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Two southwest Montana mayors sound off on gun violence

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jun 14 2013 10:55:32 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Two southwest Montana mayors want to see legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of folks who shouldn't have them.

Belgrade and Bozeman's mayors spoke on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

We were there when Sean Becker and Russell Nelson they addressed dozens of Bozeman locals today. They tell us there's a bigger issue at hand, that is, how do we improve gun safety and the safety of our communities.

They explain they believe in gun rights but also think background checks could help better preserve those rights.

We talked to attendees who say they gun violence touches a lot of lives.

"My very best friend all the way through school and college was murdered with a gun so, it's also personal to me," says rally attendee Dorie Green.

Mayor Sean Becker tells us he believes folks in the Bozeman community have a great respect for guns. He says people here go through hunter safety, use trigger locks and there hasn't been as many incidents of violent crime that other communities around the country have.

Yet, Becker says he still thinks there are small changes that can be made to the system to protect the rights of gun owners and community members alike so that a situation like the one in Newtown can be avoided in Bozeman.

"I am a firm believer in gun rights but I also believe that the gun rights in our country are going to be preserved over time by keeping guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them, that encumber on all of our rights," explains Becker.

Many attendees also signed a petition asking Senator Baucus to reconsider the Manchin-Toomey Compromise Bill. Supporters say it would have helped keep guns out of the hands of criminals by requiring background checks for commercial gun sales.

Local clergy and a representative from the National Organization of Women also spoke at the rally.