MISSOULA, Mont. – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown, released a new poll conducted by Global Strategy Group on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund that finds an overwhelming majority of Missoula city residents—80 percent—including an overwhelming majority of Missoula’s gun-owning households—82 percent—support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. The poll results (available here),which were featured in the Missoulian yesterday, come ahead of tonight’s Missoula City Council hearing on a proposed ordinance that would require criminal background checks on all gun sales within Missoula’s city limits.
“As a community, we’ve watched an endless cycle of news reports about tragic shootings and we’ve grieved with too many neighbors who have been affected by gun violence. Montana suffers from disproportionate levels of gun deaths, and that’s why it’s imperative we work together to make our state safer for everyone—but we must start right here at home in Missoula,” said Heidi Kendall, Missoula resident and volunteer with the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As a mom and longtime Missoula resident, I want what’s best for our beloved city—and that means building a safer community where our families are protected from gun violence. I—and moms across Missoula—urge our City Council members to vote ‘yes’ on the background check ordinance.”
In advance of today’s hearing, the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action has gathered more than 1,000 petition signatures from Missoulians in support of the background check ordinance. The ordinance was introduced last month by City Councilman Bryan von Lossberg, City Council President Marilyn Marler and City Councilwoman Emily Bentley.
Currently in Montana, felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people can buy guns from unlicensed sellers — including through sales initiated online and at gun shows — anonymously and with no questions asked, due to a loophole in state and federal law that requires criminal background checks only for guns sold by licensed dealers. The City Council’s proposed ordinance would close this loophole by requiring background checks for all gun sales in Missoula.
When compared with states that require background checks on all handgun sales, Montana women are three times more likely to be shot to death by their intimate partners and three times as many Montanans kill themselves with guns.
Background checks are quick and easy – in fact, there are more than 50 gun dealers in Missoula, making it simple and convenient for buyers and sellers to meet at a gun dealer to run the check.
In addition, background checks are proven to help prevent crime and save lives. In states with background checks on all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot and killed by intimate partners, there are 48 percent fewer gun suicides and 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns.