MSSA Reminds Montanans of Their Gun Rights, Even During a Declared Emergency


Gary Marbut, the president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), wrote an open letter Monday evening to Governor Steve Bullock, politely reminding him to ensure gun rights for Montanans during the Wuhan Virus emergency. Bullock has been hostile to gun rights in the past. Additionally, during Bullock’s ill-fated presidential campaign, he advocated for several gun control measures that would be considered draconian by most Montanans.

Marbut addressed his letter directly to Governor Bullock and wrote, “There is considerable debate nationally about whether retail outlets that sell guns and ammo should be allowed to remain open during the coronavirus emergency.  In some places, governors and mayors have mandated that gun stores must close.”

He continued, “This places you in an interesting situation. You are Montana’s Governor. You are also a candidate for one of Montana’s two seats in the U.S. Senate. You have told Montanans that you support the Second Amendment and the Montana Constitution, which place firearms beyond the reach of government regulation. But, you have vetoed all important pro-gun bills sent to you by the Legislature since you were first elected as Governor.”

Marbut added, “You say you support the Second Amendment, but when you fancied yourself a candidate for President you told a national audience that you wish to ban popular firearms and accessories,” before reminding him that gun stores should be legally considered “essential” and not “non-essential” business.

MSSA also issued a reminder to citizens via email that Montana is a “shall-issue” state for concealed carry permits and that there is no caveat in the law for times of emergency. Regardless of whether or not sheriff’s departments would like to postpone licensing conceal carry holders, they must do their legal duty and issue permits as requested.

Marbut wrote, “I hear reports that some sheriffs offices in Montana have suspended applications for concealed weapon permits, and for renewals. This is said to be done to assist the SO in addressing manpower and health issues while the coronavirus issue is being addressed.”

He went on, “Yes, suspension of CWP applications is in conflict with Montana law. The law says at 45-8-322(1), ‘The application form must be readily available at the sheriff’s office …’  Plus, 45-8-321(1) says, ‘A county sheriff shall, within 60 days after the filing of an application, issue a permit to carry a concealed weapon to the applicant.”


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