Missoula, MT –-(Ammoland.com)- HB 384 will have its public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, 2/8. HB 384 is MSSA's bill to clarify that firearms locked in student vehicles in school parking lots do not subject a student to a mandatory one-year expulsion from school.
In the last 15 years or so, there have been 450 Montana kids expelled from school for “bringing a gun to school.” A few of them deserved expulsion, but a large majority of them simply forgot to remove a hunting rifle from their vehicle after a weekend hunt before returning to school.
Overpaid/under-informed school superintendents routinely tell school boards that the school board has no choice but to expel the student. They tell the board a one-year expulsion is mandatory under federal law. Either those superintendents lie, or they're so badly informed they aren't worth their high salaries. The federal “Gun Free Schools” law very specifically excludes firearms locked in vehicles in school parking lots from its effect.
Meanwhile, most of these 450 kids have had their lives derailed. Bye, bye college. Imagine a kid trying to explain to a college admission committee, or a scholarship committee, how they'd been expelled for a year for “bringing a gun to school.”
HB 384 would make it crystal clear that local school boards have full discretion – full local control – how they handle these situations. They will no longer be railroaded by imagined or invented federal laws. HB 384 will also make a few other tweaks in the law to give kids a break (innocent until proven guilty) and give school boards further discretion in dealing appropriately with kids in their schools – good kids who forget, and bad kids who actually do something dangerous or threatening.
If this is an important issue to you, show up. House Judiciary convenes at 8 AM in the Capitol in Helena. If you can't be there, send messages to House Judiciary Committee members. Ask them to please support HB 384. To get messages to committee members, see my advice at:
Best wishes,Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
author, Gun Laws of Montana
About Montana Shooting Sports Association:
MSSA is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org