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Montana 2021 Legislature

Gianforte Signs Bill Allowing Permitless Concealed Carry At Colleges, Bars, Banks

A gun display case at Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, Texas.

Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte Thursday put his signature on a controversial bill that will expand opportunities to carry concealed firearms in the state, including on college campuses.

During a bill signing ceremony, Gianforte said the new law will expand Montanans’ self-defense rights by limiting so-called gun free zones.

“Gun control measures don’t prevent criminals from perpetuating violence or crime. Gun control measures step on the rights of law abiding citizens," GIanforte said.

House Bill 102 requires concealed carriers to have training, but not a permit, on college campuses. Under the law, concealed firearms are allowed with a permit in state and local government buildings, and without a permit in most other places around Montana, including bars and banks.

The Montana University System and Democratic state lawmakers opposed the bill over concerns that it could lead to accidents and more students harming themselves on campus.

Ten other states currently allow the carrying of concealed guns at universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The campus provisions of Montana’s bill take effect June 1. Other changes go into effect immediately.

Kevin Trevellyan is Yellowstone Public Radio's Report For America statehouse reporter.