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Montana Lawmakers Endorse One Concealed Carry Bill, Reject Another

Pistol stock photo.

Efforts to expand who and where people can carry guns in Montana continue in the Legislature after a major policy signed into law last week allowed concealed carry of firearms in most places in the state. Lawmakers this week advanced one bill and rejected another.

The House of Representatives on a near party-line vote endorsed House Bill 436 Thursday. It’ll head to the state Senate for consideration next.

The bill would prohibit local governments from restricting concealed carry of guns in public buildings. It would also repeal a penalty for concealed carry in places where that’s prohibited.

Republican Rep. Scot Kerns is the bill’s sponsor.

"The goal of this legislation is to promote uniformity in our gun laws and to restore the right to keep and bear arms throughout the state."

The bill is similar to a 2020 voter-approve initiative, LR-130. However this bill would eliminate some of the exemptions allowed in LR-130 for how local governments can restrict concealed carry firearms in public buildings.

Democratic Rep. Connie Keogh spoke in opposition to the bill when it was debated on the House floor Wednesday. She said it would put public employees working in volatile settings at risk.

“Our local city halls and courthouses are not a place for openly carrying or concealing of firearms.”

Montana state senators rejected another gun-related bill Thursday after endorsing it on a preliminary vote. House Bill 158 to allow Montana legislators to carry concealed weapons without permits on state property was voted down 23-36.

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