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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Attorney General: State Law Prohibits Missoula's Proposed Background Check Ordinance

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On Monday night Missoula’s city council takes up a proposed ordinance that would require criminal background checks on nearly all gun sales in the city, including those between private parties.

Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said he believe such an ordinance, “is prohibited by state law and likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Missoula’s city attorney disagrees with Fox.

Also today, Montana’s Republican representatives in Congress sent Missoula’s mayor and city council a letter opposing the ordinance. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke said:

“We feel obligated on this rare occasion to express our opposition to the misguided ordinance, which would create unnecessary burdens on law-abiding Montanans while proving ineffective in preventing violent crime.”

The full city council has not yet had a hearing on the proposed new measure.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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