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GIFFORDS Gun Owners for Safety Celebrates Successful Inaugural Legislative Session

Helena, MT The Montana chapter of GIFFORDS Gun Owners for Safety (MT-GOS) issued the following statement, celebrating the completion of its inaugural state legislative session earlier this month. After launching the chapter in January of this year, with a commitment to protecting rights and promoting responsible gun ownership, MT-GOS ambassadors worked with legislators and partners on both sides of the aisle to achieve important victories for Montanans across the state. 

This session, with the help of these ambassadors, the legislature passed SB 423, An Act to Generally Revise Liability Related to Firearm Hold Agreements, and defeated HB 551, a bill that would have put a referendum on the ballot to enshrine permitless carry into the Montana Constitution.

Jason Boren, GIFFORDS Deputy Engagement Director, Gun Owners for Safety:
“Following the successful launch of the new Gun Owners for Safety chapter in Montana, responsible gun owners worked with legislators to create meaningful change in the state. The passing of SB 423 is a step in the right direction for the gun safety movement in the state, and our gun owners will continue to work with lawmakers in Montana to enact commonsense gun safety legislation while protecting the Second Amendment right that we and many other Americans value highly.” 

Nick Gevock, Steering Committee Member, GIFFORDS MT-GOS:
“We’re so excited that Montanans of both parties came together to find common ground and overwhelmingly pass SB 423. Montana loses far too many people to suicide and gun violence, and while this is a small step, anything we can do to give people more confidence when they hold someone’s firearms when they are in crisis, we should.

“I personally know several people who have been in a situation with a friend or family member who is suffering from a mental health crisis and stepped in to take their guns and safely store them while the person sought out help. While a lawsuit would seem highly unlikely, HB 423 is a simple, commonsense step to give those people the assurance that they won’t be held liable if something tragic does happen.

“We thank leaders in the legislature that helped pass this simple, clean bill that shows we can pass commonsense laws that protect both Montanans and their Second Amendment rights.”

Shani Henry, Steering Committee Member, GIFFORDS MT-GOS:
“We’re thrilled that Montana legislators saw through the rhetoric on this poorly thought out, unnecessary, and frankly dangerous constitutional referendum. Montanans already have a legal right to carry a firearm without a permit, and HB 551 would not have changed anything about where lawful residents and non-residents could have openly carried. This referendum would only have served to tie the legislature’s hands to deal with increases in gun violence and gun suicide in the state.

“And not only would it have tied the legislature’s hands, HB 551 could have opened the door to courts saying that everyone must be allowed to carry concealed guns in Montana. This would include people who have committed violent felonies, including domestic abuse, sexual assault, and even murder.

“We thank Montana legislators of both parties for voting down this referendum. Montana has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the country and we know that with our Second Amendment rights comes responsibilities. HB 551 was a dangerous referendum that did nothing to protect our right to own and use firearms while presenting a threat to reasonable measures to protect all Montanans.”

About SB 423:
This law protects people who step up and take possession of someone’s guns during a crisis from civil liability after they return those firearms, offering reassurance for people willing to take possession of guns. SB 423 brought together numerous interests in supporting it, including law enforcement, veteran’s groups, and gun safety advocates. It had bipartisan sponsorship and overwhelmingly passed the legislature—149 to one—before being signed by Gov. Gianforte today.

About GIFFORDS Montana Gun Owners for Safety:
Gun Owners for Safety is a new, grassroots group of responsible Montana hunters, sport shooters, and other gun owners committed to protecting our rights and promoting safe and responsible gun ownership. We work for commonsense policies to improve firearm safety, including promoting universal background checks, extreme risk laws, safety training and requirements, and the safe storage of firearms. We are proud gun owners who understand that we can support the Second Amendment while also taking commonsense steps to protect our families, our community, and our state.


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