Effort under way to allow guns on Montana college campuses

Image: Flickr The Montana Board of Regents has strict policies…

University of Montana-Western Administration Building
Image: Flickr

The Montana Board of Regents has strict policies regarding firearms on public campuses across the state. The law has been unchanged for years, and allows only trained and certified security officers to carry weapons on school grounds.

Students who want access to their firearms must store them in a campus gun locker. They can check them out as they please to hunt and sport shoot. They cannot, however, carry them to class or handle them in their dorm rooms.

“Things have run smoothly with our current policy and procedures,” said Kevin McRae, associate commissioner of higher education for the Montana University System. “There’s already a state law saying you can’t carry a concealed weapon in a state building. Additionally, we have a Board of Regents policy saying that only an authorized campus security officer can carry a weapon.”

While some argue that the state’s policies work just fine, as evidenced by the lack of problems reported by campus police, Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, stands among gun rights advocates who believe that the Board of Regents has no authority to ban firearms on campus.

Marbut argues that current laws leave students and faculty vulnerable to others with ill intentions. He says the time has come to revisit Montana law as it pertains to firearms on campus.

“I think people tend to agree with us, pretty generally, that the Montana Constitution doesn’t give the Board of Regents any authority to abolish the (U.S.) Constitution,” Marbut said. “We have a long wish list of things to do in this upcoming legislative session.”

Read the rest of Martin Kidston’s report at the Independent Record

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