The Montana House advanced three gun bills this week that aim to thwart the growing national support for gun safety legislation, including one measure that would allow almost anyone to carry a concealed weapon without applying for a permit or undergoing mental screening:
It says that anyone who would qualify for a permit under current guidelines could carry concealed without getting a formal permit. People who determine themselves qualified would be exempt from having to actually get a permit.
Supporters pointed out that concealed carry is currently allowed by anyone outside of city limits, a policy they said has worked. Opponents include law enforcement groups who argue that the current system, which requires a sheriff to approve the permit, does a good job of helping ensure that mentally unstable people or troublemakers in the community don’t get a permit. They argued that the proposal would render the permit system useless and make it difficult for police to determine who is allowed to be carrying guns.
“This bill basically says if you think in your head you can carry concealed, then you can carry concealed,” said Rep. Margie McDonald of Billings, an opponent of the bill. The measure must pass a final vote before going to the Senate.