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Student-inspired gun safety legislation clears Montana House of Representatives

Posted: 11:31 AM, Mar 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-29 13:32:01-04

HELENA – Helena high school student-supported and inspired gun education legislation passed the Montana State House of Representatives on Thursday.

House Bill 477  passed by a margin of 61-35 on its third reading and is now headed to the Senate.

The legislation would require the Office of Public Instruction to develop model firearm safety training policies and procedures.

It would then be up to the individual school districts to implement the safety training at their discretion.

HB477 was based on input from the members of  Helena Youth Against Gun Violence  (HYAGV) who say they are thrilled to see the bipartisan support.

“We initially weren’t actually expecting to get it passed through committee,” said Clara McRae, co-founder of HYAGV, “So it is pretty crazy we made it through all three steps through the House.”

“We’re really grateful for all the representatives who came together from both sides of the aisle to get it passed and we’re looking forward to taking it to the Senate.”

McRae said she’s proud that Montana’s young voices are being heard on this matter.

“It’s important because we have a pretty up-close perspective on this because we’re actually in the schools right now,” added McRae.

HB477 originally had language that would criminalize leaving a firearm accessible to a child, but that section has been removed from the legislation.

-John Riley reporting for MTN News