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Montana Shooting Sports Association
2014 Sheriff Candidate Questionnaire

1.  Sheriff top law enforcement in county.  We believe that the elected county sheriff is the top law enforcement official in the county, including that the sheriff has more authority than state and federal law enforcement officials.  Do you agree with this or disagree?

(  ) Agree
(  ) Disagree

2.  Suit in federal courts.  A Wyoming sheriff and the Wyoming Sheriffs Association recently prevailed in a lawsuit in federal court asserting that federal law enforcement officials could not act in, or even enter, the county without the permission of the county sheriff.  The federal court ruled in agreement with that assertion.  Would you support a lawsuit in Montana asserting the same point?

(  ) Support
(  ) Neutral
(  ) Oppose

3.  Law Enforcement Cooperation.  Many Montanans, both citizens and people in public office, are concerned about the sometimes lack of accountability of federal officers conducting law enforcement operations in Montana.  In Montana, we know the county sheriff and he is elected and accountable locally.  We believe the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, and ought to have the legal tools to implement that status.  MSSA will offer a bill to required federal officers to obtain the advanced written permission of the local sheriff before conducting an arrest, search, or seizure in the sheriff’s county.  There are exceptions for federal reservations, Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service, close pursuit, when a federal officer witnesses a crime that requires an immediate response, if the sheriff or his personnel are under investigation, and other necessary exceptions.  This bill was passed by the Legislature before, but was vetoed by the Governor.

I would:
( )  Come to Helena to testify in support
( )  Support with letter or phone call
( )  Be neutral
( )  Oppose with letter or phone call
( )  Come to Helena to testify in opposition

4.  Firearms.  Some law enforcement professionals believe that guns outside the hands of law enforcement personnel constitute a hazard for law enforcement officers.  Others believe that the more citizens who are prepared to provide for their own personal protection the safer everyone is, including law enforcement personnel.  Do you agree with the first attitude or the second?

(  ) Guns are a law enforcement hazard
(  ) Guns in citizens' hands enhance safety for all

5.  Shooting Ranges.  Some people claim that established shooting ranges provide citizens with safe and suitable places to shoot, and thereby decrease incidents of questionable or irresponsible shooting.  Do you agree, and will you actively support retention and development of shooting ranges?

(  ) Support shooting ranges
(  ) Neutral about shooting ranges
(  ) Can't support shooting ranges
(  ) Oppose shooting ranges

6.  Law Enforcement Training.  Law enforcement training sometimes instructs officers to treat every armed person as a felony suspect for officer safety.  Other training acknowledges that many law abiding citizens possess and carry firearms, and that these citizens are not likely to be a threat to law enforcement officers.  Do you lean towards the former standard, or the latter?

(  ) Any armed person requires a felony stop approach
(  ) Armed citizens are unlikely to be a threat

7.  Concealed weapon permit holders exempt from prohibited places.  There will be a bill before the next session of the Legislature to exempt people who have applied for and obtained concealed weapon permits (sheriff-certified good guys and gals) from the prohibition on exercising their permits in the "prohibited places" currently in Montana law, bars, banks and public building.

I would:
( )  Come to Helena to testify in support
( )  Support with letter or phone call
( )  Be neutral
( )  Oppose with letter or phone call
( )  Come to Helena to testify in opposition

8.  Harmonizing concealed weapon permit (CWP) requirements.  Since 1991, a CWP has not been required for a law abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in 99.4% of Montana - outside the limits of cities or towns.  With over a decade of experience that not requiring CWPs for nearly all of Montana has not created any problems, we propose legislation to harmonize the law so a permit will no longer be required for a law abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in the remaining small part of Montana (6/10ths of 1%), inside cities and towns.  We intend to leave the permitting process in place, so citizens who desire them may still obtain CWPs for travel to other states that recognize Montana CWPs, and for firearm purchases at gun stores under the federal Brady Law.

I would:
( )  Come to Helena to testify in support
( )  Support with letter or phone call
( )  Be neutral
( )  Oppose with letter or phone call
( )  Come to Helena to testify in opposition

9.  Sheriff Richard Mack; "constitutional sheriff".  There has been a lot of publicity about former Sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona.  Mack is an outspoken advocate that a sheriff takes an oath to uphold the state and federal constitutions, and is obliged to protect the people of the county from those who would infringe on the rights the people have reserved for themselves from governmental intrusion in those constitutions.  Sheriff Mack has founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) I:

( )  Have never heard of Sheriff Mack or CSPOA
( )  Have never heard of Sheriff Mack or CSPOA, but I like the idea
( )  Have never heard of Sheriff Mack or CSPOA, but I don't like the idea
( )  Have heard of Sheriff Mack od CSPOA and I like the ideas he expresses
( )  Have heard of Sheriff Mack and CSPOA and I disagree with the ideas he expresses

10.  Oathkeepers.  A national organization called Oathkeepers is intended primarily for law enforcement and military personnel, but includes anyone who has taken an oath to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution.  Oathkeepers has a Website at, on which is a list of "Orders We Will Not Obey."  Do you agree with this list of "Orders We Will Not Obey?"

( )  Agree
( )  Uncertain
( )  Disagree

11.  Montana Home Guard.  The Montana Constitution says that all able-bodied people are in the militia.  State law divides the militia into the "organized militia" and the "unorganized militia."  State law further subdivides the organized militia into the National Guard and the Montana Home Guard.  The US Supreme Court ruled in Perpich v. US that whenever the Pentagon calls, a state's National Guard become federal assets and are no longer available to the state.  The Montana Home Guard is a state-only entity, but exists only on paper in the Montana law books.  And, the law on the books is very brief - just one page acknowledging the existence of the Montana Home Guard.  There will likely be a bill before the Legislature to flesh out the Home Guard with mission, responsibilities and scope, and making this all-volunteer, unfunded force available to the Governor or to the local sheriff.  According to this bill, locals could form medical, transportation, communications, forestry, scout, or other types of units with the permission of the Governor.  About this bill, would you:

( ) Travel to Helena to speak in favor of the bill
( ) Communicate with legislators in support of the bill
( ) Take no action
( ) Communicate with legislators in opposition to the bill
( ) Travel to Helena to speak against the bill

The foregoing responses are actually my positions on these issues, to the best of my knowledge and at this time.


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Thank you for being willing to serve your community in public office, and thank you very much for helping to provide us information about your views on issues of interest to us.

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