Montana Voters Approve Gun Control Preemption Ballot Measure

Austin Knudsen

(AP Photo/Lisa Baumann)

Michael Bloomberg wasted a lot of money in a number of states during the current election cycle. He spent about $100 million dollars in Florida, Ohio and Texas alone in an attempt to flip those states blue. That didn’t happen. All three states went red on Tuesday.

Another place where Bloomberg bucks were spent was in Montana trying to defeat LR-130, a ballot measure to prevent local jurisdictions from enacting gun control laws that are more strict than those at the state level (AKA, preemption). While the vote was close — the margin was just under 11,000 votes — the preemption law passed.

“LR-130 protects us from entities in the future enacting stricter gun laws than exist at the state level,” said state Rep. Matt Regier, R-Columbia Falls, who sponsored the bill to place LR-130 on the ballot.

He said LR-130 prevents Montana from having a patchwork of local gun ordinances, which could be difficult to track and comply with.

Several cities in Montana have rules prohibiting open or concealed carry at public gatherings or in parks or cemeteries that, with the passage of LR-130, may be illegitimate. For instance, the ordinances in Libby and Culbertson banning guns in cemeteries are likely no longer legal, and Helena likely won’t be able to continue requiring concealed carriers to alert local authorities if they visit or live in the city.

Bloomberg’s Everytown gun control operation was a big supporter of the effort to defeat the preemption law.

The NRA Big Sky Self-Defense Committee, the main group that supported LR-130, received nearly all the $51,600 it raised from the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, according to records from the commissioner of political practices.

The unsuccessful “Vote No on LR-130” campaign raised about $1.4 million and received significant in-kind contributions from national and state groups, including the Montana Federation of Public Employees, the Montana League of Cities and Towns, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Montana Human Rights Network, according to the commissioner of political practices records.

It was a good election season for gun rights in the Big Sky state. Former governor and dedicated anti-gunner Steve Bullock (he vetoed three constitutional carry bills during his time in office) decided to challenge Senator Steve Daines. That was after running a failed primary campaign for the presidency.

But Montanans had had enough of Bullock. Daines defeated him 55% to 45%. Republican Greg Gianforte won the race for Governor, too.

And in another win for gun rights, former Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen — an occasional TTAG contributor — won the race for Attorney General by 17 points. That, despite being outraised by Democrat Ralph Graybill nearly two to one.

“I’m really looking at the fact that we’ve really dramatically increased spending in Helena in the last eight years,” Knudsen told MTPR. “At the same time, violent crime is rising dramatically in the state. So we’re not getting a good value for our tax dollar there.”

Knudsen’s pledges to tackle crime and Helena bureaucracy won him support from a slew of Republicans and conservative groups across the state, including the Great Falls Police Protective Association, some current and former sheriffs, and the Montana Shooting Sports Association.

comments

  1. avatar MB (the real MB) says:

    Banning guns from cemeteries is about as stupid as it gets… Everyone there is already dead. Are Democrats afraid they’ll lose their voter base?

    1. avatar Phil Wilson says:

      Not knowing, I’d guess that it’s about the distance around graveyards that the law would include, so towns that have several could, including the buffer zones, basically ban guns from the township via a backdoor route. That’s a standard general tactic.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        The 1000 foot exclusionary zone around schools under the Gun Free School Zone Act has the same effect in pretty much every urban area in states that have adopted it. For example, this zone effectively bans open carry in California cities and towns even if, after holding that there is not right to a CCW, the Ninth Circuit (kicking and screaming) is forced to concede that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to open carry. (We are still waiting to see how they will try to waffle their way out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into after concluding there is no constitutional right to concealed carry; if “and bear” has any meaning at all, it means, now, to openly carry arms. But of course the Court doesn’t want to say that.)

        1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

          The court has already ruled that the 1000 ft. rule would encompass streets and possibly some highways so it is an unlawful interference in Interstate Commerce Laws.

  2. avatar RGP says:

    Sounds like Montana votes on this issue are counted by the same people who count votes in Pennsylvania.

    1. avatar gus says:

      well? if you’re going to spend millions of dollars on it, you might want to make sure of that

      1. avatar RGP says:

        I read it wrong!

  3. avatar NORDNEG says:

    VIVA MONTANA…!!!🇺🇸👍

    1. avatar Closedforbizness says:

      We’re full. Don’t try to move here.

      1. avatar D Y says:

        You’re gonna need a lot more pro freedom people to offset the liberals that are being created internally, and streaming in from the other states they’ve wrecked.

        I’d really like to see some constitutional amendments in states like Montana, that done leave it quite so easy for the liberal idiots to change things when they inevitably overrule the rural populace.

  4. avatar gus says:

    “LR-130 protects us from entities in the future enacting stricter gun laws than exist at the state level”

    why don’t people ever call it for what it is???

