MEA-MFT strongly opposes SB 143. Can you imagine a Cat-Griz game where fans have guns?
House panel endorses bill allowing guns on campuses
IR STATE BUREAU – MARCH 12, 2015
The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 Wednesday to pass and send to the House floor for debate a bill to allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns on state university campuses.
Eleven Republicans on the committee voted for Senate Bill 143, by Sen. Cary Smith, R-Billings. All nine Democrats, joined by Rep. Bruce Meyers, R-Box Elder, opposed it.
The original bill allowed for both the concealed carry of weapons and open carry, which is a gun holstered on a hip. However, the committee amended the bill to limit it to concealed carry.
Under state law, any Montanan who is 18 years old, has a photo identification card, has passed a hunter safety course and has no criminal record can obtain a concealed carry permit.
Smith has said the bill is partly in response to assaults on campuses nationally. Giving students and faculty the right to carry guns on campus would prevent some these assaults, he said.
“When you have the ability to stop one of these mass murders quickly, you have the ability to stop the carnage,” he said at the hearing Tuesday.
The Montana university system has opposed the bill, saying it would make Montana the first and only state in the nation to allow unrestricted firearms carry on campuses by students under the age of 21.
“The position of the university system is that our campuses are already safe places that will not become safer through the introduction of guns on campus,” Kevin McRae, a deputy commissioner of higher education, said Wednesday.
Two years ago, the Legislature passed a similar law, which was vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock.