(UM Legislative News Service) Amanda Penley, a senior at Capital High School, said one way to reduce gun violence in Montana is through public education.
Penley and 11 other students from across the state spoke in support of House Bill 477 in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.
“Today, we are presenting a bill that is the product of dozens of meetings with students, teachers, parents and gun owners from across the state,” Penley said.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Moffie Funk, D-Helena, would require the state Office of Public Instruction to develop and maintain a firearms safety course that local school districts can choose to adopt.
Funk said OPI has some gun safety education on their website, which is based off of NRA suggestions, but says it’s pretty inaccessible.
“It’s extremely difficult to find. I searched and searched and finally reached out to OPI and they sent me a direct link,” Funk said.
Language that would fine safety instructors up to $1,000 who would negligently leave loaded firearms accessible to children was removed while it was in the House.
The House passed the bill last month with a 61-35 vote.
Tim Pierce is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Greater Montana Foundation and the Montana Newspaper Association.