By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service
HELENA – The House of Representatives unanimously rejected a Senate amendment Monday that would have allowed the Senate sergeant-at-arms to carry concealed weapons on public property.
The Senate amended and passed House Bill 280, which would allow lawmakers to carry concealed handguns on public property, in March on a 32-to-18 vote.
The bill will now be sent to a combined committee of House and Senate members to resolve disagreements on the bill before being sent to the governor. Since the bill was a House Bill, the Speaker of the House will appoint the committee to discuss the bill.
Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, is carrying the bill and rejected the amendment during House debate of the amendment.
“Unfortunately, they did not include the sergeant-at-arms on our side. I’m asking for a do not concur, as being only fair to the House of Representatives,” Brodehl said.
Democratic Sen. Pat Connell introduced the amendment during debate on the bill in the Senate. He says the sergeant-at-arms should be allowed to be armed just like legislators would be if the bill passes.
“This gentleman, as sergeant, has the responsibility to protect all our hind ends,” Connell said.
President of the Senate Scott Sales carried the bill for Brodehl in the Senate. During debate on the bill there, Sales said legislators sometimes get threats for positions they take.
“It would be very nice to have the protection that a firearm affords us, if in fact someone was to execute or decide that they wanted to go forward with that threat,” Sales said.
Sales called the amendment a “friendly” one during the debate.
Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has already vetoed two bills this Legislative session that would have expanded firearm carry laws in the state. One of those bills was carried by Brodehl and would have allowed a person to carry a firearm on United States Post Office property.
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.