During his monthly visit to our Talk Back show, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen took calls for the entire hour answering questions from listeners.

Knudsen answered one listener’s question about an effort in Congress to ban the sale of AR-15-type rifles.

“Bottom line, if you start talking about banning the AR 15 and making its ownership illegal, you are going to overnight, turn millions, literally millions of Americans into criminals, because that's how popular this rifle platform is,” said Knudsen. “And it's not a one size fits all. There are different derivatives of the AR 15 out there, but that's the problem when you start talking about criminalizing the AR 15 just because it looks scary to some people.”

Staying with the topic of firearms, Knudsen frankly admitted to being a ‘gun guy’, and a competitive shooter who said there is ample proof that ‘more guns equal less crime’.

“The scientific data shows us that that generally speaking more guns equal less crime,” he said. “More good guys with a gun deter bad guys doing bad things, and that's certainly the case in Montana. Our sheriffs are spread out. We've got large rural jurisdictions, and the sheriffs just can't be everywhere and they know that they have to rely on citizens being armed in some places helping them out where it's necessary.”

Knudsen once again took up the familiar theme about how fentanyl and methamphetamine are flooding into Montana causing a huge increase in crime.

“We are dealing with a huge, huge fentanyl and methamphetamine problem here in Montana,” HE SAID. “That's not hyperbole. That's a fact. You could talk to your sheriff go talk to your local police department. They will tell you the same thing. Those drugs and their usage in Montana are driving up all of Montana's violent crime. We talked about homicides, assault, assault with a weapon, sexual assaults, and rapes to go down the list. All of those violent crimes are trending up and have been for the last six or seven years and it's all because of these illegal drugs in Montana.”

Another caller referenced recent news articles accusing China of purchasing agricultural land near nuclear military facilities to hinder possible action by U.S. forces.

“We know the Chinese Communist government is doing this,” he said. “We know they're purchasing not just farm ground, but more. I think more concerning is where they're purchasing this farm ground. It just happens to be right next to strategic sensitive military installations. I can just about guarantee you this will be dealt with by the Montana legislature. I would be stunned if the legislature didn't come in here in a few months and debate this issue and very likely take some action on it to give us some kind of a preventative or enforcement mechanism.”

Knudsen, as Attorney General, is Montana’s chief law enforcement officer.

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