Campus Carry Bill Sponsor Expects Challenge from College Regents
House District 58 Representative Seth Berglee’s HB 102, the ‘Campus Carry Bill’ passed the House and the Senate on Friday.
KGVO spoke with Berglee on Saturday about the scope of his bill.
“The first thing that it does is it allows you to concealed carry without a permit in the areas that you can currently open carry,” said Berglee. “So, there's no prohibition in state law or any sort of local municipal restrictions for open carry, so then the bill allows you to also concealed carry.”
Berglee is aware that State Senator Ellie Boldman told KGVO News in an interview last week, that she fully expects the Montana Board of Regents to appeal HB 102 to the Montana Supreme Court. He explained why he is confident such an appeal will be unsuccessful.
“My contention is that the Board of Regents is created by the Constitution,” he said. “It has appointed positions by the governor, who are then confirmed by the Senate. So it's a government entity. A government entity does not have the ability to trump the First Amendment or the Second Amendment, etc, so it's in the Constitution and has constitutional powers, but it (the Board of Regents) is not granted the ability to supersede other constitutional rights.”
Berglee said he spoke with several of the regents about the bill.
“I do expect it to get challenged legally,” he said. “I talked with the regents, and they have varying opinions on what they can and can't do. I would expect it to go to court. But I feel pretty strongly that we have a good case. We have another bill that just passed judiciary, for instance, that dealt with the First Amendment, with colleges setting up free speech zones prohibiting certain speakers from speaking there because they felt they were inflammatory. Then some students came in and testified that they feel like they've been denied their ability to speak freely because the university or groups in the university don't agree with what they have to say.”
Berglee also referenced a landmark Second Amendment case; DC v Heller.
“In the Heller decision in DC, they did rule that you that there is an individual right to own a firearm for self defense,” he said. “One of our committee members argued that that was only for the purposes of your home. Well, I would make the argument that if you're a student living in a dorm; that might be the only home you have. “Students will use that address to register to vote, to register for a driver's license, to register for any number of things in the eyes of the state, and that's considered a home.”
HB 102 is expected to be signed by Governor Greg Gianforte early next week.
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