    ““LR-130 protects us from entities in the future taking away more of your rights than we already do at the state level”

  5. avatar No_Ones_Home says:

    Having chatted with a former elected Montana legislature individual on this, they stated that this will probably end up going to court based on the wording in the referendum. They stated that cities like Missoula are more than happy to waste tax-payer dollars to attempt to get their way. This year alone there were 2 items on the Montana ballot to change the wording of some laws that were implemented/changed back in 2006 that the courts later declared invalid…

  6. avatar Steve Fogg says:

    Unfortunately with more and more former Californians moving in it will continue to be a challenge to keep Montana gun friendly in the future.

    1. avatar Closedforbizness says:

      We’re full. Don’t try to move here.

  7. avatar Debbie W. says:

    Until fools understand that the Gun Control they vote for is rooted in racism and genocide expect more of the same.
    By its nature Gun Control is a racist and nazi based agenda that the democRat Party welcomes in with open arms. What Filth.

    1. avatar gus says:

      nah, I think it’s part of them turning society into their slavish idiots, and as a token that they are having it their way. I can agree that they are filth.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Nah, they don’t think about anything other than that guns frighten them and have no use except for killing people. They believe that killing is immoral, so guns are immoral too since they are the tool of choice for killing. (I call this willful blindness, but it is really hard to convince them to open their eyes.)

  8. avatar enuf says:

    “Montana Voters Approve Gun Control Preemption Ballot Measure”

    Good.

    Be Like Arizona, at least on gun laws.

    No so much like our weather, which sucks,

    But gun laws, pretty darned fine here!

    Now Texas could take a few hints from Arizona … less hat, more cattle!

    1. avatar Blkojo says:

      No matter its current faults, Arizona…year in, year out…is at the top of various lists for the ‘freest’ state re: the Second Amendment. But damn was it hot this summer! Even now in November. 97° yesterday, 93° today.

      1. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

        AZ has turned dark blue.

        Put a fork in them, they’re done (like VA).

        1. avatar Mark H says:

          Dark Blue? Trump will most likely win AZ once they finish counting the “drop off – day of ballots”
          AZ Legislature is still majority Red, (both houses) and looks like no house seats changed hands.
          McSally loosing to a giant pile of money from outside the state is another matter. Kelly is a world class POS.

          Light pink instead of Deep Red now. About time to think about moving to Idaho.

        2. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

          I don’t think Trump will win AZ. The Dems will just have more dead folks sign up to vote. As far as the state legislature, I say NFL as the “majority” keeps shrinking. I might agree to light blue but can’t go to pink with the 2 demonicRat senators and commie POTUS.

  9. avatar Ing says:

    Congrats to our fellow TTAGer on the win. May you afflict the progs and comfort the prog-afflicted. And may Bloomberg spend ever more — and continue to lose.

  10. avatar Umm . . . says:

    What’s your point? A frontier state with a long firearms tradition, thought safely in our corner, passed (by a very narrow margin) a measure that many purple, even mostly-blue, states have had for years.

    This is about as much cause for celebration as if Admiral Nimitz had announced he was 50.003% opposed to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Apparently Californians be mad…

      1. avatar Umm . . . says:

        Antis being mad about this narrow “defeat” in Montana is like Nazis being disappointed if Hitler lost by 11,000 votes in Israel.

        1. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Are you literally mad because a “narrow” win is still considered a win? Pretty sure anything that gets passed like this is a step in the right direction and one less gun infringement. But I guess you are too cool for all that huh? I mean, if you want to boog, lets fucken do it already. Just quit bitching about a win on our side already. You got all these flavors to choose from, and you chose salty.

          And who the fuck is an anti? The only one here seems to be you. Back to your cave, troll.

        2. avatar Umm . . . says:

          Seriously? In a year where Virginia (where I was stationed several times and once saw as a safely progun place to retire) flipped HARD antigun, and Arizona (often touted as the most progun state) has two commie senators and looks to have voted (along with the “progun” state where I grew up and the “progun” state where I did choose to retire) for the most antigun presidential ticket in history, I’m an “anti” for applying some critical reason to the narrowest of “victories” in another alleged 2A bastion? I either join the triumphal chorus over yet another teetering domino, or I’m a “troll”?

        3. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

          “and once saw as a safely progun place to retire”

          Yep, we laugh and talk about Bloombucks not being effective but state by state we are losing. CO, VA, GA, NC, & AZ have fallen. They will never recover and the disease is still spreading (and I don’t mean COVID). There is nothing we can do about it, they simply have more votes now and what they don’t have they create. Throughout the country people defending themselves and their property are arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned. In a few years the 2A will no longer exist and a few years after that any semblance of the US we grew up in will have disappeared.

          I have always been an optimist but no longer. The war is over it’s just about when we actually surrender now. If you want to Boog go for it but count me out. I want the soccer moms (AKA Karens) and celebs to see and live exactly what they’ve been voting for. When income equality becomes a real thing and their comfy suburban or elite life comes to an abrupt end I just hope I’m still around to watch the pain in their eyes as the truth finally dawns on them when they look around at their self made 3rd world country.

