Posted: Aug 29, 2012 12:00 PM by Beth Beechie - MTN News
Updated: Aug 29, 2012 12:06 PM
GREAT FALLS- Hunting season is right around the corner, and that means lots of Montanans will be looking to purchase a gun for the first time, or might be getting back onto the hunting scene.
"It doesn't even matter what state, it's a federal form, that form has to be filled out," explained Electric City Shooters Supply owner Kevin Lake.
If you're looking to be a first-time gun owner or looking to buy another firearm, if you step into a gun shop, you'll most likely fill out some paper work for an instant background check via the FBI National Instant Check System.
"It's basically to make sure that whoever's getting-purchasing a firearm, it legally able to own one," Lake said.
The process takes about 15 minutes according to Lake, and gun dealers will either get a "proceed," "delay" or "denial" for the consumer. Rarely a person is denied but can be if he or she has a felony record or fails to meet other prerequisites.
People who have concealed weapons permits, however, won't go through those federal checks because they go through a different set of hoops to obtain their permit.
"Montana's a big state and everybody seem like they have a gun. And I'd say 99 percent of the people that own a gun are responsible with the gun," Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards told us.
Sheriff Edwards says applying for the concealed weapons permit proves that responsibility, saying he sees about 40 to 60 permit renewals and requests from women who are 80 years old to 18-year-old men.
He added they're all just trying to do the right thing," cause we ask them, we ask 'why do you want a concealed weapons permit?' [and they say] 'so I can carry my handgun legally.'"
A concealed weapons permit covers either a handgun or knife with a blade longer than four inches physically on the person. A person must complete either an NRA certified course or complete hunters safety in order to get the permit.
The person wishing to get a permit must be a montana resident with a valid MT driver's license for at least six months and must at least 18 years old. And all this helps the Sheriff know you will responsibly carry a concealed weapon.
"You have to respect it. You have to know the firearm inside and out, it's not just something you go buy and shoot once and think you're proficient at it because it doesn't work that way," Edwards stated.
Both Edwards and Lake feel these qualifications and background checks are necessary for safety's sake.
"It's just the responsible thing to do. We don't want guns out there floating around with somebody that really shouldn't have one," Lake concluded.
It may be important to note that all guns gifted to other people are legal. The owner who originally purchased the firearm, however, could be subject to federal questioning if a crime were to have happened with the gun they gave away.