Gov. Bullock Vetoes Bill Allowing Guns on Campus

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock turned back a bill Monday that would have allowed college students to keep guns on campus, a key veto among many rejections on day of heavy action.

Aside from the budget bills that took up much of the Democrat’s focus, he dismissed many proposals that would have resulted in new laws.

Bullock’s series of decisions comes as he is wrapping up his review of bills passed this legislative session.

— GUNS: The campus gun proposal, House Bill 240, would have allowed college students to keep firearms in their dorm rooms with their roommate’s permission. The measure also would have allowed students to carry concealed weapons if they had a permit to do so.

The Montana University System urged Bullock to veto the measure, arguing that guns and stressed-out college students could be a deadly combination. The measure also would have prohibited the university regents from making any campus rules prohibiting guns.

Hunting weapons are currently allowed on campus, but are kept in special lockers that students can access if they want to go hunting.

Supporters of HB240, however, argued that without the proposal students are vulnerable to violent crime. Also, they said current regulations are a violation of students’ Second Amendment Rights.

Another gun bill Bullock vetoed Monday, House Bill 205, would have permitted hunters to use sound-reduction devices, commonly known as silencers.

— BISON: The governor vetoed two Republican measures, Senate Bill 256 and Senate Bill 305, that were aimed at restricting bison movement and making Fish, Wildlife and Parks liable for any property damages caused by bison.

Opponents said the bills would have set a dangerous precedent by forcing the agency pay for property damages done by wild animals.

— ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: Bullock vetoed House Bill 297, which would have penalized businesses if they employed workers who came to the country illegally.

Bullock said the measure would have interfered with federal law that already has statutes in place to deal with illegal immigration.

— OTHER VETOES: The governor rejected House Bill 188, which opponents say would have hurt small wind projects.

He turned away Senate Bill 148, which would have limited the amount of compensation an employee who had been illegally fired could collect, reducing the potential payout from four years’ income to two.

He also vetoed a Republican measure, Senate Bill 265, that would have increased some campaign financing limits.

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