Members of the public will have the opportunity to testify about a proposed amendment to the city of Belgrade’s weapons ordinance Aug. 2 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
The amendment was drafted following the Legislature’s passage of House Bill 102, which was subsequently signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Greg Gianforte.
City Attorney Rick Ramler explained during last week’s City Council meeting that the current Belgrade ordinance does not allow firearms to be carried on publicly owned property in the city. But he said the new law resulting from HB 102 allows anyone in Montana who is permitted to own a firearm to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
However, the new law also enables local governments to prohibit open carry and unpermitted concealed carry with within a municipal building.
“That’s what the amendments to this ordinance would do,” Ramler told the council.
He added that restricting concealed carry by someone with a permit is allowed by law only in courtrooms and areas in city buildings that are used by court personnel and in restricted areas of a law enforcement agency.
The proposed amendment also would provide for optional screening for firearms in city-owned buildings – most likely with a metal detector – but that would not be mandatory, Ramler said.
In response to concerns raised by two members of the public during the meeting, City Manager Ted Barkley said the city has no interest in trampling on citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
“The feature for allowing for screening is not something that necessarily would be done on a regular basis,” he said. “But if there were something particularly controversial or volatile, it would allow people to be screened coming in.”
Copies of proposed Ordinance 2021-3 can be reviewed at City Hall.