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Montana and guns

Looks like the bill exempting Montana from federal gun controls is heading to the governor:

Montana-made guns may form the basis for a court showdown over states’ rights if the governor signs a bill to release some firearms in the state from federal regulation.

The proposed law aims to exempt firearms, weapons components and ammunition made in Montana and kept in Montana from federal gun laws. Since the state has few gun laws of its own, the legislation would allow some gunowners and sellers in the state to skirt registration [note: there is no registration at the federal level for buyers – ed], licensing requirements and background checks entirely.

“We’d like to just be able to make our own guns here in Montana and have the feds stay out of it,” said Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, which helped draft the bill.

The real target, though, is the U.S. Supreme Court. And Marbut and others believe they can hit that mark with a simple Montana-made youth-model single-shot bolt-action .22 rifle.

In particular, they plan to find a “squeaky clean” Montanan who wants to send a note to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives threatening to build and sell about 20 such rifles without federal dealership licensing. If the ATF tells them it’s illegal, they will then file a lawsuit in federal court n with any luck triggering a legal battle that lands in the nation’s highest court.

House Bill 246 sailed through the Montana Legislature, but Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer has not yet offered a position on the measure, which awaits his action.

9 Responses to “Montana and guns”

  1. Sebastian Says:

    I don’t see how this overcomes Raich.

  2. Mikee Says:

    It doesn’t get past Raich, it attempts to get a rehearing at the Supreme Court level, to demonstrate that there may actually be some limits to the interstate commerce powers of the federal government. It has a good chance because it is using a constitutionally enumerated right to bear arms at a state level to challenge the overly broad reach of interstate commerce regulation.

    May not work, but it will produce some interesting amici briefs from those who will argue that, hey, even though the wood used in the stock and the metal used in the rest of the firearm was made from trees grown in Montana and from ore mined and smelted in Montana, the carbon used by the trees to grow themselves may have drifted in from Idaho, leading to an interstate federal issue.

  3. Slawson Says:

    As much as I like this, I think the supreme court’s ability to broadly interpret the interstate commerce clause. In the past it has been rules that a person living in the middle of nowhere growing all his own food affects interstate commerce because by growing all his own food he failed to take part in interstate commerce. You just simply cannot sew this up tightly enough.

  4. Kristopher Says:

    You can sew it up.

    An enumerated right in the BoR is an amendment. The article of the constitution that allows amendments states ( barely ) that amendments supersede existing articles … this includes the interstate commerce clause.

  5. Robert Says:

    Gotta love those Big Sky folks!

  6. Stranger Says:

    With almost forty plus years of observing ATF in action, I would not bet a moldy doughnut against a dollar that there is no gun registration at any Federal level.


  7. Lyle Says:

    Very Interesting.

    “…the carbon used by the trees to grow themselves may have drifted in from Idaho, leading to an interstate federal issue.”

    Mikee, that is awesome. Yeah, and the water had to drift in past the Coastal states, and the sunlight…to say nothing of interstate tectonic plate movement of ore deposits. And have all your machine tools originated in-state? What about the ammo you intend to use in said gun? Yup– the U.S. constitution gives the feds absolute power, even if mere concepts are capable of crossing state lines. Yeah; that’s what the Founders had in mind. No doubt.

  8. dagamore Says:

    While there is no real registration at the federal level, is only true if you ignore NFA weapons, and if you believe the ATFE that the NFA registry is 100% accurate.

    I wonder if the USSC allows the 22lr to be built, and not under Federal rules, since the weapons is made/sold only in Montana, would that then also allow for new NFA weapons to be build/sold for Montana residents?

  9. Chas Says:

    Markie Marxist sez: “Fortunately for us Marxists, America doesn’t believe in freedom, it believes in restriction. Any level of government can impose more restriction, but freedom can only be allowed if it fits within the hierarchy. Montana‘s effort to increase freedom against the federal government is doomed. We Marxists don‘t like freedom; we like restriction. It‘s a totalitarian thing.”

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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