Gov. Schweitzer's veto message for House Bill 271 is factually incorrect on several important counts. These obvious inaccuracies do not commend the governor for his knowledge or for his choice of advisers on this issue.
HB 271 would have allowed concealed firearm carry ("permitless carry") inside city limits in Montana, as has been the case outside city limits (99.4 percent of Montana) for two decades without any identifiable incidence of problems.
Schweitzer claimed that HB 271 would have adversely impacted officers of the Montana Highway Patrol and county sheriffs departments, yet these agencies operate primarily outside cities where permitless carry has been the uneventful norm for 20 years.
The governor also claims that HB 271 would void the existing concealed weapon permit process. Wrong again. A plain reading of HB 271 shows that it does not touch upon the existing permit process, which leaves permits entirely in place for those wishing permits for out-of-state travel or instant gun buys.
It's obvious that the governor didn't even read HB 271 before doing a quick draw with his staged branding iron and completely missing the target. Having been urged by both the NRA and MSSA to support HB 271, the governor now wears a self-inflicted veto brand on his political foot from his quick-draw miss, yet another case of ready, fire, aim.
Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association