Montana News

News from around the state from Montana Public Radio.

Montana Public Radio News podcast

A hearing on requiring background checks for gun purchases happens tonight before Missoula’s city council.

The advocacy group Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America is backing the proposed city ordinance that would require criminal background checks for gun sales between private parties. Right now, those checks are only required for federally licensed firearms dealers.

The modified Sherpa aircraft can be used to carry smokejumpers and for other missions.
Courtesy Neptune Aviation/Cliff Lynn

Missoula’s Neptune Aviation has won a federal contract to modify military airplanes for use by the U.S. Forest Service.

Early Morning Fire Destroys Milltown House

Oct 16, 2015
Fire engine file photo.

A house in Milltown erupted in flames around 4:30 this morning. Both the East Missoula Fire crew and the Missoula Rural Fire responded immediately. Initial reports of the fire say residents reported smoke coming from a wall inside the house.

Wintertime El Niño Pattern

As we reported yesterday, this winter may be warmer and drier than normal in Montana. Experts base their predictions on El Niño, that band of warmer-than-normal ocean water in the Equatorial Pacific. Exactly how dry and warm could it be?

El Niño Could Expand Drought To Eastern Montana

Oct 15, 2015
Seasonal drought outlook

The continuing warm, dry conditions that have already extended the fire season are expected to last through the winter, forecasters say.

Gina Loss of the National Weather Service said today that an El Niño system is strengthening, increasing the likelihood of warmer winter temperatures, drier conditions, and possible expansion of the state’s drought to central Montana.

Three Ballot Measures Approved For Signature Gathering

Oct 15, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Secretary of State's office says the sponsors of three proposed ballot initiatives may begin gathering signatures in attempt to put them before voters in the 2016 election.

One of the proposed measures would allow adults to buy, possess and use marijuana, while the second would outlaw the drug completely, including for medicinal purposes.

On Monday night Missoula’s city council takes up a proposed ordinance that would require criminal background checks on nearly all gun sales in the city, including those between private parties.

Today, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said he believe such an ordinance, “is prohibited by state law and likely violates our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Montana Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker
Courtesy Montana Supreme Court

Montana’s courts are busy, and getting busier. Beth Baker is a Montana Supreme Court Justice.

"Right now [in] our district courts, the average is about 1,100 cases per judge. Last year we had a record number of filings, over 53,000. "

Kalispell will be the launching point for a series of public forums on helping people use Montana’s court system. The Montana Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is looking for help assessing what is and isn’t working as the state’s judicial caseload continues to grow at a fast clip.

1 Killed In Missoula Plane Crash

Oct 14, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Missoula County authorities say one person died when a small plane crashed soon after taking off from the Missoula International Airport.

Sheriff's office spokeswoman Brenda Bassett confirmed the fatality to KECI-TV. The station reports only one person was aboard the plane.

The single-engine plane crashed Wednesday afternoon near the airport's car rental lot.

The Missoulian reports the plane was airborne for about 10 seconds before it crashed and exploded.

No other details were immediately available.