U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- HB102 Passed the Montana Senate on 3 February, 2021, with a strong majority of 29 to 21 votes. The bill is scheduled for debate and a vote in the House on 4 February, 2021. This correspondent expects the bill to pass the House with the Senate amendments, and send the HB102 to Governor Greg Gianforte. Governor Gianforte has been reported as saying he wishes for this bill to be the first bill he signs as Montana’s new Governor. The bill was extensively considered in a previous article.
Reform bills with similar provisions have been repeatedly vetoed by Democrat governors in Montana for 15 years.
The amendments added to HB102 in the Senate are expected to be acceptable to the House. As this correspondent reads the bill they are:
– The effective date for changes to University policies has been changed from on passage to 1 June, 2021.
– A gun-free zone has been added to the university exceptions. It is:
– The same training required for Montana concealed carry permits may be required to carry on campus, either openly or concealed, by university regulation. People must be allowed to carry if they meet the requirements.
– The prohibition on carry in places which serve alcohol has been removed.
Here are the various ways the training requirement may be met, under Montana law. From Statute 45-8-321(3) :
(3) An applicant for a permit under this section must, as a condition to issuance of the permit, be required by the sheriff to demonstrate familiarity with a firearm by:
(a) completion of a hunter education or safety course approved or conducted by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks or a similar agency of another state;
(b) completion of a firearms safety or training course approved or conducted by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks, a similar agency of another state, a national firearms association, a law enforcement agency, an institution of higher education, or an organization that uses instructors certified by a national firearms association;
(c) completion of a law enforcement firearms safety or training course offered to or required of public or private law enforcement personnel and conducted or approved by a law enforcement agency;
(d) possession of a license from another state to carry a firearm, concealed or otherwise, that is granted by that state upon completion of a course described in subsections (3)(a) through (3)(c); or
(e) evidence that the applicant, during military service, was found to be qualified to operate firearms, including handguns.
(4) A photocopy of a certificate of completion of a course described in subsection (3), an affidavit from the entity or instructor that conducted the course attesting to completion of the course, or a copy of any other document that attests to completion of the course and can be verified through contact with the entity or instructor that conducted the course creates a presumption that the applicant has completed a course described in subsection (3).
(5) If the sheriff and applicant agree, the requirement in subsection (3) of demonstrating familiarity with a firearm may be satisfied by the applicant’s passing, to the satisfaction of the sheriff or of any person or entity to which the sheriff delegates authority to give the test, a physical test in which the applicant demonstrates the applicant’s familiarity with a firearm.
As listed, there are several available avenues for those who wish to carry on campus to meet the training requirements, including demonstrating to a sheriff their familiarity with a firearm, if the sheriff agrees.
The bill includes numerous other reforms that Second Amendment supporters have been attempting to pass in Montana for years.
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.