The Montana State Senate, by a narrow vote, endorsed a pro-gun bill on Wednesday that would allow people to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.

Author of the legislation Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association said the bill challenges a long held prohibition of guns on campus by the Montana Board of Regents.

"It declares that although the Board of Regents has been given considerable authority to manage the affairs of the university system, it is given no authority whatsoever to deny people in Montana the Constitutional rights that they have secured to themselves from government interference," Marbut said.

Marbut said the bill contains several stipulations that he said will make it more acceptable to opponents.

"For instance, we allowed the university to prohibit firearms at any event where alcohol is served, or where the university has authorized alcohol service," he said. " We have also put in a stipulation that a person could only have a firearm locked away in a dorm room, if that person has the permission of a roommate."

The measure, carried by State Senator Cary Smith of Billings, passed its first reading by a vote of 25-24.

Marbut said a similar bill was also passed in the last legislative session, but was vetoed by the Democratic governor.