Montana University System to Consider Gun Policy Proposal

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MISSOULA (AP) – A committee of the Montana University System’s Board of Regents has received comments on recently passed legislation regarding the concealed carrying of firearms on state college campuses.

The Board of Regents’ Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee held a meeting Wednesday to seek public comment on its proposed policy to implement the new law, which allows students who pass certification of carrying concealed firearms without a license, the Missoulian reported on Wednesday.

The law removes the ability of the board of regents to enforce restrictions on carried firearms on Montana campuses. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill in February. It was in effect immediately statewide, but will go into effect for college campuses on June 1.

About 600 people attended the meeting virtually, and about 75 people commented on the legislation, including faculty and staff, students, parents and community members.

Lindy Kolb, a resident worker and student at Montana State University, said she was opposed to the draft policy, referring to times when she felt intimidated or threatened by residents.

“Guns are tools, but so are hot plates, and we don’t allow these in residences for safety reasons,” Kolb said.

Many opponents of the bill have urged the board to take legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the bill.

The state constitution states that the Board of Regents “shall have full powers, responsibility and authority to oversee, coordinate, manage and control the Montana university system.” The bill was accompanied by a legal note pointing out this concern.

However, the university system could lose $ 1 million to implement the bill if the board of directors files a lawsuit against the legislation because of a contingency, the Missoulian reported.

“Please don’t let today set a precedent for the future that the legislature can overstep your authority as it sees fit,” said University of Montana associate student president Noah Durnell, urging the regents to continue the prosecution.

Montana State University student Kagan Parm said he believes he will not fulfill his responsibility as a student and citizen if he does not express support for the policy inspired by the new law.

“The fear campaign that is happening in this forum is disheartening to say the least. Speaking as if moving forward with this policy results in our campuses turning into a suicidal sect or a former shooting range of the west is dishonest and emotionally manipulative, ”Parm said.


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