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Mario 10th February 2009 10:25 AM

Montana Self-Defense Bill Clears Major Hurdle, Possible Third Reading Tomorrow!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Today, the full House voted in support of House Bill 228 by a 58-42 margin, narrowly beating back hostile amendments that threatened the meat of the bill. NRA backed amendments that clarified the defensive display language were adopted by a 93-6 margin and the measure now goes before the House for a final Third Read.

House Bill 228, sponsored by State Representative Krayton Kerns (R-58), is a broad piece of legislation that provides a number of specific protections for law-abiding citizens. The provisions of HB 228 clarify and expand the fundamental right of
self-defense and protect law abiding citizens from undue prosecution should they ever have to exercise the right. HB 228, as amended by the House
Judiciary Committee, still does the following:
  • Clarifies the ability of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm in plain view and to display the firearm for harmless defensive purposes;
  • Allows a person who can lawfully possess a firearm and who doesn’t use it to commit a criminal offense to carry it concealed anywhere in the state without first obtaining governmental permission;
  • Prevents landlords and hotel operators from restricting law-abiding citizens’ self-defense rights;
  • Clarifies in statute the existing legal precedent that there is no duty to retreat from a threat before exercising the right to self-defense and allows a law-abiding citizen to use reasonable force in exercising the existing law that gives a private person the authority to arrest an offender;
  • Ensures that self-defense claims are adequately considered during incident investigations; and,
  • Shifts to the state, if self-defense is asserted by a defendant in a criminal case, the burden of proving an absence of justification.

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