Governor vetoes bill barring gun ban enforcement

by Independent Record  |  published on April 1, 2013

steve bullock

Gov. Steve Bullock took action Thursday on several gun measures, including vetoes of a bill that would have prohibited local and state police from enforcing any federal gun bans and another that would have allowed silencers when hunting wolves.

House Bill 302 was backed by gun advocates who argued the state should be ready in case Congress enacts a gun ban. They said the measure would also send a strong signal that Montana opposes gun bans.

But Bullock wrote in his Thursday veto message that it does not appear Congress will ban assault weapons. The Democrat called the Legislature’s bill “unnecessary political theater.”

He added that if House Bill 302 were used as intended, it would turn police into criminals for not cooperating with federal officers, as they are required to do. He said the officers take oaths to enforce all laws.

“I am and always have been a staunch supporter of our Second Amendment rights,” Bullock wrote. “We have a strong tradition in Montana of gun ownership, hunting and participation in shooting sports. I believe that is an important tradition to preserve.”

The veto will go back to the Legislature, which can attempt to override the veto with two-thirds support in each chamber. The bill, originally advanced mostly along party lines, fell short of that level of support when it originally cleared the Legislature earlier this month.

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