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Missoula asks for ruling on AG decision blocking gun check ordinance

Posted at 3:24 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 17:24:03-04

MISSOULA – The city of Missoula is asking a district court judge to rule on whether a Montana attorney general’s opinion blocking the city’s attempt to impose new rules requiring gun background checks.

Missoula had started work on the ordinance in the fall of 2015, with the City Council interested in finding a way to block what was called the "gun show loophole," where guns sold privately weren’t subject to the same background checks as weapons purchased from retailers. After a year of refinement and discussion, the council approved the ordinance a year later.

But Montana Attorney General Tim Fox ruled that the ordinance overstepped the city’s authority under Montana’s constitution. That kept the city from enacting the rules. 

However, Wednesday morning the city filed a request for a declaratory judgment in Missoula County District Court, hoping to get a ruling on Fox’s opinion. Mayor John Engen says it’s the best way to resolve whether the city’s "self-governing powers" allow it to take a step to protect its citizens.