The Missoula City Council passed two ordinances banning firearms in public places on Monday night.

The first was an emergency ordinance that went into effect immediately due to the fact that the general election is November 6, while the regular ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.

Both ordinances Ban firearms at all polling places, schools, parks, museums, libraries and the city council chambers.

Speaking on behalf of the ordinance was a local pastor, Jean Larson, who called gun violence a public health emergency.

“Gun violence is a public health emergency in our country,” said Larson. “95 people a day are killed by guns in our country. We have a need to be safe and a right to be safe from this public health emergency.”

Larson then went on to quote from a U.S. Supreme Court decision D.C. v Heller where she quoted the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on long standing prohibitions on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places, such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms.”

Speaking against the ordinance was a local resident Michelle Kearny.

“Unless the council has information that has not been shared with the public regarding imminent threats to citizens during voting activities or otherwise, I see no need for this emergency ordinance,” said Kearny. “I see it as yet another thinly veiled attempt to usurp our constitutional right as Americans, the right to keep and bear arms.”

Kearny went on to state that the ordinance will restrict basic rights to self protection.

“I believe it’s unreasonable to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens who have completed training and testing to qualify for a concealed carry permit, on the basis that legally carried weapons, especially legally concealed carried weapons might pose a greater threat to the voting or general public. Quite simply, the facts state otherwise.”

After extensive public comment, both ordinances passed on an 8 to 3 vote, with Jesse Ramos, Julie Armstrong and Michelle Cares casting ‘no’ votes.

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