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A Missoula County District Court judge has denied Attorney General Tim Fox’s request to reopen a lawsuit over the City of Missoula’s gun regulations.

It’s the latest step in a dispute between the city and Attorney General’s Office over a 2016 ordinance that required background checks for all gun sales within city limits, including those between private parties. Fox issued an opinion voiding it, arguing that local governments lacked the authority to restrict gun transfers.

That drew a lawsuit from the city. Earlier this month, Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps ruled in favor of Missoula, writing that by “invalidating the City of Missoula's Ordinance, the Attorney General's opinion deprives Missoula of its own authority.”

Then, on Oct. 15, Fox asked Deschamps to reopen the case, arguing that he had ruled before his team could conclude their arguments.

On Thursday, the judge denied Fox’s motion, writing that “the Court had all the legal authority it required in rendering its decision. … In his current motion, the Attorney General concedes this point and offers nothing new that would change the Court’s opinion.”

John Barnes, director of communications for the Attorney General's Office, said that it will soon appeal the case to the Montana Supreme Court.

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