2015 Pro Gun, RKBA Legislation – Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA)
Montana’s once-every-two-years legislative session will begin on Monday, January 5th 2015. When the session convenes, things will happen quickly because the session only lasts 90 working days. You need to be prepared to keep up and weigh in.
Here is a list of the Bills presented by MSSA that are slated to debate during this session. Please familiarize yourselves with these Bills and share the information with your Friends and Family members. Once the Legislature convenes, we are going to need your help to get these passed into law in Montana. Please be prepared!
If you reside in the State of Montana, PLEASE ask your Legislators to support these bills! And if you reside in other States, please work to get similar legislation enacted in your State.
If you’re interested in participating in, and/or keeping track of the progress of MSSA RKBA legislation in Montana this legislative session, the following options are available to you:
1) You may “Like” and “Follow” the MSSA facebook page, which will be updated regularly during the legislative session beginning 01/05/2015. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monta…3426517?ref=hl
2) You may contact MSSA and ask to be added to our legislative update email distribution list: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) For questions and concerns regarding this, or any, legislation the MSSA is currently working on, you may contact the MSSA Legislative Coordinator at email@example.com or on the MSSA Legislative Coordinator facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MSSALegCoord
MONTANA SHOOTING SPORTS ASSOCIATION
2015 LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
1. Smokeless powder and primer production. There is a serious threat to our right to bear arms because of narrow, monolithic and federally-controlled manufacture of essential ammunition components, smokeless powder (propellant), primers and cartridge brass. For example, there are only two manufacturers of smokeless powder in the U.S., one plant owned by defense contractor General Dynamics and another owned by defense contractor Alliant Systems (ATK). All other smokeless powder used in the U.S. is imported, and subject to immediate and arbitrary import restrictions. And, General Dynamics and Alliant Systems are subject to a standard condition of military contracts that 100% of their production may be commandeered for military use at any time. Without ammunition, our firearms and our right to bear ammunition are worth nothing. We propose certain incentives to encourage small-scale production of ammunition components in Montana. That model includes offering liability protection to future producers, providing that such producers qualify for existing state assistance with financing, and will include a 20-year tax amnesty from start of business, which would give up zero current tax income to the state but would provide jobs for Montana.
2. Prohibit enforcement of new federal gun laws by Montana public employees. Every week there is talk of a new federal gun control bill, to limit magazine capacity, to outlaw semi-auto rifles, to ban common bullets, to limit the number of firearms a person may own, and many more. The principle has already been established by the U.S. Supreme Court (Printz v. US) that the federal government may not commandeer state and local government employees to implement federal programs. We propose that Montana public employees be prohibited from enforcing, or assisting to enforce, any federal gun laws that are not already in effect.
3. Allow safe travel to work and employee property right inside private vehicles. Employees have a property right to what they choose to carry in their vehicles, whether Bibles, newspapers, or firearms. Employees also have a constitutional right to be equipped to provide for their own personal protection when traveling to and from work. However, many private employers have made it a termination offense for an employee to have a firearm locked in the employee’s vehicle if that vehicle is parked in a company parking lot. Such employers assume no responsibility for employee safety during travel to and from work. We propose that employers be prohibited from firing employees only because that employee has a firearm locked in a privately owned vehicle in a company parking lot. This bill would require that any such firearms also be out of sight from outside the vehicle.
4. “Prohibited Places.” There is a badly-conceived statute at 45-8-328 to regulate “prohibited places.” This law allows anyone to carry a firearm openly in the listed places but prohibits those who have taken training, had a background check, obtained a concealed weapon permit from their sheriff from exercising their CWP in these “prohibited places.” We propose that this archaic and bad law be repealed. There is a backup, alternative solution at:
5. University system gun bans. The people of Montana have reserved from government interference the right to keep or bear arms in the Montana Constitution. The Montana university system is a government entity. The Montana Constitution gives the Board of Regents broad authority to manage the affairs of the U. system, but it gives the Board NO authority whatsoever to suspend, amend or abolish the Constitution and the rights the people have reserved to themselves from government interference. We propose a bill that withdraws all authority from the Board of Regents to restrict firearms on U. system campuses, and then gives back to the U. system narrowly-tailored authority to adopt certain restrictions that are sensible and also defensible under recent federal (Heller and McDonald) and state (Colorado, Oregon and Utah) court cases.
