Constitutional carry is now the law of the land in Big Sky Country.
Law-abiding citizens will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public under House Bill 102, signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte last month.
“Our Second Amendment is very clear: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” Gianforte said at the bill’s signing ceremony. “Every law-abiding Montanan should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones.”
Specifically, HB 102 allows citizens to carry everywhere with a few exceptions: secure law enforcement facilities, federal buildings, courtrooms, and K-12 schools. Private property owners and businesses can still ban guns in their homes and work places.
Along with making permit-less carry the norm, the new law prohibits the state university system from banning firearm possession on campuses provided the gun owner has safety training and transports the firearm in a case with a gun lock.
Universities still retain some discretion in that they can deny certain students disciplined for substance abuse or “interpersonal violence,” from possessing firearms. They can also prohibit guns at sporting events where armed guards are present.
“Criminals don’t care about safe zones or gun free zones. Gun control measures don’t prevent criminals from perpetuating violence and other crime. Gun control measures step on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Gianforte said.
The National Rifle Association was quick to applaud Montana for joining the growing list of states (17 and counting!) recognizing one’s right to keep and bear arms as our founding fathers and framers intended.
“On behalf of the NRA’s more than five-million members, we thank Gov. Gianforte for his leadership in recognizing the right of law-abiding Montanans to defend themselves and their loved ones without being required to seek government permission,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA.
“The NRA will continue standing up and stepping forward to protect and preserve our most basic, fundamental freedoms here in Montana and across the United States,” he continued.
The Crime Prevention Research Center estimates that in 2020, as many as 19.48 million Americans have obtained a permit to carry a concealed firearm. That’s a 34 percent jump from 2016.
As everyday carry becomes more popular and mainstream, perhaps, too, will the notion that one shouldn’t need government permission to exercise a fundamental right.