Gov. Steve Bullock Wants to Bar Montanans from Possessing Commonly Owned Semiautomatic Guns

Ryan Houston/Getty Images
Ryan Houston/Getty Images

Gov. Steve Bullock (D) announced Sunday that he would support prohibiting Montana residents from buying and possessing commonly owned semi-automatic firearms.

Bullock was a guest on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper when he made clear his desire to bar Montanans from having such guns.

Tapper asked Bullock if he would support a banning the commonly owned semi-automatic rifles, and Bullock replied, “You know, I would, Jake.”

He couched his support as part of family safety, saying, “If we really step back for a minute, I think most folks, be it in Montana or elsewhere, that are firearms owners want to keep themselves and their families safe.”

Bullock is likely to face two problems in trying to prohibit law-abiding Montanans from purchasing commonly owned semi-automatic firearms.

The problem arises from crime reports showing AR-15s, AR-10s, AK-47s, are not a gun of choice for criminals.

The few times they are used usually receive heavy media coverage, thereby raising their profile. On October 16, 2017, Breitbart News reported the FBI’s 2016 Uniformed Crime Report, showing that over four times as many people were stabbed to death with knives as were shot with rifles of any kind.

That means over four times as many people were stabbed to death than were shot and killed with lever action rifles, bolt-action rifles, single shot rifles, and AR-style/AK-style rifles combined.

The second problem with Bullock’s push is that Montana is a major state for hunting and outdoor sports, and AR-15s and AR-10s are widely popular in hunting applications.

In a “White Paper” published last year by the Washington Post, ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk actually argued that the ATF should rethink its categorization of “assault weapons” because numerous weapons still be categorized that way are widely used in hunting sports.

Turk wrote, “Since the sunset of the Assault Weapons ban in 2004, the use of AR-15s, AK-style, and similar rifles now commonly referred to as ‘modern sporting rifles’  has increased exponentially in sport shooting. These firearm types are now standard for hunting activities.”

Bullock’s ban would have a strong negative impact on Montana’s hunting economy.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at Sign up to get Down Range at


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