percent by 2019

The bill also allows people to bring firearms into places where alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed and consumed. Alcohol is associated with increased aggression, and people under the influence of alcohol are both more likely to be shot and more likely to kill someone else. Currently, 93 percent of people in the U.S. think people should not be allowed to bring guns into bars.

HB 102 would force colleges and universities to allow anyone to carry concealed, loaded firearms on campus with few exceptions. Guns have no place on college campuses, and allowing guns on campus could increase the risk of gun suicide for students. The firearm suicide rate for children and teens has increased by 59 percent in the past decade – and access to firearms increases the risk of suicide by three times.  State legislators shouldn’t make colleges less safe by forcing them to allow concealed handguns in dorms, classrooms, sporting events, and other sensitive areas. 

More information about permitless carry here and guns on campus here. Additional information on gun violence in Montana is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Montana’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here

To speak with a policy expert or Montana Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteers, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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