        4. avatar Umm . . . says:

          Yep, depressing AF! The only part of your excellent analysis I might question is the part about celebs.

          One might logically infer that celebs (who are not only wealthy, but ostentatiously so in a way that the working rich almost never are) would incur the fullest wrath of egalitarian envy – but logic and the left don’t go together.

          It’s not so much wealth that they hate, as any reminder of its association with merit, self-control, factual / procedural education in useful skillsets, hard work, and productive achievement – none of which have any correlation with celebrities. I think they’ll [continue to] get a pass.

        5. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

          Hmm, food for thought but indirectly, they will be greatly affected by a socialist state. Folks just won’t have money to go to theaters, concerts, etc. When they become weak (meaning no money to buy their way out of things) they too will fall to the massive poverty class. I that does not happen, eventually the abject poverty of the majority of US citizens will force them to take a closer look at who has the money. Either way, they will eventually lose their money, status, and way of life.

        6. avatar Umm . . . says:

          You may be right, but – given that (with the possible exception of a few post-commie states that know better) every other dumbocratic country eventually voted its way into a social-dumbocracy – there are unfortunately many real-world examples to choose from. In practically all of them, there are favored classes exempt from the general suck.

  11. avatar Virgil Caldwell says:

    In my home state (Harrison vs Graham) the liberals spent I think 97 million setting a record. Harrison ran a false flag campaign, trying to direct votes to a third party candidate that had dropped out weeks ago and endorsed Graham. Graham won handily. Meanwhile SC TV stations, advertising agencies, and radio stations- not to mention printers- raked in millions in revenue for the state. Not a bad outcome at all.

  12. avatar Montana Actual says:

    Congratulations Austin.

    I tried to tell em, man…
    We’re just not having it here.

  13. avatar bigskydoc says:

    To all the folks bemoaning the narrowness of the victory, understand that the wording of the initiative, the explanation on the voter pamphlet, and the wording on the ballot was so confusing that I had multiple hard core, 2nd amendment supporting friends calling me to verify whether they should be voting for or against the bill.

    It was worded to sound like a vote to pass the amendment was a vote to expand gun control, rather than a vote to limit additional gun control.

    If the language had been plain, the victory would not have been so narrow. It wouldn’t entirely surprise me to see the losing side try to take it to court because of the confusing wording, despite the fact that they are the ones who wrote it.

    1. avatar Umm . . . says:

      Thanks! That sounds a little better, but why would the antis write the initiative that the article says was supported by the NRA Big Sky Self-Defense Committee and sponsored by the quoted progun Republican Rep. Regier?

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “…but why would the antis write the initiative that the article says was supported by the NRA Big Sky Self-Defense Committee and sponsored by the quoted progun Republican Rep. Regier?”

        Follow along here –

        The Antis wrote it that way because they were the ones who controlled what that article said.

        The article writer was working with the Antis all along…

        1. avatar Umm . . . says:

          “Follow along” yourself, Geoff:

          Bigskydoc wrote, “the wording of the initiative [the new, progun law that passed] . . . and the wording on the ballot was so confusing . . . the losing side [the antigunners] . . . are the ones who wrote it [the new progun law that passed]”

          I replied, asking “why would the antis write the initiative” [the new, progun law that passed]?” I admit I’m clearly missing some information, but don’t you think there’s some contradiction there?

          In summary, bigskydoc commented on the wording of the PROGUN LAW, and I asked him why the ANTI-GUNNERS would get to write the PROGUN LAW. Neither he nor I said anything in reference to the wording of the ARTICLE being confusing.

    2. avatar No_Ones_Home says:

      For those with nothing better to do with their time, here is the wording of LR-130. Scroll down to page 18 and start reading…

      https://sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/SOS-Web-Version-VIP-10.125×8-1.pdf

    3. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      @bigskydoc

      Yes Sir. I spent a lot of time explaining to my neighbors what LR-130 means.

      I broke it down to: “a YES preserves and strengthens the State preemption setting uniform laws across Montana. a NO vote allows any town or city to set random, often conflicting, firearm regs. For instance if I were traveling across the State I could be in violation going from town to town within the same county…this mishmash of confusing, conflicting laws is not what we need”.

      Agreed, that the initiative could have been clearer.

      My final farewell parting ‘shot” for Bullock and Williams…F you and your “K” and “L” street dark money.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Worry less about K and L Streets and more about George Soros’ J Street.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    It would be great if Aniston K could still contribute articles.

  15. avatar Libertarian says:

    Montana looks at a very purpel trend

    https://ballotpedia.org/Montana_LR-130,_Limit_Local_Government_Authority_to_Regulate_Firearms_Measure_(2020)

    Montana LR-130
    Result Votes Percentage
    Yes 296,786 50.93%
    No 285,931 49.07%

  16. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Good for Montana voters!

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  18. avatar Flathead Frank says:

    Now that the snake Bullock is out, and we’re finally getting a purportedly pro-gun Governor, we can try again to pass Constitutional Carry without having it vetoed.

    5th time is a charm, let’s hope.

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