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Montana state house and sheriffs hate you

From: Gary Marbut and Montana Shooting Sports Association

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA’s bill to prevent state and local government employees from enforcing the expected raft of federal gun control, HB 258, was tabled by the House Judiciary Committee today. Read on …

HB 258 was tabled primarily because of opposition to the bill by the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA), arguably the most anti-gun organization in Montana’s history. It appears that MSPOA is eager to have its members enforce federal firearm and magazine bans, and much more. This is not a position that is likely to appeal to rank and file law enforcement officers who will be expected to kick in doors and seize outlawed firearms and devices.

Just for the record, MSPOA opposed this bill when the Legislature passed it in 2013, 2015, 2017, and again in 2021. Governor Bullock cited their “concerns” as his excuse when he vetoed this bill three times.

Except for HB 258 supporters Sheriff Jesse Slaughter of Cascade County and Sheriff Tom Rummel of Sanders County, you need to get on the phone to your local elected sheriff and complain bitterly that sheriffs have allowed their state association, MSPOA, to simply run amok as the most anti-gun entity in Montana. Truly, most Montana sheriffs are not anti-gun, but they have failed miserably to control the organization that speaks for them in Helena.

Don’t be deterred by some gatekeeper at your local sheriff’s department. Insist on speaking to the elected sheriff. He or she is elected to office and accountable to voters. MSPOA may already have told them that HB 258 is a bad bill. Don’t accept or believe that. Ask your sheriff if he, personally, wants to be enforcing the expected raft of new federal gun control, or if he will just assign his deputies to do that dirty and risky work.

Your sheriff needs to either help get control of his state association, or be replaced – period. Your RKBA may depend on that.

Call your sheriff! Tell him his state association has run amok in Helena. Tell him you expect him to fix that problem. If he’s not part of the solution, then he’s part of the problem.

There’s a good chance we can get HB 258 revived, but it will depend on you getting your sheriff to control MSPOA.

Meanwhile, HB 258 failed in committee with a vote of 4-15. Voting for HB 258 were Reps.: Phalen, Lenz, Ler, and Hinkle.

Voting no were Reps.: Regier, Kelker, Carlson, Stromswold, Berglee, Fleming, Stafman, Gillette, Tenenbaum, Bishop, Hawk, Skees, Farris-Olsen, France, and Usher voted no.

The Representatives who I expected to vote for HB 258 but did not are Reps.: Regier, Carlson, Stromswold, Berglee, Fleming, Gillette, Skees, and Usher. These are the people who went along with pressure from MSPOA. Some were confused by the vote, some were missing and had a proxy voted by others, and some just followed Chairman Usher out of loyalty. But, it was a recorded vote. If you contact these legislators, be nice even if firm. These people are usually our friends.

MSSA will work to get HB 258 revived, but we must have your help by getting your local sheriff to control MSPOA.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana