On September 28, the City Council in Missoula, Montana, ignored public outcry over a proposed ordinance to ban private gun sales in city limits, and ten council members voted to take the next step by planning a public hearing for the ban.
On September 24, Breitbart News reported that Democrat Mayor John Engen of Missoula, Montana, a handful of City Council members, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’s Nancy de Pastino were working to push through the ordinance that would ban private sales in the city, with few exceptions, by requiring a background check for every gun sale–retail or private.
At that time, the Missoulian reported that Ward 1 council member Bryan von Lossberg–the ban’s sponsor–suggested gun owners would support it, too, because “the vast majority of gun owners who want to do transfers are law-abiding citizens … [who] see value in making sure people who are mentally ill, the felons–the three prongs of the test–can’t acquire a gun.” Lossberg’s ban on private gun sales is also supported by council members Marilyn Marler and Emily Bentley, along with Mayor Engen.
Moms Demand Action’s Nancy de Pastino also voiced support for the ban, claiming, “Background checks are the single most effective way to save lives by keeping guns out of dangerous hands.” Pastino made no reference to the fact that Elliot Rodger–the 2014 Santa Barbara gunman–passed a background check for his gun, as did Gabby Giffords’ attacker Jared Loughner, Aurora theater gunman James Holmes, and alleged Louisiana theater gunman John Russell Houser.
Ward 3 council member Alex Taft was one of the ten council members who voted to send the proposed ban to a public hearing. He justified his support of a hearing by pointing to the female support for the ban, claiming it was reminiscent of female support of laws against drunk driving via Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. But the Missoulian reports that Ward 2 council member Adam Hertz countered Taft by reminding him there is no constitutional right to drink and drive, but there is a constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
Moreover, Hertz explained that the ordinance Lossberg, Engen, and Moms Demand Action are pushing is in conflict with state law and, therefore, illegal. Hertz said, “This ordinance is blatantly in violation of state law. If we pass this ordinance, we can certainly expect to see litigation.”
Ward 4 council member Jon Wilkins addressed the outcry that followed news of the proposed ban and said he has not made up his mind as to whether he will support it. He said he does “support the public meeting,” where he hopes “people can at least be civil.”
A public hearing on the proposed ban on private gun sales will be held in October.
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