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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

'Moms Demand Action' Push Back On Expanded Gun Rights In Montana

Gun safety advocates have begun a push to defeat several bills that expand gun rights in Montana.

The Montana chapter of “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense” is taking aim at two bills that would loosen the state’s concealed-carry laws, and another bill that would allow guns on college campuses.

They kicked off their drive with a capitol news conference, where one speaker was retired Lewistown educator John Moffatt, who was shot and nearly killed by a Junior High student in 1986. He doesn’t want guns on campus, and says students don’t them either.

"I have two nephews currently at the University of Montana. They don’t want to go to a school where they are looking over their shoulder and every little incident is potentially a tragedy, they don’t want that," Moffat said.

The Republican sponsor of the guns-on-campus bill, Billings Senator Cary Smith, says opponents like to drum up "hysteria" that doesn’t match reality.

"We’ve had several court cases, I believe one was in Colorado and one in Oregon, where the university system was told you cannot deny people the right to carry guns. And I don’t see anything in the paper about shootings taking place."

Smith’s bill is due for a vote on the House floor in the next week or two. But even if it passes there, history suggests it has little chance of becoming law. Governor Steve Bullock vetoed several gun rights bills in 2013, and none of this session’s crop of gun bills has passed by a veto-proof margin.

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