Helena Youth Against Gun Violence contribute ideas to Montana child access prevention bill by Charles Yeganian

The students began researching the issues and talking to community members about their ideas. Local lawmakers gave them advice on the legislative process. Eventually, Rep. Moffie Funk, a Helena Democrat, connected them with a legislative bill drafter.

The students’ ideas developed into HB 477. It would create a new criminal offense of “leaving a firearm accessible to a child.” A person could be fined up to $1,000 if they left a gun unsecured, a child got it and fired it, and it caused death or serious injury to the child or another person.

“Securing” a gun for the purposes of the law could include putting it in a locked container, The law would not apply if a child was using a gun to hunt, for sport or for other legal purposes while under adult supervision, or for self-defense.

HB 477 was introduced on the anniversary of the Parkland shootings and assigned to the Judiciary Committee. LEAP Forward is grading this bill and scoring support.

Missoula (MT) Bans Firearms in Public Places, at Electoral Events by Charles Yeganian

From Cheryl Hinneburg, American Military News:

On Monday, Montana’s Missoula City Council banned all firearms in public places when they approved two new laws.

The two laws will ban anyone from possessing a firearm in public assemblies or anywhere that the City Council may gather. This will include places like museums, public parks, libraries, and during any events that are related to elections.

The laws supersede previous laws that only banned weapons in City Hall and private school buildings. The final vote was 8-3.

From Eve Byron, The Missoulian:

Council member Julie Merritt proposed the changes in September as both an emergency amendment and an update to an existing city ordinance after concerns were raised about open and concealed carrying of weapons in polling places. Weapons aren’t allowed in schools, where many polling places are. But there are also voting sites that are not school based.

"It was brought to our attention that the county attorneys office fields quite a few questions from the public about concealed carry in certain places, including polling places," Merritt said.

She wanted to clarify and expand the ordinance to include polling places as well as other public places. The emergency amendment route was needed in order to have the ordinance in place by the Nov. 6 election.