Archive for July 14th, 2010

by Pete Talbot

I wish this organization all the luck. It’s going to need it.

Montanans Against Gun Violence is going public. Here’s an excerpt from guest columns that are appearing in newspapers around the state:

Annually some 30,000 Americans die from all forms of gun violence—from homicides, suicides, or accidental deaths. In Montana, domestic violence, alcohol-related violence, suicides, and accidental deaths–especially of minors, lead the list of causes.

Respected Missoula progressive Robert McKelvey heads this group, but this is not radical gun control he’s advocating. Using the recent SCOTUS Second Amendment decisions as a springboard, the column quotes (surprise) Justice Scalia:

“the right to keep and bear arms is not ‘a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever and for whatsoever purpose’.”

Scalia then proceeded to list a wide range of local or state gun-ownership and gun-carry regulatory measures that remain lawful and appropriate.

Gun rights are the most controversial issue in Montana, to my way of thinking. And considering that Montana’s three members of Congress are leading the charge to expand access to guns and ammo — particularly our two senators, although our congressman is no piker — this is an extremely tough row to hoe.

Let’s face it, Gary (Bazookas for Babies) Marbut and his Montana Shooting Sports Association is one of the more successful lobbyists at our state legislature. Legislators roll over like trained poodles when Gary introduces a bill.

Then take a look at the comments when the Missoulian ran the column, with one-out-of-twenty in support of McKelvey’s organization. This from Missoula, although it also includes comments from the Bitterroot, Sanders County and other outlying areas. Enough said.

We’ll see if Montanans Against Gun Violence gets any traction in this state. It’s up against a rabid constituency. Again, good luck.

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