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Public Hearing, October 19th, Missoula

Missoula City Council
Proposed Ordinance to
Ban Private Transfer of Firearms

Public Hearing, October 19th, 7 PM, Missoula City Hall.

What You Must Do – SHOW UP, be heard

Who: You
What: Public hearing
Why: Participation
Where: Missoula City Hall
When: 10/19; 7PM

More detail: The Missoula City Council will hold public hearings on three proposed ordinances on the evening of October 19th, including the proposed ordinance to prohibit transfers of firearms inside Missoula city limits unless that transfer is accomplished through a federally licensed dealer, including a federal background check on the buyer. Proponents say this will “reduce gun violence” and make Missoula safer.

Be prepared to offer comment at the public hearing. This means going to the microphone during the public comments portion of the process.

The process: First the sponsor will introduce the proposed ordinance. Then “official” proponents (NYC mayor/billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s minions, etc.) will be given ten minutes to state their case. Then “official” opponents (NRA, MSSA, WCSM, etc.) will be given ten minutes. Then the public hearing will be opened up for comments from the public. This is when you should go to the microphone.

What to say: At the microphone you should first introduce yourself. The Mayor will probably chair the meeting, so your introduction should be something like this: “Mr. Mayor, members of the City Council, my name is Joe Blow.” If you represent any group, say so, such as, “I’m here this evening representing 700 members of the Southside Anglers Club.” Then, you should state your position on the proposed ordinance, such as “I oppose this proposed ordinance.”

Then, state a reason or two for your opposition. You should take NO MORE than TWO MINUTES at the microphone. Less will be appreciated by Council members. You should not repeat what previous commentors have said, if possible. Certainly say you agree with previous opponents to the ordinance, if you do. Council members will pay more attention to what you say if you don’t read prepared testimony, but rather speak directly to council members, letting your eye contact and attention rove among them as you speak.

DO NOT raise your voice, threaten in any way, or use bad language!

If you are reluctant to speak in public, you may just go to the microphone, introduce yourself, say you oppose the ordinance, and then return to your seat. If doing even that makes you uncomfortable, there may be some protest-type gathering on the sidewalk outside City Hall. You could hang out with those folks.

What to address: Pick a couple of these reasons why the proposed ordinance is a bad idea, or come up with your own:

1. The ordinance violates state law at 45-8-351. Therefore, it will be stricken by the courts, if enacted, and will only waste Missoula taxpayers’ money defending against the inevitable lawsuit filed to challenge the ordinance.

2. There is no demonstrated problem in Missoula that the ordinance would solve.

3. It will be too easy for the targeted individuals to not comply with the ordinance. They will only need to travel a mile or so to outside city limits, or simply ignore the ordinance. Therefore, compliance will be minimal. Therefore, the ordinance will only affect or inconvenience law-abiding citizens.

4. The recent Oregon college shooter passed exactly the background check the ordinance would require. How much good did that do?

5. Bad people usually don’t get guns by buying them. They steal them.

6. The ordinance would so hamper normal activity at historic Missoula gun shows that it would effectively end gun shows here, a recurring activity that traditionally brings millions of dollars into the Missoula community. This ordinance would work against general efforts at economic development for Missoula.

7. It is already illegal under federal law for the individuals the ordinance proponents would like to affect to possess firearms – felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, minors, and illegal aliens. It’s hard to imagine how layering a local misdemeanor penalty onto an existing federal felony will impress any bad people intended to be affected by the proposed ordinance.