The Missoulian believes that the City of Missoula should be allowed to enact gun control ordinances notwithstanding the Montana and U.S. constitutions' reservation of the right to keep and bear arms to individual people (Missoulian editorial, May 16). The particular gun control ordinance the Missoulian supports under this "laboratory of democracy" theory requires that individuals seek and obtain prior government approval before they may legally transfer a firearm.

Given this Missoulian position, one supposes that the Missoulian would also support a Missoula ordinance requiring prior government approval before publishing an editorial or news story, despite the freedom of the press mentioned in our constitutions.

There are many good reasons for such an ordinance. Dangerous people and activities can be inflamed by irresponsible media. It could save lives, maybe even children's lives, if a committee of the city council had a week to ponder the content of an editorial or news story before granting or withholding permission for publication.

I would oppose such an ordinance as a violation of reserved constitutional rights, but it appears that the Missoulian has tacitly agreed to step out onto that slippery slope with its poorly considered support for local gun control.

Good luck with your First Amendment, Missoulian.

Gary Marbut,

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