Montana Hall File, MSU File

A group of friends walks through Montana State University campus at sunset on April 2.

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The Montana University system plans to hold a public listening session next week as it prepares to implement concealed carry of firearms on its campuses.

The listening session is scheduled to take place two weeks before the Board of Regents plans to discuss and possibly vote on a new firearm policy during its May 26-27 meeting.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on Feb. 18 signed a new firearm carry law that will go into effect June 1 that limits the power of the Board of Regents to place restrictions on firearms on the university system’s campuses, raising questions of its constitutionality.

The Montana Constitution vests power to make decisions about University System policy to the Board of Regents. Critics of the new concealed carry law have said the new firearm carry law strips power to make decisions about firearm policies from the board.

It also expands where people can carry a concealed weapon, including allowing those without a permit to carry a concealed firearm in most public settings, including banks and bars. Those with a permit will be able to carry a concealed firearm in state and local government offices.

The university system’s Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee plans to hold a listening session on May 12 to hear student, staff and community feedback on draft recommendations for implementing the campus carry policy.

The committee plans to meet virtually from 1:30 to 5 p.m., with the listening session expected to begin at 3 o’clock. Those interested in participating must register online in advance.

The commissioner’s office is also asking for written public comment and feedback from students, faculty, staff and community members. People interested may submit written comment by email to

Faculty Senate decision

As the law’s implementation date nears, conversations around the constitutionality of it and the impact to campus life have picked up momentum.

The Montana State University Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting Thursday morning and voted to support its senate chairs, who are also members of the Montana University System Faculty Association Representatives, to join a MUSFAR discussion and vote regarding a possible challenge to the new laws constitutionality.

MSU Faculty Chair Michael Brody said he and chair-elect Bradford Watson “believe that it is important to ensure that the MSU Senators are aware of and actively engaged in conversations about the governance of the campus and especially as it regards the rights and responsibilities of faculty.”

No decision has been made regarding a challenge to state law but the MSU Faculty Senate will discuss the possibility of joining a legal challenge at a special meeting next week.

“The central issue that affects faculty is that the Montana Constitution has given authority to the BOR to govern the MUS campuses. Is the Montana constitution what it says it is,” Brody said in an emailed response to the Chronicle.

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Liz Weber can be reached at or 582-2633.

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