UPDATE: The Missoula City Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee last night received a proposed ordinance that will likely put the western Montana council in the crosshairs of the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) because it allegedly won’t square with state statute, according to KECI News, the local NBC affiliate.
The Missoulian is also covering the story. The newspaper is reporting that the proposal has the support of a local Moms Demand Action group.
While challenging state law on gun regulation may seem stylish and “progressive” in Seattle, Washington, it just might not be greeted with zeal anywhere outside the Missoula city limits. At issue is a desire by members of the council to require background checks on all firearms transactions that occur inside the city, ostensibly closing the so-called “gun show loophole.”
But even one local observer, writing today in the Missoula Independent, thinks the idea is a bad one for several reasons. Political writer Dan Brooks noted, “I support the efforts of Everytown and Moms Demand Action. I cannot support this ordinance, however, because I think it is likely to provoke opposition from gun show participants without making it meaningfully harder for felons to get guns.”
Brooks also says something else that seems to explain the mentality behind the overall gun prohibition movement: “The gun-control discussion has collapsed into binary opposition between people who oppose any new regulation and people who are desperate to pass something—anything—that might curb America’s absurd level of gun violence.”
There’s that curious term, again. “Gun violence,” as if the firearm were somehow responsible for a crime committed by somebody using it. When someone is fatally stabbed — as were half the victims in last year’s Santa Barbara killing spree — nobody calls it “knife violence.” Clobber somebody with a baseball bat and that’s never called “bat violence.”
And Brooks seems to nail it about gun control activism, perhaps unintentionally, at least from the gun rghts perspective. Anti-gunners seem more interested in “trophy” legislation than in solving a problem of violent crime, and preventing the wrong people from getting firearms.
KECI provided a link to written testimony to the Missoula council by Quentin M. Rhoades, the attorney representing MSSA. It details why the proposed legislation is a southbound idea in the Big Sky northwest.
In his statement, dated yesterday, Rhoades insisted that, “If adopted, this ordinance would violate (Montana statute) which reads, ‘a county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit may not…regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer (including delay in purchase, sale, or other transfer),…of any weapon, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun or concealed handgun.’ (Emphasis added.)”
Seattle now faces a court challenge because of its attempt to poke at state preemption in Washington. The “big guns” — the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and National Shooting Sports Foundation — are equal partners in that action.
It’s pretty clear that Missoula city officials will be facing off with the MSSA in a courtroom if this ordinance is adopted. Indeed, the news coverage so far points in that direction. Even Brooks, in his column, contended that this ordinance could alienate gun show organizers, whom he calls “an important partner in solving this problem.”
The first reading of the proposed ordinance before the full city council, according to KECI, will be Oct. 19. If western Montana gun rights activists swing into action, it might also be the last. There are better ways to deal with problems than pushing a legislative fix that seems an “in-your-face” approach to the very people it will directly impact.
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