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How Gary Marbut Became 2020’s Top Grassroots Gun Rights Activist of the Year



The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has named Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, as Grassroots Activist of the Year for 2020.

The veteran Big Sky Country gun rights advocate spearheaded this year’s successful passage of LR 130, a measure that strengthened Montana’s state firearms preemption law. Marbut and MSSA not only successfully defeated a $2 million campaign opposing LR 130, they did it without spending any money, which was a remarkable feat.

Big money? No problem…

To fight the big money, Marbut put together a simple two-sided fact sheet and sent the text over social media as “camera ready.” The template was transmitted to people all over the state who then printed their own fact cards and handed them out. Marbut estimated a quarter-million of those cards were eventually produced and circulated.

“Gary Marbut has been a grassroots leader in Montana for decades,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “He’s one of those rare people who continually steps forward to meet a challenge, and you can always count on him to be around when something big gets done.”

Marbut’s activism began when he first testified before the Montana House Judiciary Committee in 1971. He says he didn’t get actively involved in the gun rights movement until almost two decades later, in 1989. He’s been at it ever since, traveling between his home outside of Missoula to the Capitol in Helena. Gottlieb quipped that Marbut probably knows that section of highway better than anybody else in the state.

‘I’m flattered and honored,” Marbut said upon learning of his award.

Marbut described his endeavors as part of a broad grassroots effort. He likes to say MSSA “has members in every Montana community,” and his organization gets some important support from people living outside the state, who may own property or vacation in Montana.

“Gary’s history as an activist is an example for others to follow,” Gottlieb observed. “He sees a challenge and meets it head on. He’s got a way of doing things that works, and he certainly deserves this recognition.”


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