Following Tuesday’s Montana Supreme Court 5-0 decision to strike down the Missoula City Council’s proposed mandatory universal background check ordinance, KGVO spoke to City Councilor Bryan von Lossberg, who originally sponsored the ordinance, about his reaction.

“Extreme disappointment,” began von Lossberg. “I’m saddened, as we’ve talked about in your studio before, the background check system is effective. As we cited in our brief at the Supreme Court that in the last 20 years the system has stopped over 20,000 gun sales to people who aren’t legally able to possess a firearm, and no one disagrees with that. We’re talking about felons, those adjudicated mentally incompetent, illegal aliens, etc. So, we have a proven tool and policy that we can’t deploy here, and as an elected official who is a gun owner, takes to heart my responsibility for my constituents’ public welfare and safety. It’s really disappointing not to be able to use this tool.”

Von Lossberg noted that even though the ordinance itself was struck down, that individuals may still choose to do background checks on their own when conducting private firearms sales.

“I purchased a firearm from the person who taught me about hunting, and we used the background check for that transfer from him to me,” he said. “So, there are people who live that ethic. I also believe that people should be willing to talk about the issues they face. We have real issues about suicide, and intimate partner violence, and the idea that gun safety and gun violence is some sort of taboo topic that we can’t discuss, I just don’t support that.”

Von Lossberg acknowledged that there are no more legal avenues available to pursue the matter.

KGVO also asked von Lossberg about the cost of pursuing the ordinance through the courts over the last several years.

“I’m not sure of an exact amount,” he said. “We relayed at the press conference you were at when we challenged the Attorney General’s opinion, we were getting a lot of pro bono assistance, and then the local law firm that was involved did a capped reduced rate that I believe was a $25,000 capped rate. I have zero concerns about the money. The city gets engaged in issues all the time around which there is litigation, and when we’re talking about savings people’s lives and systems available to do that, then I have no worries about the value of the discussion and the money that we spent.”



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