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HELENA – The Montana House has endorsed proposals to restrict concealed weapons in public buildings and bars, while allowing firearms on college campuses.

Representatives voted Friday 56-44 to allow students to keep guns on college campuses.

Supporters say House Bill 240 would ensure students’ speech and other constitutional rights.

The bill must pass a final House vote before moving to the Senate.

The House voted down a separate measure by Rep. Krayton Kerns that would have allowed individuals with a permit to carry concealed firearms in government buildings, banks and bars, all currently restricted locations.

The Laurel Republican says business owners would have the option of restricting concealed weapons on the premises.

Lawmakers opposing the bill citing safety concerns for public employees and bar patrons.

The bill failed 48-52.

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