Tim Fox

Fox overturns Missoula gun ordinance

Helena – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has issued an Attorney General opinion that nullifies a Missoula City Council ordinance that would require background checks for private gun purchases within Missoula city limits.

Fox ruled Thursday that the ordinance violates state law stating that, “Plainly interpreted, the Montana Legislature has prohibited all forms of local government from exercising any regulatory power over the purchase, sale or transfer or firearms.”

The Missoula City Council passed the ordinance last year requiring a background checks on all private gun sales within city limits.  The same day the ordinance past Montana Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen immediately requested a formal opinion from the Attorney General’s office on whether or not the ordinance violated state laws.

Attorney General Tim Fox noted that the only situations where Montana law allows government to regulate guns n sales are in cases dealing with “convicted felons, not aw-abidding citizens looking to purchase, sell or transfer a firearm.”

In Montana, an Attorney General’s opinion has the force of law unless it is overruled by the court.

Missoula has not decided if it will seek to appeal Fox’s ruling.