On Thursday, Missoula District Judge Robert L. ‘Dusty’ Deschamps issued a ruling that countermanded the Montana Attorney General’s opinion that nullified a gun registration ordinance by the City of Missoula.

In the order, Deschamps cited four plaintiffs, Tom Platt, Mark Grimes, Heidi Kendall and John Moffatt, who stated ‘they believe that the Ordinance is a reasonable, common-sense measure well within the city’s lawful powers to ensure that firearms do not fall into the hands of those who by law are not entitled to posses them.’

Deschamps also wrote in his ruling, ‘the best evidence of the legislature’s intent, not addressed by the Attorney General, is the statute’s plain text which grants the city the express authority ‘to prevent and suppress.., the possession of firearms by convicted felons’ and those who are not entitled by law to possess them.’

The original ordinance was enacted by the Missoula City Council on September 26, 2016. On January 26, 2017, State Representative Austin Knudsen requested an opinion by the Attorney General on the enforceability of the ordinance.

In Judge Deschamps’ order he states that ‘by invalidating the City of Missoula’s ordinance, the Attorney General’s opinion deprives Missoula of its own authority.’

Missoula City Councilor Bryan von Lossberg said on Friday that he was both surprised and encouraged by Judge Deschamps ruling.

“I’ve been reading it (the judge’s ruling) through again multiple times, and it’s a very pleasant surprise from my perspective,” he said. “I’m not sure what will happen next, but it would not surprise any of us if this wound up at the Montana Supreme Court.”


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