Montana Gov. Gianforte Signs Bill Expanding Big Sky Gun Rights

Second Amendment Supporters Can Make A Major Montana Gain
Montana Gov. Gianforte Signs Bill Expanding Big Sky Gun Rights. iStock-884194872

U.S.A.-( In a clear victory for the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed legislation doing away with so-called “gun-free zones” and expanding places where firearms may be carried, including college and university campuses, and the Capitol in Helena.

MSSA President Gary Marbut, in an exclusive telephone conversation with Ammoland News, said Gianforte’s signature is “pretty significant” in more ways than one. To merely portray this legislation as allowing so-called constitutional carry “misses the mark a bit,” he said.

Marbut was honored in December by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms as the “Grassroots Activist of the Year” for 2020.

The measure includes campus carry, restaurant and bar carry, and for permit holders to carry inside state and local government buildings, and perhaps most importantly of all, the new law takes effect immediately, according to the Helena Independent Record. The exception is campus carry, which becomes effective this summer.

Private property owners still can prohibit firearms on their premises, the newspaper noted. According to a prepared statement from Marbut posted online, “This includes banks, bars, restaurants, stores, and a host of other publicly accessible places that are privately owned. Certainly, any such places will be required to give ‘fair notice’ of any firearms restrictions, usually by posting obvious signs. Some other states have laws such that if a gun carrier should walk past a no-guns sign on private property with a gun, that is a criminal offense. Not so in Montana.”

Marbut detailed the impacts of HB 102 in his lengthy online explanation, which may be read here.

“The general purpose of HB 102,” he stated, “is to eliminate dangerous ‘gun free zones,’ those places where only criminals would be armed because of a government prohibition that only law-abiding gun owners would obey. HB 102 has four major elements:  Permitless carry, campus carry, restaurant and bar carry, and enhancement of existing concealed weapon permits (CWP), plus some minor elements.”

Later, Marbut observes, “Finally, there is no exception in the RKBA at Article II, Section 12 (of the Montana Constitution) for local governments to restrict this right, and no exception for the university system or the Board of Regents to restrict this right.”

For Marbut, it’s time to catch his breath. He has worked on this project for “six or eight years,” he recalled.

For Gov. Gianforte, it’s fulfillment and unlike his Democrat predecessors, he minced no words about telling the difference between the good guys and bad guys.

“Gun control measures don’t prevent criminals from perpetuating violence or crime. Gun control measures step on the rights of law abiding citizens,” the governor said during the signing ceremony.

Quoted by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Gov. Gianforte added, “And our Second Amendment is very clear: ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ Every law-abiding Montanan should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

Gianforte is the first Republican to sit in the Montana governor’s office in 16 years, a fact that undoubtedly played a role in seeing HB 102 become law. Previously, then-Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed “several gun-related measures,” the Helena newspaper recalled.

The legislation was sponsored by State Rep. Seth Berglee (R-Joliet). It passed through the legislature almost entirely along party lines, a fact not lost on increasingly conservative Big Sky Country voters.

At the signing ceremony, as reported by the Daily Chronicle, Berglee observed, “The idea of self-defense has been a pillar in our society since even before the founding of our country. It’s a right that’s given by God and granted in the constitution. It’s my pleasure to bring House Bill 102, recognizing that the citizens of Montana have the ability to defend themselves, and I trust them with that responsibility.”

Montana’s Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen also supported HB 102, newspapers said. He issued a statement lauding the bill.

“At a time when the president is calling for state-level gun registries, strong legislation affirming Montanans’ gun rights is more important than ever,” Knudsen said. “No bill in the last 20 years has done more to protect our fundamental right to keep and bear arms than Representative Seth Berglee’s bill that was signed into law today.”

The U.S. Concealed Carry Association issued a statement after the legislation was signed, applauding Gov. Gianforte.

“Every American should be able to defend themselves and their families at all times and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association applauds Governor Gianforte for signing this important legislation into law,” said USCCA founder and President Tim Schmidt. “It will help and support the growing number of Montanans who choose to exercise their natural born right to self-protection.

“With millions of new gun owners throughout the U.S.,” Schmidt added, “this bill is also a friendly reminder for all of them to have the proper training and education necessary to be a responsible self-protector – even if the law does not require it.  Owning and carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility and safety should always be the number one priority.”

The legislation had opponents, including “Educators, gun owners, bankers, and law enforcement officials,” according to a statement from Democratic House Minority Leader Kim Abbott that was quoted by the Independent Record.

Abbott claimed the measure “makes our communities and our campuses less safe.” It’s an argument gun control proponents use when opposing virtually any firearms freedom legislation.

Marbut told Ammoland there is still work to do on gun rights. He hinted at some of this in his online discussion, but for now, Montana gun owners have a significant victory they can celebrate.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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Finally some “common sense” gun reform i can stand behind. This is a model for other states to follow. Red states need to continue purging rabid socialists THE F#% OUT!! We nearly lost Montana to the dimms, and many other states are at risk. Can’t keep playing nice with these assholes.


Three cheers for Gianforte, the representatives, and the organizations who put this bill together and passed it. Gun Free Zones = killing fields.


Here comes a good part! Slapping down the college regents, this is new: 6] (2) The schools and the Montana university system [were] WAS created and [are] IS controlled by the 7] Montana constitution and the land and buildings occupied by schools and the university system are public 8] property and not private property and are therefore clearly government entities. 9] (3) Any significant prohibition upon the possession of firearms at or on the various campuses of the 10] Montana university system calls into question the rights that the people have reserved to protect themselves 11] from government interference under… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Keyboard-Junkie

Let’s pray the dimms do not perpetrate another false flag “mass shooting” event. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it happen in Missoula or Bozeman. This move by the MT Gov’t has to piss off the commies big time.

Elisa Delaurenti

Thanks for mentioning the people and the organization that actually wrote the bill and worked so hard to get it passed and enacted here, Dave. Every time we get something passed here in Montana, we see the usual culprits posting about our work to claim credit for fundraising purposes. The MSSA needs the help of Montana’s gun owners. National organizations provide NOTHING to the MSSA to get these bills written and passed here. Politics is, indeed, local. PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL 2A ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION. It’s the local, in-State organizations getting this work done, and the MSSA is the ONLY 2A… Read more »

Elisa Delaurenti

I’ve been reading your work since before I met you in 2009. That is why I thanked you for it here.

Elisa Delaurenti

Indeed, that was a fun rally. Jim was a good man, and he is missed by so many in the 2A advocacy arena.


“….HB 102,” he stated, “is to eliminate dangerous ‘gun free zones,’ those places where only criminals would be armed because of a government prohibition that only law-abiding gun owners would obey.” A politician with a law never stops a bad guy with a gun. He only controls the good guys, which is his true agenda. In 1958. the late Col Jeff Cooper, handgun expert and founder of Gunsite Academy, stated, “Killing is a matter of will, not weapons. You cannot control the act itself by passing laws about the means employed.” The bad guy with a gun…..or the mentally deficient… Read more »


“It’s a right that’s given by God and granted in the constitution.”

First part right (Declaration of Independence text).

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,”

Second part wrong (US v Cruikshank — 1876)

“The right there specified is that of “bearing arms for a lawful purpose.” This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”


Agreed…..but the man said “granted”, not “guaranteed” !


Yeah, public speaking can be a b*. Cut him a break. At least he isn’t saying “neagar” and “truinnerashuvaduprezure.”