News & Features

AG: Missoula Can’t Enforce Background Check for Gun Sales

The Missoula City Council passed its ordinance in September

HELENA — The attorney general says the city of Missoula cannot enforce an ordinance requiring a background check for most gun sales or transfers within the city limits.

Attorney General Tim Fox issued an opinion Thursday saying state law does not allow cities to exercise any power that affects the right to bear arms. Cities can, however, prohibit the discharge of weapons within city limits and prohibit carrying weapons during public assemblies or at public buildings, parks or schools.

The Missoula City Council passed its ordinance in September.

House Speaker Austin Knudsen of Culbertson asked for Fox’s legal opinion.

Missoula City Attorney Jim Nugent told the Missoulian he expected Fox to interpret the law the way he did.

Fox’s opinion has the force of law unless it is overturned by a court.