6. Sheriffs First – Law Enforcement Cooperation. Many Montanans, both citizens and people in public office, are concerned about the lack of accountability of federal officers conducting law enforcement operations in Montana. In Montana, we know the county sheriff and he is elected and accountable locally. We believe the sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, and ought to have the tools to implement that status. MSSA will offer a bill to require federal officers to obtain the written permission of the local sheriff before conducting an arrest, search, or seizure in the sheriff’s county. There are exceptions for federal reservations, Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service, close pursuit, when a federal officer witnesses a crime that requires an immediate response, if the sheriff or his personnel are under investigation, and other necessary exceptions. This bill was passed by the Legislature in 1995, but was vetoed by the Governor.
7. Sound suppressors illegal for poaching only. Firearm suppressors do not “silence” firearms, but suppress somewhat the noise of the muzzle blast. They do nothing to attenuate the loud crack of the sonic boom as a bullet breaks the sound barrier all along its flight path. Currently, firearm suppressors are illegal for hunting. FWP argues this is necessary for them to be able to catch criminals who poach. We propose a bill to make use of suppressors illegal for poaching only, but not for general hunting. Some argue that use of suppressors for hunting is not “fair chase,” because the hunted animal would not hear the muzzle blast from a hunter’s rifle. This argument ignores physics – that a rifle bullet arrives before the sound of the muzzle blast because the bullet flies faster than the speed of sound. It ignores that a missed shot will startle the game animal with the nearby sonic boom before any sound of muzzle blast arrives. Finally, it ignores the common acceptance of “fair chase” hunting with absolutely silent arrows during archery season.
8. Harmonizing concealed weapon permit (CWP) requirements. Since 1991, a CWP has not been required for a law-abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in 99.4% of Montana – outside the limits of cities or towns. With over two decades of experience that not requiring CWPs for nearly all of Montana has not created any problems, we propose a bill to harmonize the law so a permit will no longer be required for a law abiding person to carry a concealed weapon in the remaining small 6/10ths of 1% of Montana, inside cities and towns. We intend to leave the permitting process in place, so citizens who desire them may still obtain CWPs for travel to other states that recognize Montana CWPs, and for firearm purchases at gun stores under the federal Brady Law. This change would exclude criminals from applicability – it would still be illegal for criminals to carry concealed weapons.
9. Clarify authority of school boards for firearms violations. An underreported tragedy in Montana is the number of students who have been disciplined, many expelled, for forgetting that their hunting rifle was locked in their vehicle, usually from a weekend hunt. When such a condition occurs in a school parking lot, ill-informed administrators usually tell reviewing school boards (incorrectly) that the board has no choice but to expel offending students because of mandatory federal law. However, unknown to these poorly-informed administrators, federal law on the subject specifically excludes from consideration any firearm locked in a vehicle in a school parking lot. About 450 Montana high school students have been expelled, and had their academic aspirations ruined for life, over this issue. We propose a bill to clarify for uninformed administrators and misinformed school boards that firearms locked in a student vehicle does not mandate expulsion, but that school boards have full discretion to apply discipline as needed and appropriate to the ingredients of the incident. This bill would NOT deprive school boards of tools to deal with genuine safety problems, but would clarify that firearms locked in vehicles do not MANDATE student expulsion.
10. Bankruptcy and Arms. Allow up to $5,000 of firearms, archery equipment and ammunition that a person has owned for a year or more to be exempt from claims under bankruptcy.
11. Home Guard. Expand upon existing laws establishing the Montana Home Guard to specify organization, mission, duties, responsibilities and control.
12. Shooting range funding. Montana began using some hunter license money to make matching grants to develop local shooting ranges in 1989. The program to build safe and suitable places for Montana people to shoot was put into state law in 1999, as the Shooting Range Development Program (SRDP). The funds for this program are approved each legislative session in the appropriations process for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks budget. There are no general tax revenues used for this program, only the money hunters pay for licenses. The 2007 Legislature appropriated $1,000,000 for the SRDP. $600,000 was appropriated in 2009, and about $650,000 in 2011 and 2013. We ask that $1,000,000 be appropriated to the SRDP in the 2014 legislative session, regardless of any FWP opposition to that level of funding.
