Legislation that would allow guns into public parks and K-12 schools, HB 325, will get its third hearing in the Montana House tomorrow, February 20.
HB 325 would pave the way for more armed teachers in Montana, even though we know that arming teachers is not actually an effective way to prevent gun violence in schools.
Under current law, guns are generally prohibited in Montana’s K-12 schools. But the law does authorize school districts to allow people to carry firearms in school. Some school districts have already taken advantage of this provision in dangerous ways — allowing teachers to carry guns in schools and putting students in danger. Luckily, the current law also allows for local governments to regulate school district decisions, providing a crucial check on these districts. This legislation would remove that authority and eliminate any power to regulate an unsafe decision.
The proposed legislation would also strip local governments of their authority to prevent people from openly carrying guns at public demonstrations and forces them to allow guns in parks — forcing them to allow guns at events such as public rallies, even if there is a public safety risk. Currently, local governments have the authority to regulate carry of firearms in public places, including a public assembly or a park. As one might expect, research indicates that open carry can increase the likelihood of violence.
Volunteers with Moms Demand Action will be present at the hearing tomorrow, February 20, and will be available for interviews before or after the hearing. If you’re interested in learning more about the dangers of this bill and the threat it poses to public safety and local authority in Montana, please don’t hesitate to reach out.