On February 8, 2013 the Great Falls Tribune reported that the Montana Legislature has submitted a bill that will allow students to keep guns locked in their cars. The reason for this is to help prevent disciplinary measures against students who may go hunting before or after school. Many times these students keep their hunting firearms in their cars, which occasionally gets them into trouble at school.
Representative Jerry O’Neil, a Republican, explained his position to the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 384 is similar to a bill Rep. O’Neil brought before the Legislature two years ago. That bill died in committee.
One of the problems that O’Neil faces with getting the bill passed is that it is in direct conflict with the federal Gun-Free School Act. This act specifically requires expulsion for any student who brings a gun onto a school campus. There are situations where this act is ignored, as in schools that have competitive shooting teams.
One issue with the bill is that it must specify whether the type of guns a student would be allowed to bring onto campus. Federal law states you must be 21-years old to purchase or own a handgun. Therefore, no high school student can legally posses a handgun on campus.
Safety would be a main concern for guns kept in a locked car. It is easy to break into any vehicle and steal a gun. Schools that would allow students to bring legal firearms on campus should set up a secure locker area, where students can check their guns. The guns can then be locked in a proper gun safe.
Last time around, Rep. O’Neil’s bill died in committee. Maybe with new federal regulations on the horizon, this would be one way to protect the rights of those who use their guns for recreational purposes.