The States’ Rights Battle in Montana


The new battlefield for States’ Rights is Montana.  It’s all about cowboys and their guns and the spirit of the wild west, and the fact that liberal Easterners just don’t understand. If what I am hearing about that new gun bill is true, and you can’t “reload” a gun after it has been fired, life here in the west, where a gun is a matter of life and death, will be crippled.

Let’s put it this way, from what I’ve been told, no one in their right mind will even attempt a hike in our local Lincoln County mountains without at least a ’45 and a shotgun.  We’re talking lions & rattlesnakes & bears – oh my!

I never understood how important it was to be armed – to battle nature – until I moved to New Mexico.  My mother stays armed with her trusty BB Gun, which she uses to take out skunks on her back porch.  For more serious problems like huge raccoons, and the potential mountain lions, she calls a neighbor who comes well armed.

Montana now says that if a gun is manufactured in Big Sky Country, bought and sold there, and lives in Montana, it is exempt from Federal laws.

Yep, a fight’s a comin’!

“…Guns and states‘ rights both play well in Montana, the birthplace of the right-wing Freemen militia and a participant in the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s, during which Western states clashed with Washington over grazing and mineral extraction on federal land.

Montana’s leading gun rights organization, more hardcore than the National Rifle Association, boasts it has moved 50 bills through the Legislature over the past 25 years. And lawmakers in the Big Sky State have rebelled against federal control of everything from wetland protection to the national Real ID system.

Under the new law, guns intended only for Montana would be stamped “Made in Montana.” The drafters of the law hope to set off a legal battle with a simple Montana-made youth-model single-shot, bolt-action .22 rifle. They plan to find a “squeaky clean” Montanan who wants to send a note to the ATF threatening to build and sell about 20 such rifles without federal dealership licensing.

If the ATF tells them it’s illegal, they will sue and take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if they can.

Similar measures have also been introduced in Texas and Alaska.

“I think states have got to stand up or else most of their rights are going to be buffaloed by the administration and by Congress,” said Texas state Rep. Leo Berman.

Critics say exempting guns from federal laws anywhere would undermine efforts to stem gun violence everywhere.

“Guns cross state lines and they do so constantly, and this is a Sagebrush Rebellion-type effort to light some sort of fire and get something going that’s pleasing to the gun nuts and that has very little actual sense,” said Peter Hamm, communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

In a 2005 case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in California, even if the drug is for medical purposes and is grown and used within the state. The court found that since marijuana produced in California is essentially indistinguishable from pot grown outside the state, the federal government must have the authority to regulate both to enforce national drug laws.

Randy Barnett, the lawyer and constitutional scholar who represented the plaintiff in the California case, said that Montana could argue that its “Made in Montana”-stamped guns are unique and sufficiently segregated as to lie outside federal regulation….”


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