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Tipsheet

Teen Launches Ballot Initiative to Allow Teachers to Be Armed in Montana Schools

Montana schools may soon become a little safer thanks to the efforts of one teen at Whitefish High School who filed draft language for a proposed initiative that would allow teachers to be armed in the classroom.

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Chet Billi filed draft language for a proposed initiative for the 2016 ballot this week with the Montana Secretary of State.

He'd like to see teachers at all levels carrying, including colleges, in accordance with state concealed-carry laws.

“I have an immense respect for firearms as well as a deep love for them,” Billi, who used to live in Alaska, told MTN News.

Disturbed by the fact that the “first thing the government seeks to do [after a school shooting] is take guns out of the hands of the very people who could have prevented the incident,” Billi decided to draft language for the proposed ballot initiative.

According to a spokeswoman for the Montana Secretary of State, that office sent the ballot language to the Legislative Services Division on Tuesday.

Legislative Services can make recommendations for revisions within 14 days. Ultimately the ballot language will require the approval of Secretary of State Linda McCulloch (a Democrat) and Attorney General Tim Fox (a Republican), all before signature-gathering can begin.

Billi says he has no specific plan yet for the sometimes difficult process of gathering signatures, but wanted to take the first step.

A measure to legalize concealed-carry on Montana's public college campuses passed the Montana Senate in the last Legislative session, but was died in the House on a 49-51 vote.

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“I think it’s admirable that (Billi) submitted the initiative,” said Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, reports NBC Montana. “Now, he can’t sign the initiative until he’s 18. But you can submit an initiative at any age.”

Billi needs to get 24,175 signatures to get the proposed initiative on the ballot in 2016.

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