I know a lot of you were getting concerned that House Bill 258 was tabled, and was therefore dead, and wasn't going to be brought back up in the Montana Legislature. But as we told you a week and a half ago, the gun rights bill is definitely still alive and well. In fact, HB 258 by Rep. Jedediah Hinkle (R-Belgrade) has now passed the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 258 is the bill that would basically authorize the State of Montana, and law enforcement officers in the state, to ignore any new gun control laws on the books. The bill hit a snag when concern over language about felony offenders caused the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association to announce their opposition to the legislation.

That concern has now been addressed following friendly amendments added to HB 258.

Gary Marbut with the Montana Shooting Sports Association explains:

The major change was to make HB 258 prospective rather than retrospective.  That is, it will apply to federal laws, orders, rules, or regulations that become effective after January 1, 2021.

It turned out that it was a very murky proposition to write effective and appropriate language that would make the bill retrospective and also adequately define all the terms and issues involved.  The simplest way to solve that problem and get the bill resurrected was to make it prospective only.  Having given up that bit of ground, we still get what the bill was designed primarily to accomplish - to create protection for Montana gun owners from the raft of federal gun control expected to soon come flooding down from D.C.

Marbut added that the bill could see House floor action as soon as February 25th.


Prior Report from February 15, 2021: HB 258 Gun Rights Bill Hits a Snag in Montana Legislature [AUDIO] |


Facade of the Montana State Capital Building in Helena, Montana
Credit: pabradyphoto

"We are working VERY hard to get HB258 back in play. Please don't lose hope in this...this bill is NOT DEAD." That was the update from the Montana Shooting Sports Association on their Facebook page on Friday. This, after a bill designed to push back on any new federal gun control laws hit a snag in the House Judiciary Committee last week.

According to the Associated Press, HB 258 in the Montana Legislature "would ban state employees from enforcing or implementing federal bans on firearms, magazines or ammunition, except in certain cases, including those related to fully automatic firearms, violent felons, and domestic violence."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jedediah Hinkle (R-Belrade) said the bill hit a snag in the House Judiciary Committee after the Montana Sheriff's and Peace Officer's Association (MSPOA) announced their opposition.

In a Facebook post of their own, the MSPOA said they simply want to amend the bill, and that the association is not "anti-gun":

This bill will likely be coming off the table and MSPOA will continue to request that the amendments are added to the bill language to ensure local law enforcement will have the ability to assist, coordinate and participate with federal law enforcement on any number of law enforcement issues.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Barry Usher (R-Billings) jumped in on the MSSA Facebook page discussion, adding:

All Republicans on House Judiciary are 100% 2nd Amendment supporters and support this bill - as the chairman of House Judiciary, I have asked the sponsor and MSSA to meet with all parties that have concerns to potentially fix unintended consequences of this bill.

Hinkle, in a Monday morning interview, said the MSPOA has opposed the legislation in the past, regardless of amendments made to the legislation. Listen to the full interview with Rep. Hinkle below:




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