Montana Speaker of the House Appeals Missoula Gun Ordinance To Attorney General
Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives, Austin Knudsen released the following statement just after midnight on Wednesday, September 28.
‘Tonight, the Missoula city council passed a city ordinance requiring all firearm transfers within the city be subject to a background check, even private transfers between individuals.
This new ordinance is in direct violation of Montana Code Annotated section 45-8-351 (2015), which states a local government may not restrict or regulate the purchase, sale, or transfer of any firearm. It is also in violation of Article II, Sec. 12 of the Montana Constitution, as well as the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution.
As the Speaker of the Montana House, I will be exercising my power to request a legal opinion on this new Missoula city ordinance from Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.’
From the beginning, critics of the registration ordinance have claimed it violates state law,
, Fox released the following statement:
“Contrary to the opinion of the City Attorney, whom I respect, I believe that Missoula’s proposed gun control ordinance is prohibited by state law and likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
Additionally, Montana Senator Steve Daines and U.S. House Representative Ryan Zinke released this statement;
“We write to express our strong concerns with the Missoula City Council Public Safety and Health Committee’s substantial intrusion into the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners through its proposed expansion of regulations on private firearm transfers,” Daines and Zinke wrote. “While we value local decision making, it is essential that policies at every level of government uphold the rights granted to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution. Therefore we feel obligated on this rare occasion to express our opposition to the misguided ordinance, which would create unnecessary burdens on law-abiding Montanans while proving ineffective in preventing violent crime.”
Proponents have claimed that the ordinance would not violate existing state statutes,