A new Montana law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte in February will allow students at public colleges to possess firearms on campus when it takes effect on June 1.
The bill allows college students to possess firearms without a permit, so long as they have the “express permission” of their roommate(s). Discharging the firearm, or even pointing it at another person, is still illegal, except when done in self-defense.
Students who have a disciplinary history involving interpersonal violence or substance abuse are not permitted to carry firearms on campus, and no students may possess a firearm at any event where the college or university has formally allowed the consumption of alcohol.
The Montana Free Press reports that caveats to campus carry policy were influenced by higher education leaders who were concerned about situations in which possessing a firearm, in their view, may be unsafe.
Montana will become the 12th state to establish campus carry by law, according to Students for Campus Carry. According to the same group, 23 states currently allow colleges to set their own policies regarding firearms on campus.
When Montana’s new law takes effect, the number will be reduced to 22.
CBS News reports that Montana has the highest rate of gun ownership nationwide, with nearly two-thirds of adults living in a household where a firearm is present.
At the same time, it has the 8th lowest murder rate in the country, according to USA Today.
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