Montana Shooting Sports Legislative Update

Montana Shooting Sports Association

Montana -( The Legislature is back in session with five legislative days left.  The Montana Legislature is limited to 90 working days, not counting weekends and various breaks.  They’ve been taking a longish break while waiting to see what the Governor will do with the many bills on his desk.

Here’s the status report:

HB 159, to prohibit FWP from regulating ammo (i.e., FWP’s ill-considered proposal to ban lead shot for upland game bird hunting) has been approved by House and Senate and is on its way to the Governor.

HB 174, to repeal archaic firearm suppressor law is still stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  FWP stirred up ranchers on FWP’s Block Management program, telling them this is a “poacher’s bill,” and telling them that if HB 174 passes it will unleash a flood of poaching and FWP will be unable to help ranchers with the poaching problem.  This is yet another verification that FWP considers itself to be the 800-pound gorilla and will lie, cheat and steal to get what it wants.  Obstructing senators admit that FWP’s misinformation about suppressors is incorrect, but so far have refused to go against their FWP-misinformed rancher friends.

HB 271, permitless carry, is still waiting for Senate action on the conference committee report.  Yes, it’s unusual that the Senate has deliberately delayed acting on HB 271 for so long.  Hopefully soon.

SB 114, Sheriffs First, vetoed by Governor, who called it “frivolous.”  Some interpret the Governor’s response to be because SB 114 was stripped down by Senator Shockley to have no teeth.  Others opine that the Governor has little interest in challenging federal power, notwithstanding comments to the media to the contrary.

SB 135, to allow the use of dogs to track wounded game and to allow carrying firearms during such tracking, signed by the Governor.

SB 136, to allow a person born in Montana to come home to hunt with relatives for twice the cost of a resident license, returned to the Legislature with Governor’s proposed amendments to make the license half the cost of a non-resident license instead of twice the cost of a resident license – much more expensive.  Follow sponsor Senator Joe Balyeat’s lead on this.

SB 173, to revise nuisance laws about shooting ranges, sent to the Governor.  We’ve been keeping SB 173 low profile to not cause it to be controversial, but, without SB 173, shooting ranges are exposed to nuisance civil lawsuits over noise complaints.

SB 371, to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana.  The Senate failed to accept House amendments to SB 371.  We’ve asked for appointment of a conference committee to work out House/Senate differences to SB 371.  A few Republican senators are very opposed to the tax breaks contained in SB 371.  A conference committee will likely be appointed today.

SB 402, to provide for Spring wolf hunts, sent to Governor.

SB 414, wolf control act.  Died on Third Reading in the House after a handful of supporting Representatives changed sides between Second Reading and Third Reading.

That’s it for now.

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana

About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
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