Montana is one of the most permissive states for gun laws

Posted at 2:05 PM, Nov 22, 2019

HARDIN, Mont. -- The Race threw a dart at a map and it sent us to Hardin, Montana – population: 3,800.

We stopped in the Lariat Country Kitchen, where it didn’t take long to find strong opinions on gun laws.

“I have quite a few guns and I support the Second Amendment ya know, wholly,” said Ron Nedens, the first person we approached. “I would not readily give up my guns for anything.”

Nedens got his first gun at 12 years old. He says it's a way of life.

Montana is one of the most permissive states for gun laws. Openly carrying a gun is allowed in most areas. Concealed carry permits are offered, and concealed carry without a permit is allowed outside of a city, town or logging camp.

The City of Missoula is one area that has enacted tougher gun laws.

“My dad was an avid hunter, but we knew better than to mess with his guns,” said Penny Wagenaar.

Wagenaar says she has fired an automatic weapon, but she believes in tougher background checks and regulation on those types of guns.

“If it shoots a lot what do you need that for?” Wagenaar said. “It’d be just awful if you had to use it to protect yourself and harm somebody else.”

One time in his life, Nedens wanted to pull his gun while walking along a road with his wife in their tiny town.

“A carload of people came pulling up and swerved into us, trying to scare us off the road and then they went up the road and turned around and came back and tried to hit us from behind and finally stopped.”

They got out, six of them, drunk.

Nedens says he would have pulled his gun but wasn't carrying. He had a knife though.

“I believe if I would have had a gun I would have been, I would have felt a lot safer,” said Nedens.

Nedens says he loves guns for their beauty. He owns many he'll never fire. He wants the recreation and protection they provide. He says it's his right.

“I also like the freedom that I can do it if I want to. It’s a good deal and I’m glad I live in Montana.”