Montana college students worry about their constitutional rights after judge blocks a state campus carry bill

The judge expressed 'doubt' over the state's 'authority' over gun regulation on public university campuses.

Montana students were disappointed, but not surprised, by the decision.

A Montana district judge has blocked the implementation of a bill in the midst of legal debates surrounding it. 

House Bill 102 would expand where individuals can carry firearms in the state by prohibiting “the Montana university system and Board of regents from infringing on Constitutional rights.”

The bill states “the board of regents and any unit of the university system may not regulate, restrict, or place an undue burden on the possession, transportation, or storage of firearms on or within university system property by a person eligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law and meeting the minimum safety and training requirements.”

Rachel Stevenson, a Montana State University student, told Campus Reform that she wasn’t surprised the bill was blocked. 

“Even though the Legislature had finally recognized students’ constitutional right to protect themselves, the University System and campus faculty had seemed to quite clearly not support the measure,” Stevenson said.

[RELATED: Emory Professor: The Second Amendment ‘was designed’ to keep ‘African Americans powerless and vulnerable’]

In blocking the bill, Judge Mike McMahon stated that “there is doubt who has the constitutional authority to regulate firearms on (Montana University System) campuses and other locations,” per the Independent Record’s reporting. 

Young Americans for Liberty Montana State Chair Dylan Dean told Campus Reform that “Young Americans for Liberty is stunned by the unelected Board of Regents [who supported the block] attempting to overturn the will of Montanans to exercise our constitutional rights on public campuses.”

[RELATED: UCLA prof: ‘I don’t see the Second Amendment as absolute, just like I don’t see the First Amendment as absolute’]

Stevenson further stated that it’s a disappointment that “students are unable to protect themselves how they see fit, and this is coming from someone who has never shot a gun in her life. Being on a college campus does not mean our rights’ are free to be infringed.”

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