When the 2020 election ballots go out in the mail or are seen at the polling place, LR-130 will remain intact.

An effort by several organizations to modify the language of the referendum to prohibit local municipalities to make their own gun registration laws was turned away on Tuesday by the Montana Supreme Court.

Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades represented several legislators who opposed the change of language for the referendum.

“The Supreme Court denied the petition to change the Attorney General’s statement describing what the referendum would do if it were passed,” said Rhoades. “The court turned back the analysis that said the Attorney General should have referred to schools and their ability to regulate firearms in that ballot statement. The proponents said that schools needed to be included in that ballot statement.”

Rhoades said Attorney General Tim Fox and the legislators strongly disagreed.

“The Attorney General and we argued against that idea on the basis that regulation of firearms on school grounds are not affected one way or the other,” he said. “The Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General that the language regarding schools should not be included.”

The groups involved in the requested language change included Montana Federation of Public Employees, Montana School Boards Association, Montana League of Cities and Towns, City of Missoula, Montana Human Rights Network and Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

Here is the language that will appear on the November 2020 ballot.

‘LR-130  An act revising firearms laws to secure the right to keep and bear arms and to prevent a patchwork of restrictions by local governments across the state and providing that local governments may not regulate the carrying of concealed weapons; providing that the proposed act be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana; amending sections 7-1-111 and 45-8-351, MCA; and providing an effective date.’