The Montana Supreme court ruled on Wednesday that the Montana Board of Regents has the sole authority to set policy regarding the possession of firearms on the Montana University System property.

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The unanimous Court held that the Montana Constitution specifically provides that government and control of the university system are vested in the Board of Regents, who shall have “full power, responsibility and authority to supervise, manage, and control” Montana’s universities and colleges.

This case was started due to House Bill 102, enacted in 2021, which generally revised gun laws to respect open and concealed carry of firearms. HB102 nullified a board policy limiting the use of and access to firearms on MUS campuses.

The Board of Regents sought a declaration from the District Court that HB 102 was unconstitutional as applied to the Board, the MUS, and the campuses of the MUS because the Board was constitutionally vested with full responsibility to manage and control the MUS and its properties.

The State argued that the Board did not have exclusive authority to regulate firearms on campuses. The District Court concluded that HB 102 violated the Board’s constitutional authority to regulate MUS campuses and thus was unconstitutional as applied to the Board. The State appealed.

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