U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Montana is on track to become the 17th state to restore Constitutional Carry. It will probably do so in 2021. Constitutional Carry means most people can carry, concealed or openly, most of the time in most public places, without any special governmental permission or permit. It was the state of affairs in the young United States when the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791.
In 2020, Republican Greg Gianforte won the race for Governor in Montana. Greg is the first Montanan Republican governor since 2005.
Greg won with 54.4% of the vote to his Democrat challenger's 41.6%.
The former governor, Democrat Steve Bullock, was defeated in his attempt to win a Senate seat in Montana, with 53% to 47% of the vote.
President Donald Trump received 56.9% of the vote to Candidate Biden's 40.6% of the vote.
Democrat governors in Montana have vetoed Constitutional Carry three times, after it passed the legislature with hefty margins. Montana has Constitutional Carry for 99% of the state, in areas outside of town and city limits. But towns and city limits are where many people spend most of their time.
In 2011, Democrat governor Brian Schweitzer vetoed Constitutional Carry bill HB 271. The legislature did not override the veto.
In 2015, Democrat governor Steve Bullock vetoed Constitutional Carry bill HB 298.
In 2017, Governor Bullock vetoed Constitutional Carry bill HB 262. Governor Bullock made a statement on Second Amendment rights. The statement was on the Governor's web site. That page no longer exists. Here is the statement:
As a lifelong gun owner and as Montana’s former top cop, Steve Bullock is a staunch supporter of our Second Amendment rights and fights for the right of all law-abiding citizens to own and responsibly use guns.
No right to carry guns or mention of the right to self-defense was included.
In 2017, there were 32 Republicans and 17 Democrats in the Senate. There were 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats in the House. The vote for Constitutional Carry was 31 in the Senate and 60 in the House.
In 2021, there will be a Republican majority Senate and House. There will be 67 Republicans of 100 House members, and 31 Republicans of 50 Senate members. There was an incredible 80.91% turnout of registered voters. From charkoosta.com:
According to uncertified vote counts from the Montana Secretary of State’s office, Republicans picked up nine legislative seats in the Montana House and one in the Montana Senate — enough to expand their majorities to 67 of 100 House seats and 31 of 50 Senate seats. Going into the 2021 session, the Republican majority in the House will be sufficient to override a governor’s veto or to pass measures that require a two-thirds majority without winning Democratic votes.
It is hard to see a reason for the Montana legislature to fail in a fourth attempt to pass Constitutional Carry, this time in 2021.
I talked with Gary Marbut, the powerhouse in Montana on issues impacting the right to keep and bear arms. Gary has arguably been the most influential Montana citizen on these issues since 1987. He founded the Montana Shooting Sports Association. (MSSA) when the local NRA affiliate seemed unwilling to make waves.
He and the MSSA have been responsible for the passage of 68 pro-gun and pro-hunting bills passed in Montana.
The flagship bill Gary and the MSSA intends to introduce in 2021 will focus on eliminating gun-free zones. It will also remove carry restrictions.
Gary prefers the term “permitless carry” to Constitutional Carry. Permitless carry will be part of the flagship bill.
I asked Gary what the chances of passing the flagship bill with permitless carry. He said:
“Excellent. We've gotten permitless carry through the legislature three times. We have a new governor who is a gun guy.”
Montana is on track to become the 17th Constitutional Carry state in 2021.
It happens, over a third of the states in the Union will have Constitutional Carry, or permitless carry, if you prefer.
Other states which have a favorable climate for Constitutional Carry in 2021 are Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
The Covid 19 lockdowns appear to have slowed legislative activity in 2020.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.