BUTTE — A bill will be presented in the Montana Legislature that will change state gun laws and allow open and concealed carry in public places like college campuses.
Kevin McRae, Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education, said that the Montana University System testified as opponents to the bill.
"According to the best available data that we have been able to ascertain in the states that are experimenting with guns on campus there have been substantially more instances of accidental shootings, gun misfires, and other dangerous mishaps with guns then there have been instances of guns being the solution to many problems on campus," said McRae.
Currently, there’s a policy set by the Board of Regents that allows only police officers to carry firearms on campus with the exception that students who own firearms like rifles, or shotguns may store the gun in a safe facility on campus.
Asking students on the Montana Tech University campus what they felt about the policy, one student said he was all for open and concealed carry of guns on campus.
"I believe that it keeps our community safer so if there were to be an open shooter here, we would have people who would be able to defend against that and also, I think it decreases the chances of there being an open shooter because of the knowledge that there are people on campus that will be, that will actually be defending the campus," said AJ Seyer.
A student said that there should be training and evaluations required to conceal carry on campus.
"I would rather it be allowed for people who pass background checks and are evaluated by the local Sheriff’s department to be able to conceal carry on campus but I see open carry causing a lot more problems," said Cooper Knoll.
Another student said that openly carrying firearms would have a negative impact on students that have had bad experiences with firearms before.
"Some people could have traumas from maybe a gun experience so by seeing someone carry it might actually trigger that trauma," said Michael Mensah.