Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen appeared on Thursday’s Talk Back show to answer questions from KGVO Radio listeners.

Knudsen first referenced a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment out of New York State, saying it’s a huge victory for gun rights in America.

“We had a plaintiff that challenged New York State's concealed weapon laws because New York State was a ‘may issue state,” said Knudsen. “You can apply for a concealed weapon permit in New York but ‘we may’ give it to you. This is monumental. I mean, this literally is the first time that the Supreme Court has flat out said the Second Amendment gives you the right to carry a firearm outside of your home.”

One caller asked the Attorney General what he can do to help alleviate what he termed the homeless epidemic in Missoula, to which Knudsen said ‘that’s a Missoula problem’.

“A big part of the problem you folks have got here in Missoula, and with all due respect, you folks need to vote better,” he said. “I mean, you've got leadership in this town that has turned Missoula into a haven, or a kind of a Mecca for the homeless. You've provided a level of services and a level of tolerance for certain types of behavior, and there's not a lot of punishment going on over here for crimes and misdemeanors. At the end of the day, that comes down to your local elected leadership, whether it's your city council and clear up to your prosecutors.”

Knudsen expanded his criticism of the Montana justice system what he termed ‘liberal judges’.

“We've got a judge problem in this state,” he said. “A lot of our district judges who are appointed by Democratic governors don't believe in restorative justice. They don't believe in the penal system. They don't believe in jail time. They don't believe in punishment for crimes. They think we're going to treat and counsel our way out of the crime problem. Maybe I'm cynical because I was an actual ‘boots-on-the-ground’ prosecutor and I worked with cops. I’ve worked with drug addicts and I’ve dealt with criminals. There are some people in this society that you are not going to successfully counsel and treat; they're just not; they have to go to prison.”

Closing out the hour, Knudsen told KGVO listeners that he believes the Fentanyl problem is by far the biggest issue that law enforcement faces in the state.

“I absolutely think that the Fentanyl crisis is the truly the biggest threat to our state right now,” he said. “The numbers bear that out. We are seeing just huge, huge increases in Fentanyl trafficking in the state of Montana. We have specific intelligence that Mexican cartels, two of them in particular, are truly targeting Montana for their Fentanyl shipments and it's because they can make so much money up here.”

Knudsen was the Roosevelt County Attorney before running for the office of Montana Attorney General.

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