(August 23, 2013 – for immediate release)
Ninth Circuit Rules in Firearms Freedom Act Case
MISSOULA, MONT. – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its opinion today in MSSA v. Holder, the lawsuit brought in federal court to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA). The MFFA was enacted by the Montana Legislature and signed into law by then Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2009. The MFFA declares that any firearms made and retained in Montana are not subject to any federal regulation under the power given to Congress in the U.S. Constitution to regulate commerce among the states. The MFFA uses firearms as a vehicle to challenge federal commerce clause power.
Plaintiffs in MSSA v. Holder are the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA), the Second Amendment Foundation, and Gary Marbut, President of MSSA. To set up the legal challenge, Marbut determined to manufacture a youth-model, .22 caliber, bolt-action rifle called the Montana Buckaroo. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms informed Marbut that any such unlicensed manufacture would be illegal under federal law.
Despite Marbut’s BATF-prohibited plans to make the Montana Buckaroo, the federal District Court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the lawsuit, and dismissed the lawsuit. MSSA appealed this dismissal to the Ninth Circuit.
In its long-awaited ruling today, the Ninth Circuit reversed the federal District Court on the standing issue, saying that Marbut has standing to bring the challenge, but held that existing Supreme Court precedent was against plaintiffs on the merits of the lawsuit.
Marbut commented, This was about as good of a ruling as we could have expected from the Ninth Circuit. We must get to the U.S. Supreme Court to accomplish our goal of overturning 70 years of flawed Supreme Court rulings on the interstate commerce clause. We knew that the Ninth Circuit couldn’t help us with that. Only the Supreme Court can overturn Supreme Court precedent. However, now that the standing question is resolved in our favor, we have the green light to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Marbut says the attorneys involved are already beginning to work on the appeal process.
Marbut continued, The time is ripe in America for states to challenge federal power, from Obamacare to indefinite detention, to illegal spying on U.S. Citizens and media, to IRS abuses of power, and more. It was the states which created this federal government that has grown to become such a monster. It’s time for the states to get their creature back on a leash. With MSSA v. Holder, we will offer the Supreme Court a chance to do just that.
Since the MFFA was initially enacted in Montana in 2009, nine other states have enacted clones of the MFFA, and 20-some additional states have introduced MFFA-clone bills. The lawsuit to validate the MFFA principles, MSSA v. Holder, has attracted many intervenors and amicus curiae parties. These include the State of Montana, the attorneys general of eight other states, Montana legislators, legislators from other states, the Goldwater Institute, Gun Owners Foundation, the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the CATO Institute, the Weapons Collectors Society of Montana, the Pacific Legal Foundation, and others.
More information about the Firearms Freedom Act movement and lawsuit is available at:
Information: Gary Marbut, 406-549-1252
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….
By Gary Marbut, Montana Shooting Sports Association
Nearly a decade of carefully planned effort to challenge federal Commerce Clause power will see another landmark on Monday, March 4th, when MSSA v. Holder has oral argument before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon. MSSA in the case caption is the Montana Shooting Sports Association whose President, Gary Marbut, crafted the original Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA) in 2004 specifically to lay the groundwork for this current litigation.
Gary Marbut and The Montana Shooting Sports Association Letter To Fish and Wildlife “Protection” Agency….. BE HONEST AND DO YOUR JOB, OR NO MORE FUNDS!
[TWG Note: Below is a letter, written by Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association to the Fish and Wildlife “Protection” agency. I think you’ll find it most interesting, particularly if you live in Montana, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. Please see my personal note below the letter, and please help me in sending Mr. Marbut a heartfelt THANKS for his efforts on behalf of our gun rights, wildlife, hunters and for all Americans who feel that Federal agencies have overstepped their boundaries.]
See the story in the Bozeman Chronicle at:
This is the first overt symptom of the agency “death spiral” for FWP.
For two decades, FWP has come to focus on wildlife and biology, when it should have been focused on fish and game. A significant part of this picture has been FWP’s shocking tolerance and support for large predators. FWP’s total, willing, even eager cooperation with large predator enhancement has long been predicted to result in an economic crash for the agency, when the word unavoidably spreads that there is no game left to hunt so there is no reason to buy a license.
FWP leaders have for too long leaned on the scales of policy by making excuses for the devastation wrought to game herds by large predators, fudging game counts and census numbers, and blaming any population declines that could not be covered up on climate change, sunspots, or aliens – anything but the truth. This coverup culture has been fostered by senior staff, always near retirement, who knew they’d be gone and not in the hot seat when the crisis actually arrived.
