The gun rights champions of 2011



Two weeks back, the Indy offered up a preview of the Missoula Shooting Sports Association's 2011 legislative agenda and some of the more radical proposals MSSA President Gary Marbut hopes to see pass through the session. Now the champions of the MSSA's agenda are coming out of the woodwork. A quick glance through the current list of legislative drafts has helped put some names to the issues highlighted in the MSSA's agenda.

No surprise that Sen. Joe Balyeat is already lining up with the gun lobby for 2011. The Republican from Bozeman tackled a number of hunting bills in 2009—including a successful provision for nonresident college student combination game licenses and a not-so-successful revision to the state's wolf policy. He's standing tall with the MSSA once more this year, requesting a bill straight off the association's agenda to monitor and control diseases among wolves.

Sen. Greg Hinkle, R-Thompson Falls, has also made an impressive push on the pro-gun rights front so far, requesting no fewer than 10 pieces of legislation specifically addressing MSSA concerns. Hinkle, a familiar name at the Indy, is championing the gun lobby cause on everything from an expansion of concealed weapon rights to the establishment of a state Home Guard under the direct command of the governor. At this point, Hinkle's definitely heading the charge sounded by Marbut this fall.

Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent appears to be starting a legislative run-down of his own in advance of the session. We'll continue to keep an eye on gun lobby developments and champions as the legislature prepares to convene Jan. 3.

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