July 04, 2006

Me Like

MSSA is Montana's pro-gun org. So there will be no confusion with the NRA I offer you this bill that the MSSA is supporting for Montana. Let's see the NRA get behind something like this.

The bill in question covers self defense with no duty to retreat, self defense as an exception to "brandishing", recovering attorney's fees upon acquittal, proscribing the destruction of police department owned firearms & a few other topics.

Here's something of interest concerning law enforcement seizure of firearms:

" NEW SECTION. Section 6. Conditions for seizure of firearm -- return of seized firearm. (1) A peace officer may seize a legally possessed firearm only:

(a) at an incident in which a firearm is present and a peace officer on the scene has probable cause to believe that the firearm was used to commit a crime. However, the peace officer may take only that firearm and no other into temporary custody, for up to 2 hours, to secure the safety of persons at the scene. If an arrest is not made, the firearm must be returned to the person from whom it was seized or to the rightful owner if that is determined to be another person no later than the end of the 2-hour custody period."

It gets better:

" (3) A person from whom a firearm is seized or kept in a manner that is not consistent with this section may compel the return of the firearm by demanding the return in writing, without regard to the form of the writing, delivered to a representative of the law enforcement agency that initially seized the firearm. The demand must be honored within 24 hours. This process does not require an order of any court in order to be effective..." (emphasis added)

So if your firearm is siezed you can write the words "Gimme my damn gun back you statist idget" in crayon on a piece of toilet paper & it must be honored.

I really dig the way they think up there. :)

But there's more. This deals with a change to the current concealed weapon law:

"45-8-316. Carrying concealed weapons. (1) Every A person who carries or bears concealed upon his the person just prior to using it to commit a criminal offense a dirk, dagger, pistol, revolver, slingshot, sword cane, billy, knuckles made of any metal or hard substance, knife having a blade 4 inches long or longer, razor, not including a safety razor, or other deadly weapon shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.

(2) A person who has previously been convicted of an offense, committed on a different occasion than the offense under this section, in this state or any other jurisdiction for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of 1 year could have been imposed and who carries or bears concealed upon his the person just prior to using it to commit a criminal offense any of the weapons described in subsection (1) shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisoned in the state prison for a period not exceeding 5 years, or both."

In effect that would make concealed carry a crime only when it involves another crime, like robbing a bank. In other words as long as you don't plan on role playing The James gang you wouldn't need a permit to caryr concealed (if I'm reading Montana law correctly).

& here's how the NRA should have handled the guns in workplace issue:

"NEW SECTION. Section 9. Employer prohibition of means of self-defense. (1) An employer who as a condition of employment prohibits an employee from possessing the means of defending the employee in the workplace, including the possession of firearms, shall provide a level of security and safety for the employee equal to that which the employee could have provided without the prohibition. An employer who violates this requirement is liable for injury to the employee caused by a criminal act against the employee at the workplace if the injury would not have occurred but for the employer's prohibition. This subsection does not apply to an employee of the government of the United States or of a school district of this state."

Of course exempting federal employees & teachers is not a good idea as post offices & schools have been the sites of some of the worst mass shootings, but this seems like a good start. That section is followed with a less desirable action, one which prohibits employers from prohibiting arms in employee vehicles parked on the employers property. But on the whole this is the best piece of pro-gun legislation on a statewide level I've seen in some time.

Give it a good going over & do let me know if you've seen anything better. & think about joining the MSSA even if you're not in Montana. Odds are they'll do your soul more good than sending cash in to the state NRA affiliate whose biggest desire is to make a 4 year permit last for 5 years.

Posted by Publicola at July 4, 2006 03:33 AM | TrackBack

It's a great bill and all, but the state legislature's web site shows it as "probably dead". And IMHO, I doubt that any state could pass such a liberal (in the old sense) gun law these days.

It illustrates the question that most gun-rights supporters face: do you hold fast and ask for everything you want - and risk getting nothing, or do you compromise your stance to improve the chances of getting something - and risk getting nothing worthwhile?

There's no easy answers there, I think.

Posted by: Cliff S. at July 4, 2006 09:48 PM

Why is it a bad idea to not allow the banning of firearms in the parking lot?

Sure, now the employers are liable for employee safety at work. But being disarmed to and from work still sucks.

Posted by: Roughedge at July 4, 2006 09:51 PM

FYI: It has always been legal to carry a concealed weapon (without a permit) in Montana outside of cities, towns, mining camps, railroad camps, etc. The last, best place!

Posted by: Jeff Showell at July 5, 2006 06:29 AM

private property. If you wish to ban arms on your property or to require them then the state has no business telling you otherwise. Telling you you have to let someone else pack on your property is just as bad as telling you that you cannot let someone pack on your property.

Sure it sucks to work for someone who denies you the means of self defense, but trampling on his/her property rights is not the best way to correct the situation. & in the long run giving power to the state to say yea or nay in such matters is a bad idea.

Posted by: Publicola at July 7, 2006 03:29 PM
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