If the overall FWP attitude had not been so Hell-bent on “ecosystem management,” “biological diversity,” “natural balance” and other similar catchy but terminal “green” ideas destined to end hunting, FWP managers could have projected the current crisis years ago. I guess nobody at FWP noticed or cared several years ago when the editor of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine wrote a feature article about his fruitless elk hunting trip to southwest Montana, a trip where the only tracks he saw were wolf tracks. Nobody at FWP noticed or cared about the other thousands of warnings from Montana citizens. Worse, those warnings were ignored in a mad pursuit of a “green” agenda for FWP.
The stock mantra from FWP managers has been: We’re the professionals. We know best. The outcome concerned citizens project will never come to pass. The “evidence” of crashing game herds citizens cite is just “campfire stories” and is without merit because it doesn’t come from professional FWP biologists.
Yet when retired FWP employees, freed from the institutional FWP muzzle, asserted that FWP-tolerated wolves were turning the Montana landscape into a “biological desert,” FWP dismissed such comments summarily.
For the last two decades, FWP has been busy digging a hole for itself. As it sees daylight disappearing around the edges of the hole, it still won’t quit digging.
Of course, the obvious solution for the bureaucratic-bound and reality-disconnected FWP will be to announce, “We’ve been managing wildlife for the general public (including the non-Montana public) for years. Now we need the general public to pay the bills.” FWP has so fouled its nest by inadvisably removing hunters from the economic equation that it will eventually have to go to the Legislature asking for relief, including increased fees that hunters simply won’t pay to access a vanishing resource, and, ultimately, general taxpayer money.
You can bet that when FWP approaches the Legislature demanding an allowance increase as a reward for having flunked Econ 101, MSSA and thousands of Montana hunters will be there to say “Absolutely no way.” FWP has not only ignored the many warnings from Montana hunters, it has mocked and disrespected them.
What FWP needs is not more or alternate sources of money, but a total change in attitude and culture. Until that happens, let FWP starve! It is not serving Montanans.
[TWG Note: Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, has been diligently and tirelessly advocating for hunters, wildlife and for our Second and Tenth Amendment Rights not only here in Montana, but all over the country. We can Thank Him for the Firearms Freedom Act, among many, many successful legislative efforts and accomplishments on our behalf. Mr. Marbut is an amazing individual, and I hope you’ll join me in thanking him for his efforts and success.
I’ve personally witnessed Mr Marbut’s relentless work here at the Montana Legislature and in numerous opinion articles he’s written in his efforts to expose the truth about gun rights, wildlife and Tenth Amendment issues. He’s a SUPERSTAR in my book, and if you can help support his efforts, I’m certain a donation in any amount would be very much appreciated by him. If you’d like to become a member of The Montana Shooting Sports Association, you can show your support by purchasing a membership for a mere $25 You do not need to be a resident of Montana to join the Montana Shooting Sports Association. Donations and membership fees are used to help Gary’s efforts in advocating for our rights not just here in Montana, but all across America.
Here’s another encouraging article about the surging Sovereignty movement!
Armed and Ready: New Mexico Residents Defy Government
…….If there were more sheriffs like those in New Mexico serving around the country, we would be well on the way to safeguarding our liberties against Washington’s “invasions of the public liberty.” It also might occur to the Congress that more examples of sheriffs interposing themselves might result in shrinking down the federal government to do little more than just funding the national defense.
[TWG NOTE: Montana Commie AG Steve Bullock….. picking and choosing which laws We, The People will obey. The stoners like the tenth amendment, but ONLY if it protects their right to get stoned on drugs and shoot guns. To Hell with everything else, as long as they get their pot. Can’t wait for a Conservative to take the helm and pick & choose which laws THEY will obey. Isn’t it comforting to know the glassy eyed stoners will be legally allowed to own, carry and use firearms??? Shut up and pass the joint. I’m hunting hogs today.]
A new directive from the federal government’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concerning the rights of medical marijuana patients to own or possess firearms runs contrary to state and federal law and should not be enforced, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock told the U.S. Justice Department Monday.
As hunting season draws near, Montanans are buying guns and ammunition and “preparing to enjoy an activity that is deeply rooted in our heritage and culture,” Bullock told Attorney General Eric Holder in a Monday letter.
The ATF’s edict that marijuana users may not own or possess firearms or ammunition “implicates serious legal issues under the Second Amendment, and the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth Amendment,” Bullock said. It also flies in the face of the state constitution, which protects the right to hunt….(Con’t)