Montana Senate panel takes up pro-gun measures passed by House

2013-03-06T13:46:00Z 2013-03-18T12:31:37Z Montana Senate panel takes up pro-gun measures passed by HouseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 06, 2013 1:46 pm  • 

HELENA – A pair of pro-gun measures approved by the Montana House hit the Senate on Wednesday, including one that would prohibit local authorities from enforcing any federal ban on semi-automatic weapons.

That bill and another to allow hunters to use silencers or sound suppressors on firearms received a favorable reception among members of the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee, though the panel did not take immediate action on either bill.

House Bill 302 would not only prohibit local law enforcement officials from enforcing a potential federal ban on semi-automatic weapons, it would also require county attorneys to prosecute those who do.

“Not only is it our right to do this, it is our obligation to do so,” said Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, who sponsored both measures.

Supporters say the state has the right to set limits on local law enforcement and the bill sends a message to the federal government to stop meddling in gun ownership.

The bill is opposed by law enforcement officials, who call the measure a knee-jerk reaction to a potential federal ban that could lead to criminalizing officers for enforcing federal law.

Opponents also said it was potentially dangerous to allow citizens to force the county attorney’s office to prosecute police who enforce a federal ban.

During floor debates in the House last month, some Democrats argued some of the “extreme” measures unconstitutionally attempt to trump federal law.

The state lawmakers’ hearing took place the day before a U.S. Senate committee was scheduled to take up four measures related to gun control, including a proposal to ban assault weapons and magazines carrying more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Those bans face long odds of winning approval by the full U.S. Senate.

The Montana committee on Wednesday also considered House Bill 205, the measure allowing hunters to use silencers or sound suppressors on their weapons.

The bill’s supporters say that hunters need the suppressor to protect their hearing and legalizing the use of suppressors won’t affect poaching, but opponents argue the bill opens the door to illegal poaching and trespassing on private property while hunting.

Sen. Chas Vincent, R-Libby, said the bills are likely to be approved by the committee after amendments, and he predicted a favorable reception by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The state House Judiciary Committee will consider two pro-gun Senate bills Thursday, including Senate Bill 133 that will allow a public defender to carry a concealed weapon. Another pro-gun measure, Senate Bill 145, would require that all information on concealed weapon permits be confidential.

Another gun bill that will face the Senate includes House Bill 303 that would make the sheriff the supreme law of the land and would require federal agents to get the sheriff’s permission before regulating federal mandates.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. tired of spin
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    tired of spin - March 07, 2013 11:18 am
    Yep, would guess the usually dumbed down and backward southern states now worry that MT will take their place, got to wonder why anyone votes for the clowns pulling this stuff as nra tells them. Can just see how thrilled land owners are over finding guy with silenced gun on their land, same for fish and game. It is so obviously stupid that anyone should be able to understand nra templated to sell more of the these thing, but to say "keep huneters from damaging ears", what are they armed with 350Rd drum mags? Note NO ONE has yet replied they found hunter complaining about "noise" or ever met one wearing ear plugs.
  2. Amabo
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    Amabo - March 07, 2013 9:33 am
    The right-wingers continue to run around passing legislation that makes Montanans look like idiots to the rest of the country... Why? Because we ARE idiots to allow such blatantly stupid legislation to even be CONSIDERED, let alone passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. tired of spin
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    tired of spin - March 07, 2013 8:41 am
    Well the silencer Bill is just another of the NRA central that is distributed to those legislators owned by nra. Basis for it is simply an insult to the gun owners and hunters as "it will protect hunters ears". Now has ANYONE EVER seen or heard a hunter wearing ear plugs or EVER heard of hunter complaining about "all that noise when I shoot while hunting"? I have not yet met a land owner that favors this nra mfg profits Bill, nor has much thought gone into just how stupid it makes hunters look like or how gun owners appear to be lemming like and must support anything nra sponsors (for more profits for mfgs).
    Want to think of really serious issue, Hows about some nut case out there that gets hold of AR or AK, 30rd mags and silencer, care to guess headlines on that one? This just a case of a bought and paid for legislator making states look like idots to "save hunters hearing". Give 20 to 1 odds that next nra move will be to "get states to issue silencer licenses, not feds"
    This is just example of how nra central sends templates Bills to each state and their sheep push them through. About last thing we need in woods is silenced riflles, but do need silencers on those in legislator as they insult hunters while bought by nra, simply bad law for everyone except poachers and first nut case that gets hold of silenced rifle.
    As for other Bill. simply more grandstanding by idiots who think that will get them votes from those with single digit IQs and in end this, another subtle nra move, templates, will cost MT money to try to again defend the indefensibly dumb. We really need to elect more sane folks and toss out the grandstander's and their snake oil legislation.
  4. Sukey
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    Sukey - March 07, 2013 5:01 am
    No to silencers, its just so poachers are harder to detect on your property.
  5. OhMT
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    OhMT - March 06, 2013 6:06 pm
    Yes to both.

    Alan, the first is unconstitutional? I think you are confused. The Federal ban would be unconstitutional.

    Mark, you are just a lost cause. What does the fact that you own multiple weapons have to do with anything?
  6. Mark
    Report Abuse
    Mark - March 06, 2013 2:36 pm
    No to both and I own multiple weapons
  7. Alan Johnson
    Report Abuse
    Alan Johnson - March 06, 2013 2:14 pm
    No to the first bill. Unconstitutional nonsense on its face.

    But silencers or suppressors should be allowed. I see no good reason not to allow them.
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