Missoula councilman: Gun ordinance appeal not broader move to limit weapons

Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 18:32:58-04

MISSOULA – Missoula City Councilman Bryan von Lossberg says a decision to fight a ruling by the Montana Attorney General overturning local gun background checks isn’t part of a broader move to limit guns in the Garden City.

Missoula first tried to close the so-called “gun show loophole” in 2015, by passing an ordinance requiring background checks for privately sold guns, just like weapons at retail dealers.

It took a year to refine the rules but then, Attorney General Tim Fox stopped the ordinance by saying the city doesn’t have the jurisdiction to override provisions of the Montana Constitution.

Now, Missoula has filed suit in District Court asking a judge to review the case.

But Councilman Bryan von Lossberg, who’s been working the issue, dismissed the idea that the city is also trying to develop more restrictions, like a ban on “assault weapons”.

“There was kind of a question about might this head somewhere," von Lossberg said. "I think it’s the important point to recognize that the council is the legislative body. I was focused on background checks and the benefit, public safety benefit to the city with background checks. That’s the sole focus of this and why we’re doing it and why we’re continuing to have this dialog.”

In addition to contracting with local firm Boone Karlborg, the city is also accepting pro bono legal help from Everytown for Gun Safety to pursue the case.