Missoula City Council Approves Background Check Ordinance

These laws keep spreading like a disease…


Missoula City Council approved an ordinance requiring background checks on private gun sales and transfers.

The 8-4 vote came after a three-hour meeting and more than a year of public outcry over the proposal, which critics say can’t be reliably enforced within the city and does nothing to prevent criminals from buying guns.

“I visited three gun counters in Missoula and in talking with the clerks who would be enforcing this ordinance, all three said they would not do background checks for the city because of time constraints, liability constraints and the fact that they would be responsible in perpetuity for each ATF Form 4473 they processed,” said Dennis Gordon, a city resident, in comments submitted to the council. “I also discovered that the gun counters are not always staffed by clerks who can conduct background checks. If I am going to be thwarted in my attempt to comply with this proposed ordinance, I wonder how easy it would be to simply circumvent it.”

Gordon said he could drive outside of city limits, where the ordinance wouldn’t apply, in under 10 minutes.

“My point is … you need to provide us with a reliable means with which to comply with this ordinance,” he said.

Councilors Bryan von Lossberg, Marilyn Marler and Emily Bentley sponsored the ordinance last fall. At Monday’s meeting, von Lossberg reiterated passing the measure “was the right thing to do” as a responsible gun owner and would prevent suicides and domestic violence involving firearms.

“It’s the smallest inconvenience really considering the consequences of putting guns in dangerous hands,” said Nancy de Pastino, founder of the Montana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are not talking about whether or not somebody can possess a gun. We’re not talking about taking anyone’s right away to buy a gun. Nobody is here to debate that tonight.”

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