Article II of the Montana Constitution is the Declaration of Rights and is divided into 35 sections.  Just looking down the list in the index, one can see similarities to the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.  Seems awfully redundant, doesn't it?  Some downright repetitive.  Why paraphrase a set of amendments that spell out fundamental and unalienable rights already enshrined in a national document?  Why is Article II included?

Here are the sections in Article II that breaks down the 1st Amendment:

Section 5. Freedom of religion. The state shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  (okay, why mess up a good line, right?)

Section 7. Freedom of speech, expression, and press. No law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech or expression. Every person shall be free to speak or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty. In all suits and prosecutions for libel or slander the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the facts.

Section 6. Freedom of assembly. The people shall have the right peaceably to assemble, petition for redress or peaceably protest governmental action.

Montana Talks logo
Get our free mobile app
Credit: Ed Vebell, Getty Images, TSM Media Center

The 2nd Amendment, as Spelled out in Montana

A good many residents in this state can recite the 2nd Amendment word for word.  Probably know the line better than "Our Father who art in Heaven..."  But the Montana Constitution goes a little further:

Section 12. Right to bear arms. The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.

Since this wording in 1972, we now have the conceal carry permit.  Please Note that Montana law is pretty clear on self-defense and how it applies to property.  Don't take Section 12 as the right to blow some squatters away in the living room of your summer home.  For more information on these laws, please see this earlier article I wrote:

I recommend reading all the sections of Article II and will touch on some of them in future articles.

But again, why regurgitate rights we already have?  Well, let's consider another question:

What if the U.S. Constitution is Rendered Null and Void?

If that happened, since the Montana Constitution is still technically in effect, would not the same rights remain, untouched, for all Montanans?

Hmm, Suddenly, the reiteration has value.

Vegetables That Grow Well In Montana

Here are 15 vegitables that grow well in Montana according to Montana State University.

Gallery Credit: Jason Laird

More From Montana Talks