Montana State Representative Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) sponsored HB 459, which is set to go into effect on October 1, 2013. The legislation was put into place to protect the privacy of gun owners in the State of Montana.
According to the legislation, the State of Montana mandates that no health care provider or health care facility may do the following:
- refuse to provide health care to a person because the person declines to answer any questions concerning the person’s ownership, possession, or use of firearms; or
- require that a person, as a condition of receiving health care, complete an application or other form that contains questions about a person’s ownership, possession, or use of firearms.
The new law will not allow health care providers to inquire about the possession of firearms by their patients. It will also prevent them from questioning them about the use and ownership of firearms.
Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, signed the legislation into law to address concerns of gun owners that questioning by health care providers might be used as a collection tool and become the information might be centralized. This would then open the patient’s privacy up to anti-gun bias by those same providers.
The Montana law affects not only medical practitioners, but also psychological practitioners as well.
According to Gary Marbut of Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), “When originally introduced, HB 459 only specified that health care practitioners could not refuse treatment because a patient declined to answer questions about firearms. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee expanded the measure to also forbid providers from even asking patients questions about firearms. The House approved that change and the Governor signed the bill.”
“Because firearms are so ubiquitous in Montana and so unrelated to health care,” Marbut continued, “we think this is very positive public policy by the Legislature. This new law is very suitable for Montana people and for Montana culture.”
MSSA was founded in 1989 and since that time they have seen 63 pro-gun and pro-hunting bills passed in Montana. Well done MSSA and people of Montana!
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