To Whom This May Concern,
Several months ago, I sent an email to your bank asking for your policy concerning customers lawfully carrying firearms into your branches. The response was a resounding “no weapons allowed,”
stating, “Montana and federal law prohibit carrying weapons into banks and credit unions.”
Once I informed your representative I was speaking to, of the law in Montana (and federally) concerning the legal ability to carry firearms into financial institutions, I was ignored. In this letter, I’d like to address that subject.
Montana code 45-8-328, states that concealed carry
is illegal in financial institutions. Open (or exposed) carry is not mentioned, which immediately makes that form of carrying a firearm in financial institutions legal
I understand this is a highly polarized and emotional topic. However, I hope with this letter to address some of the many reasons people enjoy the right to bear arms, and why we want to be afforded the protection we get to enjoy almost everywhere else in town, but not in most financial institutions.
Firearms, where carried by law-abiding citizens, have consistently been shown to be a deterrent to criminals. Several studies have been performed (some by the Department of Justice in the 1980’s, some by private individuals, and some by college professors) to show criminals are between 70 and 90% less likely
to commit their crimes if they know a citizen is armed. There are many situations where this has shown true, over the past several years - and even recently in financial institutions. These studies were conducted by interviewing maximum security felons at various prisons. The felons were asked several questions about the likelihood of robbing a place (or person) if they know citizen(s) had guns. The resonating response was “no.”
When the same felons were asked if they were afraid of Law Enforcement, most of them responded with “no.”
What does this mean? This is saying that criminals are far less likely
to commit their crimes against the innocent when they know citizens have firearms. Considering financial institutions have the single-most sought after thing criminals want: money. The ability for people to protect themselves when dealing with their hard-earned money, in a financial institution (especially since financial institutions have a lot of money on-hand), firearms should be welcome with open arms.
I recently saw an article stating that Yellowstone County, Montana made 14th position, on the Top 30 list of the most armed counties in America. The article cited that 48.7 percent of residents owned firearms. Banning firearms on the guise of “it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad” is stereotyping all gun owners as bad guys.
I come from a background of guns. My father was in the Air Force, and his father was also in the Military. I’ve been around guns my whole life. I’ve taken the Montana Conceal Carry course, and regularly train with my pistol. I am very safe and responsible with my pistol. What I ask of you is not to create a pro-gun policy necessarily, but rather a firearm-neutral policy - similar to Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and so on.
Currently, I am in need of a bank to open a business account, and several personal accounts. I would gladly store my money with you, but I need the ability to protect myself within your bank. Please consider changing this policy, inform me in writing of the change, and I will start an account at my earliest available date. Firearms are nothing to be scared of. Similarly, cars are nothing to be scared of. It’s the person behind the trigger, or behind the wheel. And it’s quickly obvious who’s following the law, and who’s not. Please don’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Law abiding citizens will protect themselves, and anyone else they possibly can. Criminals must learn who to victimize, and I can’t afford to be a victim.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts.