L to R Nick Dranias, attorney for Goldwater Institute; Gary Marbut; Quentin Rhoades, attorney for Marbut, MSSA
In a courtroom gun fight that has the potential to disrupt many of Barack Obama’s plans for national gun lists, laws and limits, attorneys have told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the U.S. Constitution does not give Washington unlimited authority to bulldoze over state efforts to protect the constitutional rights of their citizens.
At issue is the years-old Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which was argued before the appeals court in a special session in Portland, Ore.
The law simply says firearms made, sold and kept in Montana are not subject to federal interstate commerce regulations.
Attorney Nick Dranias, who represented the amicus parties of the Goldwater Institute and others in the arguments, said the case should be returned to the lower court for discovery and development of evidence, because it is a case of first impression and the lower courts dismissed it without that opportunity.
He asked the judges to remember that the federal government was created by the states and that the states granted certain limited powers to the federal government. Where those rights were not granted to Washington, the states’ people retain all rights….
Montana Shooting Sports Association leader decries gun-free zones
Gary Marbut’s phone is ringing all the time these days with calls from national news organizations, along with lawmakers and citizens.
As some gun rights advocates call for increased firearms control, and others clam up entirely, Marbut is the go-to guy for quotes about maintaining the status quo or – better yet, he’d say – loosening gun regulations.
“I hear people say there needs to be a national dialogue about these bad guns,” said Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. “I would respond to them to say I think there needs to be a national dialogue about the horrible public policy failure of the alleged gun-free zones. That’s the dialogue.”
Marbut is hardly alone in opposing gun-free zones. But for the past few days he’s been largely on his own as a gun advocate speaking openly about his positions in the aftermath of the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.
The National Rifle Association took down its Facebook page after the shooting. The page went back up Tuesday, with a statement from NRA President Wayne LaPierre saying “we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” and adding that the NRA will offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” Pierre promised a “major” news conference Friday.
The Newtown-headquartered National Shooting Sports Foundation (not affiliated with Marbut’s group) posted a short statement on its website Friday, the day of the shooting:
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of this horrible tragedy in our community. Out of respect for the families, the community and the ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or participate in media requests at this time.”
On Tuesday, it expanded upon that, pointing out that in a small community like Newtown, “not suprisingly, we had family, friends and acquaintances that were affected. We are weighed down by their heartbreaking stories and the sorrow that has blanketed our community.” That statement reiterated the group’s decision not to publicly discuss the issue.
Marbut said Tuesday that three issues require focus in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre: Perspective. Armed teachers. And gun-free zones.
He’s strongly in favor of the first two, and just as vehemently opposed to the last.
In terms of perspective, he likened the odds of a child being injured by “an insane active shooter” to being hit by lightning. In 2011, 240 people were injured by lightning and 39 died, according to the National Weather Service.
This year, the shootings in Newtown, at a Christian college in California and at a school cafeteria in Oregon killed a total of 36 people.
Marbut suggested that people concerned about protecting children might, “in a more rational world,” want to focus on the far greater risks posed by automobiles and water, he said. The Centers for Disease Control lists accidents as the leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 24. The second-leading cause for those ages 5 to 14 is cancer; for 15- through 24-year-olds, it’s homicide, according to the CDC.
As for arming teachers – and Marbut stressed that should be on a volunteer basis only – “if we believe that the potential for crazy people to shoot up schools is a genuine risk we need to address, then the rational way to do that … is to allow, through public policy, teachers who are willing to undertake the responsibility” to carry.
On Monday, Virginia Gov. Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., told a local radio station that a discussion is needed on arming teachers.
One school district in Texas has been allowing teachers to carry for years. Superintendent David Thweatt told Fox News in 2008 that “we are seeing a lot of anger in society. … When you make schools gun-free zones, it’s like inviting people to come in and take advantage.”
Marbut said such zones defy logic, requiring the belief that “some madman who will ignore the most profound prohibition for any society, the prohibition against taking innocent life … somebody who has crossed all those stark lines would get to the edge of a gun-free zone and think to himself, ‘They have a policy against guns here, so I’d better go home and play computer games.’ ”
“Anyone who believes that,” Marbut added, “needs help.”
When it comes to the Newtown shootings, Marbut said that “like everybody else, I was stunned that a human being could be so crazy as to do something like that.”
That was his first reaction. His second?
“I wish I could’ve been there. If I had been there, it would have been one (victim) and done.”
Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, firstname.lastname@example.org or @CopsAndCourts.
The Montana Shooting Sports Association has released its grades and
endorsements for Montana candidates for the upcoming General Election
in November. These grades and endorsements are available at:
Please Share this with ALL of your gun-owning and hunting friends in Montana.
MSSA evaluates candidates based on voting records of incumbents, on
returned MSSA Candidate Questionnaires, and on other information
known about candidates. MSSA also interacts with other entities,
such as the NRA, in establishing grades and endorsements, although
MSSA makes its own final decisions. The candidates MSSA has endorsed
are clearly the best people to represent gun owners and hunters in
the elected positions the candidates seek.
Please support the candidates MSSA has endorsed. “Support” means
contacting an endorsed candidate where you live and offering to help
with their campaign, making campaign contributions, writing letters
to the editor of the local paper about the candidate and MSSA’s
endorsement, posting an announcement about the candidate at local gun
clubs and shooting ranges, and informing all of your friends in the
candidates district about the MSSA endorsement.
Thanks for your help.
[TWG Note: I’m a huge fan of Gary Marbut’s work on behalf of our Second Amendment Rights, as well as many other liberty related efforts not just here in Montana, but across the entire United States. Mr. Marbut works diligently throughout the year, especially when our legislature is in session. He’s in Helena nearly every day our legislature meets and certainly every day they schedule legislation that would affect our gun rights and State Sovereignty issues. Mr. Marbut deserves whatever support we can provide for him in this coming election. WE NEED HIM……. BADLY. Please donate whatever you can afford to give in order to help Mr. Marbut win Montana’s HD99 race. Even if you reside in a different State, please support Mr. marbut. He’s working for ALL of us!]
From Mr. Gottlieb:
This is VERY IMPORTANT!
Gary Marbut has been one of the Nation’s most successful pro-gun political activists for nearly three decades. That’s why he was twice named Gun Rights Activist of the Year at the Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference.
Gary is now a candidate for the Montana Legislature. GARY NEEDS YOUR HELP. Gary needs some serious money to win his campaign against a liberal anti-gun lawyer.
Why should you help? Here are just a few of the 58 bills that Gary Marbut has written and lobbied through the Montana Legislature:
– Putting the right to hunt and fish into the Montana Constitution;
– The Shooting Range Protection Act, to protect shooting ranges from arbitrary closure;
– The Shooting Range Development Act, using hunter license dollars for matching grants to improve shooting ranges;
– The Self Defense Bill, strengthening many legal aspects of self defense in Montana;
– Montana’s “shall issue” concealed weapon permit law;
– The original Montana Firearms Freedom Act.
Many of the bills Gary has written and gotten passed have been a model inspiring clones of his bills in other states, like the Firearms Freedom Act, the Shooting Range Protection Act, and more.
Gary Marbut has worked long and hard for gun rights. Now we need to help Gary! If we can help Gary get elected, just think how much more effective he will be for us “on the other side of the table” as a full-time legislator instead of an un-elected, part-time volunteer.
To win his election, Gary needs the most generous contribution you can afford to send him – now. The maximum he is allowed by law to receive from any individual is $160, although you and another family member could each send $160.
If you can’t afford this much, please send $100, or $50, or whatever you can. Any amount is a big help. If you send $35 or more, Gary is required to report your occupation and employer, so please write those in the memo line of your check. Corporate checks aren’t allowed.
Please send whatever contribution you can, right now, to:
Montanans for Marbut
P.O. Box 16106
Missoula, Montana 59808
Or… You can contribute online at the link below:
Gary has always stood with us – now we need to stand with him. My personal thanks for whatever you can do.
TWG Note: Wondering about the upcoming Montana GOP Primary? Me too. This, from one of the TOP Gun Rights and Freedom Advocates in this Nation, Mr. Gary Marbut. Mr. Marbut is the President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. We can Thank Mr. Marbut for a plethora of very successful bills, including the Firearms Freedom Act. Mr. Marbut has been a vigilant and diligent proponent for our Second and Tenth Amendments, not just here in Montana, but across this Nation. You can learn more about Mr. Marbut’s efforts and about the Montana Shooting Sports Association by visiting the following sites:
Here is Mr. Marbut’s assessment of the upcoming Montana. You can find the original text at: http://progunleaders.org/MTGOPPrimary.html
The View from MSSA
Usually, after pouring over candidate voting records from previous public service, and examining returned candidate questionnaires, MSSA would like to make an endorsement in a race as important as the one for Governor of Montana.
There are seven Republican candidates facing off in the upcoming Primary Election on June 5th. Historically, to endorse any one candidate, MSSA wants to see one letter grade gap between the endorsed candidate and others, an “A” versus a “C”, or a “B” versus a “D.” (We don’t endorse candidates for the Primary who don’t earn at least a “B” grade.)
In the Republican Primary race for Governor, we simply cannot identify any candidate that is head-and-shoulders better than the rest – with a letter grade gap above the others. So, MSSA will make no endorsement in the Republican Primary for Governor.
If I ended this message right here, I can imagine that most GOP Governor candidates would be satisfied, although maybe some disappointed.
However, I can also imagine many MSSA members saying or thinking, “Come on Gary. You know these candidates. You’ve worked with them, tracked their votes in the Legislature, talked with them, watched their performance, and surveyed them. We need whatever information you can pass along in order to make an intelligent choice in the Primary.” Right.
So, I feel MSSA owes its members at least some information about the various candidates. In lieu of an MSSA endorsement, let me tell you what I know and what I think (I’ll mix the two) about the various candidates.
I tend to want to place political figures on a spectrum from liberal to conservative. Because those are fuzzy terms as commonly used, let me tell you how I define them. I think of a modern (not classic) liberal as a person who tolerates or favors shifting power, choice and money from people to government. I think of a conservative as a person who would prefer to shift power, choice and money from government to people. Those are generally the definitions I will apply here. I will also discuss what is known about each candidate’s position on the right to keep and bear arms, MSSA’s prime focus.
As far as I know, there are no out-and-out liberals in this Republican Primary race, but some appear to be more or less conservative than others. Here’s what I know or believe, working from the most conservative to the least conservative. (BTW, these candidates will ALL probably end up disliking all or parts of my assessment – comes with the turf if I’m to give MSSA members an honest review. I know most of these candidates personally, and count them as friends. I hope they’re still friends after they read my comments.)
Bob Fanning & Joel Boniek
The most conservative of the candidates is Bob Fanning. Fanning has a good grasp of constitutional principles. He’s a firm advocate for states’ rights. He has far more time and energy invested in wolf control than any other candidate, maybe than all candidates combined. Fanning has been a CEO and a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. He understands economics. Fanning returned a great MSSA candidate questionnaire. Bob likes to describe himself as a “Montanan by choice; not by accident.” He moved here over a decade ago to deliberately become a Montanan. Fanning has not previously held any public office in Montana. Bob buys big game tags every year and is an elk hunter. He is not as acquainted with the details and processes of state government as some other candidates. Fanning hasn’t raised a lot of money, and he got off to a late start with is campaign. His running mate is former Rep. Joel Boniek, a philosophically-pure guy who carried the Montana Firearms Freedom Act for MSSA when it passed in 2009. I’d say Fanning’s chances of getting into the Governor’s office are a long shot. He’d have a steep learning curve if he got there, but would be something of a breath of fresh air for Montana in the Governor’s chair.
Ken Miller & Bill Gallagher
Former State Senator Ken Miller is very nearly as conservative as Fanning. Miller also has a strong bent towards states’ rights and individual liberty. Miller has FAR more effort invested in the Governor race than any other candidate. He’s been actively campaigning for over a year and has crisscrossed Montana multiple times meeting locally with any groups of people who wanted to meet him. Ken was Chairman of the state GOP for a cycle, and managed to shake up and out that good-old-boy GOP structure some to make the GOP a more effective organization. As GOP Chairman, he was willing to make more hard decisions than some others who have held the post. When in the Montana Senate, Miller always supported MSSA’s pro-gun bills. Miller returned a very good MSSA candidate questionnaire, although with reservation about MSSA’s proposal to stimulate smokeless powder and primer manufacture in Montana. Ken and his wife Peggy are both big game hunters. Ken grew up in Montana, and has been a successful small business owner in Montana. In statewide polling, Miller continues to run a close second place in terms of support among likely Republican voters. Miller’s running mate is Bill Gallagher, a Helena attorney currently elected to the Montana Public Service Commission. Because both Miller and Gallagher have served in elected public office at the state level, they have a good grasp of how state government works and perhaps, because of that, an enhanced ability to translate Miller’s philosophy into deeds.
I see a bit of a gap on the liberal-to-conservative spectrum between these candidates and the next two.
Neil Livingstone & Ryan Zinke
Neil Livingstone is an interesting guy, albeit a bit mysterious. Although born in Montana, Neil has spent much of his life immersed in the murky world of international business, intelligence and clandestine operations, both in Washington, D.C., and overseas. Livingstone speaks forcefully about his commitment to constitutional principles, and he definitely wishes to roll back what he sees as extreme environmentalists’ suppression of the natural resource industry in Montana. Livingstone returned a fine candidate questionnaire, although he had some un-detailed concerns about MSSA’s “Sheriffs First” proposal. Livingstone has not held elected office in Montana. While expressing strong support for the right to keep and bear arms, Livingstone did select a running mate, State Senator Ryan Zinke, who formerly expressed a very definite opinion that “civilians” should not be allowed to own .50-caliber rifles. Livingstone quickly explains that he and former SEAL commander Zinke have come to terms about .50-caliber rifles, and Zinke now whole-heartedly supports civilian ownership of such firearms, as does Livingstone. Livingstone has a forceful personality. There are concerns expressed by some, however, that he has not spent enough time in Montana in recent years to have a good sense of Montana issues and Montana culture. Livingstone has not hunted in Montana, but says he has hunted in Eurasia and Africa. Livingstone is supported by a number of former high-ranking military and government officials of excellent national repute, many of whom are not Montana residents. Were Livingstone elected Montana Governor, one gets the impression he would kick ass, and that the timid and naysayers would do well to keep out of his way. With his long employment, connections and experience with the federal government, one would hope that his total allegiance would be to Montana, rather than to the federal government or influences from D.C. or elsewhere.
Corey Stapleton & Bob Keenan
Both Stapleton and Keenan are former state senators, both with good conservative credentials, and both of them are known as proven supporters of the right to keep and bear arms – excellent guys. Stapleton is a graduate of Annapolis, a strong recommendation by anyone’s standard. Stapleton did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire, but, based on his past votes in the Montana Senate, I believe he would support most of the issues MSSA plans to have before the 2013 Legislature. Because both Stapleton and Keenan have long experience in the Legislature, they also know how state government works and how to translate their philosophy into deeds at the state level. They would also be realistic, even pragmatic, about what a Governor can accomplish. Stapleton’s campaign has not been highly visible. There is a concern that because Stapleton has been (and presumably still is) an officer in the U.S. military, the federal government might be able to “pull rank” and command his loyalty in any disagreement between Montana and the federal government.
Continuing to work from the conservative end of the political spectrum gets us to:
Rick Hill & Jon Sonju
Rick Hill was formerly elected to represent Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his running mate, Jon Sonju, has been in the Montana Senate. Both are experienced hands in the process of politics. Hill is currently thought my many to be the front-runner in this seven-way Republican Primary. He is reported to lead in fundraising, and is known to be supported by many “old guard” Republican figures. Although Hill did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire, he did speak to the MSSA Annual Meeting in Helena in March (as did Fanning, Miller and Livingstone), where he expressed strong support for the right to keep and bear arms. It is unknown how this strong expression will translate to the details of MSSA’s legislative agenda in 2013. I expect he would support most of those issues, but with no returned candidate questionnaire and no voting record from the Montana Legislature, that’s just my educated guess. Hill is reputed to occasionally hunt upland game birds. Sonju has been a solid supporter of gun issues in the Legislature, and his family manufactures firearms in the Kalispell area. It is argued by some that the nature of Hill’s work and experience in D.C. and Montana may make him more vulnerable to attacks by the Democrats in the General Election, making it difficult for him to win the General Election, although Democrats will certainly attack whomever becomes the Republican candidate for the General Election. Hill recently released a statement asserting need to better manage wolves to prevent negative impact on game herds. While quite welcome, this recent interest by Hill is seen by some as being a bit late and lacking the strong intent needed to resurrect Montana’s predator-decimated game herds.
Jim Lynch & Al Olszewski
Current Governor Brian Schweitzer (a Democrat) appointed Jim Lynch to be Director of the Montana Department of Transportation. In that office, Lynch says that he has made maintenance of the Montana highway system much more effective and efficient. He wishes to bring the same management techniques to the Governor’s Office. Lynch has been an insider in state government long enough to know how things work, although he hasn’t been involved in the political machinations used to turn eggs into an omelet. Lynch did return a very good MSSA candidate questionnaire, a plus for him, although MSSA puts more credence in a voting record history than in a candidate questionnaire. I know nothing about Lynch’s running mate, Al Olszewski. It is said that Lynch has made numerous political donations on record to Democrat candidates, although that may just be an unspoken job requirement to work for Governor Schweitzer. It is my fuzzy opinion that Lynch is probably a pretty good manager, but I have not heard others who know him speak of his conservative philosophy or credentials.
Jim O’Hara & Scott Swingley
Jim O’Hara is elected as a County Commissioner of Choteau County. He did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire. I haven’t met O’Hara and really don’t know anything about Jim or his running mate, Scott Swingley.
I’ve tried seven times to write a conclusion, but I’m just not getting there. I guess you’ll have to draw your own conclusion. I hope this has been helpful.
Guns are Gary Marbut’s life. A self-employed, self-sufficient jack-of-all-trades who lives outside of Missoula, Mont., Marbut says that if he didn’t cast his own bullets, he couldn’t afford to shoot as much as he does: 10,000 to 15,000 rounds per year.
He shoots in both rifle and handgun competitions, teaches concealed weapons classes (he’s had about 3,500 students), manufactures target equipment, and hunts elk with a .44 Magnum revolver, because it’s more challenging: He has to “sneak-creep” to within 50 yards of an elk to take a shot. In 1989, Marbut also founded what is arguably the most assertive state-level gun-rights group, the Montana Sports Shooting Association. He says his gun-rights advocacy is partly about “individual and personal freedom, and he has been the main leader pushing “55 pro-gun, pro-hunting bills” through the Montana Legislature.
During every session of the Montana Legislature, as president of MSSA, Marbut spearheads the group’s lobbying effort for pro-gun rights legislation. He has entrenched himself in this kind of gun battle for more than 20 years, and earned national recognition in 2009 by successfully pushing for passage of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act…… (Con’t Below)
[TWG NOTE: Gary Marbut, with the Montana Shooting Sports Association, is absolutely relentless in his efforts to protect our Second Amendment Rights, not only here in Montana but nationwide. He’s been instrumental in implementation of the Firearms Freedom Act and works diligently with lawmakers on our behalf. PLEASE consider supporting his efforts by joining his organization ( http://www.mtssa.org ) and any financial support you can provide to him and his organization. Gary Marbut is a VERY STRONG Advocate for Second Amendment Rights everywhere, and he deserves our full support.]