The Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA) proved, once again, to be anti-gun and pro-confiscation as they openly opposed HB 258, which would have taken the pressure off of their own members to enforce federal gun control laws.
HB 258, drafted by the Montana Shooting Sports Association, would have prevented local government employees from enforcing federal gun laws, which are expected to increase significantly under a Biden administration.
Montana Daily Gazette has learned that the sticking point in the bill for the MSPOA is the term “violent.” Specifically, the MSPOA wants the term “violent” to be removed when determining which level of a felony can trigger the removal of someone’s firearms. In short, the MSPOA wants the power to remove the firearms of all felons, even for a non-violent process crime.
Not long after the bill was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee, the president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, Gary Marbut, responded to the decision:
HB 258 was tabled primarily because of opposition to the bill by the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA), arguably the most anti-gun organization in Montana’s history. It appears that MSPOA is eager to have its members enforce federal firearm and magazine bans, and much more. This is not a position that is likely to appeal to rank and file law enforcement officers who will be expected to kick in doors and seize outlawed firearms and devices.
Just for the record, MSPOA opposed this bill when the Legislature passed it in 2013, 2015, 2017, and again in 2021. Governor Bullock cited their “concerns” as his excuse when he vetoed this bill three times. – Gary Marbut President, MSSA
When contacted by the Montana Daily Gazette, the founder of the national Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Richard Mack, expressed his displeasure with the decision of the MSPOA. Sheriff Mack will join Jim White of Montana Gazette Radio tomorrow to state his views publicly.
HB 258 failed in committee with a vote of 4-15. Voting for HB 258 were Reps.: Phalen, Lenz, Ler, and Hinkle.
Voting against were Reps.: Regier, Kelker, Carlson, Stromswold, Berglee, Fleming, Stafman, Gillette, Tenenbaum, Bishop, Hawk, Skees, Farris-Olsen, France, and Usher.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding HB 258 is why so many pro-gun conservatives voted no on the bill? As this is being written, Montana Daily Gazette has several calls out to find that answer.