After a vote of 28-21 in the state Senate on Wednesday, March 13, Montana is moving toward being the first state in the country to approve a bill prohibiting the enforcement of a potential federal ban on semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines within its borders. The bill, HB 302, also calls for criminal penalties for any employee, official, or officer of either local or state government who enforces such a measure within Montana.
“I view this bill basically as pushback to the discussion in Washington, D.C.,” said state Sen. Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls). “It has come to the point where the people are saying enough is enough,” Fielder told the Missoulian.
House Bill 302, the “Montana Federal Semiautomatic Firearm and Large Magazine Ban Enforcement Prohibition Act,” passed the state House 56-42 on February 22. Because the original bill was amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee, both legislative chambers need to reconcile the two versions of the bill.
Once reconciled, the bill will be sent to the desk of Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat. The governor has not taken a public position on the bill, which now awaits either his signature or veto. If Bullock signs the bill, Montana will be the first state to have officially nullified federal gun control, since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, last year.
On its website, the Tenth Amendment Center encourages residents of Montana to e-mail Governor Bullock or call him locally at 406-444-3111 or toll-free at 855-318-1330, to encourage him to sign HB 302.
The key portion of HB 302 reads:
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Image: Montana Capitol building in Helena with beautiful big blue sky via Shutterstock