After the George Zimmerman trial and not-guilty verdict in Florida, there is a heightened local interest in self-defense. Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association is qualified as an expert witness in matters of self-defense and use-of-force.

Marbut said on Wednesday, that the much-discussed 'stand-your-ground' defense did not apply in the Zimmerman case.

"We have a stand-your-ground policy here in Montana, but it did not play at all in the Florida incident because it wasn't a stand-your-ground situation," Marbut said. "When it comes to discussing self-defense, there are certain terms that must be discussed. The definition of lethal force is an amount of force likely to cause loss of life or serious bodily injury. If a person believes that they are at risk of a loss of life or serious bodily injury, then they are authorized under Montana law to use lethal force to defend themselves."

Marbut expands on the concept of self defense.

"When a person is defending themselves, their mission if to stop the attack," Marbut said. "For example, if we had a freeze ray, we could just freeze the attacker and wait for the police to come, but we don't, so we use other things to defend ourselves, notably in Montana, firearms."

Marbut explains the laws in Montana regarding carrying a firearm.

"In Montana, it is legal to carry openly," Marbut said. "Concealed is defined as wholly or partially concealed by clothing or wearing apparel. Then, a person does not need a permit to carry concealed in 99.4% of Montana, that's outside the limits of a city or town. Then, a person does not need a concealed carry permit while they are inside their home or place of business. A person may carry a weapon in a briefcase of a purse without a permit, as well."

Marbut said there are a lot of places where carrying a firearm is prohibited.

"There are a lot of prohibited places or gun-free zones, in theory only," Marbut said. "Places like a federal building, federal enclaves of one kind or another, government or public buildings. There are two laws that relate to that, they are 45-8-328 which makes it illegal to exercise a concealed-carry permit in a bar, in a bank, or in a building owned and staffed by a government. Then there is statute called 45-8-351 which allows cities to prohibit the carrying of any firearms into public buildings, public parks, public assemblies and schools.

Marbut regularly offers classes to anyone wanting to learn how to properly use a firearm.

"I teach all in one weekend day, morning in the classroom and afternoon on the range," Marbut said. "They will learn about self-defense, use of force, safe gun handling and storage, selection of firearms for self-defense, shooting skills and much more. The classes are $100, and anyone interested can call me at 549-1252, or send an email to Gary at Marbut dot com."

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association