Montana Gun Rights Groups Spar Over Different Opinions of HB102


Why is an ostensibly pro-gun organization casting aspersions at a pro-gun bill?

Pro-Second Amendment groups operating in Montana have vastly different opinons of HB102, sponsored by Seth Berglee (R-Joliet), with numerous groups supporting the bill and a solitary group rejecting it and using their opposition to the bill to fundraise.

The Big Sky Policy Institute describes the bill, “Under the law, those who may legally possess firearms will not need a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed firearm inside the limits of a city or town. Currently, 99.4% of Montana is outside the city limits where concealed carry is already automatically allowed.”

They continue, “Additionally, the bill will invoke ‘campus carry,’ meaning that the Board of Regents and the university system itself aren’t given authority to suspect the Second Amendment on their campuses. The bill does provide a few different ways that university managers may restrict firearms on campus, such as prohibiting their carry at events where alcohol is served or allowed and requiring them to be holstered when on campus.”

“The bill removes almost all restrictions regarding where a concealed weapons permit may be used, excluding prisons and jails, airport terminals (beyond TSA checkpoints) and on private property (should the private property owner wish to disallow firearms).”

According to the Big Sky Policy Institute, it’s the “the latter details – that concealed carry will remain disallowed in prisons, jails, airport terminals, private property (upon the wishes of the property owner) and limitations might apply where alcohol is being served in certain circumstances – is what earned it the ire of the National Association of Gun Rights.”

The National Association of Gun Rights sent out an email lambasting the bill as bad policy (see below).

The NAGR doesn’t take exception with the intentions of HB102, but rather that the bill does not go far enough. The email was cloaked in an appeal to fundraise for the organization, which projects itself as a stand-alone defender of the Second Amendment.

However, Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) took exception with the claim and wrote in an email to supporters, “I want to alert you to a nefarious and opportunistic entity.  The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) has several times in the past claimed sole credit for MSSA’s successes, attempting to raise funds for their founder, Dudley Brown, by pirating our successes.”

Marbut went on, “NAGR has launched a major fundraising campaign claiming that MSSA’s HB 102 has been highjacked by unspecified anti-gun forces and, to rescue it, NAGR is desperate for donations.  That’s a lie, of course.  HB 102 has NOT been highjacked, although NAGR does seem desperate. This lie is all about fundraising for NAGR, its only mission (they only pretend to care about the RKBA because they’ve learned they can get fearful gun owners to part with bucks with a panicky claim that the RKBA sky is falling).”

Without discounting the concerns of the NAGR, the Big Sky Public Policy Institute promoted the passage of HB102 in a memo earlier this morning entitled, “Ignore National Association for Gun Rights: HB102 is Good Policy.”


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