Measure to Let Montana Teachers Carry Firearms Moves Forward

High school junior Chet Billi, 17, drafted the legislation recently approved the Montana Secretary of State. photo from guns.com

A voter referendum proposed by a teen from Helena, Montana that would allow any school employee in the state to carry a concealed firearm, has been approved by state officials to move forward, according to a story from krtv.com.

Chet Billi, 17, submitted draft language for the initiative earlier this year and says he'd like to see teachers, at all levels, including college, be able to carry concealed.

"This initiative will empower an armed good guy to be between our children and outside threats the whole time that they are at school," Billi said in a statement quoted by guns.com. "Those who have survived a school shooting know that it could have been stopped had someone been in the position to fight back. It shouldn't be a crime to protect our children."

Now that Montana's attorney general and secretary of state have approved the language, Billi can proceed gathering signatures for what is now called Initiative 175 and billed as The Montana School Safety Act.

According to the proposal, any school employee carrying would have to have a handgun permit. School officials also wouldn't be able to prohibit anyone from carrying legally on campus.

A social media page and website have been set up to draw attention to the referendum and it has gained support from the Montana Shooting Sports Association.

At least 24,175 signatures of registered voters supporting the measure have to be gathered for the referendum to win a place on the 2016 General Election Ballot. Billi says he will solicit Montana gun retailers for help.

Montana School Superintendent Denise Juneau says the proposal is both risky and unnecessary and that she will not support it, according to this story from mtpr.org.

"Because schools are supposed to be safe places for learning, adding guns into that mix threatens that," Juneau said. "It just has so much opportunity for crisis to happen that it's just a bad idea."

She added that schools in the state are actively working with law enforcement to develop crisis-response protocols for various situations and that she feels it's the best way to prepare for problems.

"If somebody is dead set on killing somebody, the law is the last thing on their mind," Billi said. "The way you stop someone like that is you put a gun in the victim's hands. The whole purpose of a concealed handgun is that nobody knows you have it."