Posted: May 24, 2013 3:21 PM
Updated: May 24, 2013 6:11 PM
HELENA - The Montana Department of Transportation is considering arming its motor carrier officers with guns.
The agency confirms it's weighing the pros and cons of putting weapons in the hands of about 30 transportation workers who check the weights and sizes of semi trucks and other large vehicles.
MDT has not yet made a decision about whether or not they will proceed with arming its staff.
However, the Motor Carriers of Montana, which represents truck drivers all over the state, is adamantly opposed to the officers carrying guns.
Executive Vice President Barry "Spook" Stang says there is no reason for it.
"Right now, if there is a confrontation between an officer and a driver, it's usually a war of words and it doesn't escalate to the point where somebody pulls a gun," Stang explains.
"If you give those officers weapons, some of those drivers will say 'they got guns, we want guns,' " Stang says. "And frankly, the policy of most trucking companies is that they prohibit weapons in their vehicles."
Stang says he believes the agency will need legislative approval to arm their workers. However, the agency hasn't said whether or not that's the case.
Stang said he had heard the agency might be considering this policy so he polled his truck drivers and he says 97% of his members were opposed to the arming of MDT officers.
UPDATE: The headline incorrectly identified those who would be armed.