The Roundup -

MSSA Protects the Rights of Gun Owners and Hunters

 


Legislative Coordinator Elisa Delaurenti, a volunteer with the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) was at High Caliber Sports on Sept. 24th getting the word out about the organization that is at the forefront of protecting the rights of gun owners and hunters.

The MSSA was established more than 25 years ago and has had 67 bills written and passed into law. They are the only such group in Montana that works legislatively. The organization worked for more than a decade to get the Right to Hunt added to the Montana Constitution; Montana residents voted in overwhelming favor of the amendment in 2004.

“Hunters are the original and most effective conservationists,” stated Delaurenti. “Proceeds from hunting licenses and permits pay for the conservation and management of wildlife in the state.”

Among their other accomplishments are Game Lawfully Taken Becomes the Personal Property of the Hunter, 87-2-509, M.C.A. which clarifies that the meat obtained through hunting doesn’t belong to the government. The Second Conviction of Hunter Harassment is a Felony, 87-3-142, M.C.A. which brought potential charges of any individual who harassed hunters more than once from a misdemeanor to a felony. Now, if harassment is reported to law enforcement, the second offense has those individuals facing hard time, which has deterred the harassment of hunters throughout the state. Montana is the only state in the union that has these laws in place.

Other bills the organization has gotten passed into legislation encouraging Shooting Sports in Schools, SJ16, and establishing Hunting Heritage Week, 1-1-226, and Non-resident minor children of Montana residents may hunt as residents, 87-2-103, M.C.A., which states that children that have parents residing in the state can hunt in Montana as residents. Along the same lines, recruiting and retaining young hunters, MSSA’s SB 185 from 2009 allows full-time, non-resident college students and kids native to the state to purchase hunting licenses at the same cost as resident licenses. The organization has published a legislatively-approved ‘Be Safe’ guide to aid in the instruction of gun safety for Montana kids.

MSSA has also written and gotten bills passed to hold the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks accountable with Large Predator Management, 87-1-217, M.C.A. and Wolf Delisting, which resolves that the state must negotiate terms of wolf delisting favorable to Montana. Additionally, Game Counts Published requires the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to publish both game count and count methodology annually.

The MSSA worked to get the first shooting range protection in the country passed into law (76-9-101). Shooting ranges in the state cannot be shut down based on allegations of lead and copper pollution, and if proof is provided that there are safety problems, the range must be given the opportunity to rectify the situation.

Some of the issues on the 2017 legislative line-up include Sheriffs in the Constitution, Montana School Safety Act, University system gun bans or “campus carry”, Home Guard, and Shooting Range Funding.

The MSSA got a bill enacted that offers matching funds grants to shooting ranges for improvements and that has distributed over $20 million. They also endorse political candidates after extensive research into candidates, which takes about a year and a half.

“Montana has the best gun laws in the U.S., probably the world, primarily because of the effective pro-gun and pro-hunting political work MSSA has done in Montana.” – David Kopel, legal scholar, Independent Institute.

Delaurenti will be in the Great Falls area, Columbia Falls area, the Yaak area, Libby area, Polson area, and Thompson Falls area over the next few weeks. For anyone who would like more information about the MSSA and scheduled dates, questions can be emailed to elisa@mtssa.org, mssa@mtssa.org, or visit their website at http://www.mtssa.org or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MontanaShootingSportsAssociation.

 

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