Montana to exempt in-state guns from Federal gun control laws

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Little-Acorn, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Little-Acorn
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    Little-Acorn Gold Member

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    Apparently this bill has been passed by the Montana state House, and is on its way to the state Senate.

    Most Federal gun control laws say they apply to guns used or transported in interstate commerce. Montana is proposing to exempt guns made in Montana that never leave the state, thus avoiding that jurisdiction. In addition, the 1995 Supreme Court case US v. Lopez established limits to Federal abuse of the Commerce Clause, wherein the Fed tried to regulate things only vaguely related to interstate commerce. Might that have an effect here?

    It raises an interesting question. If the Feds fight it on grounds that Federal law supersedes state laws, then it looks like Montanans will reply, "How about the Federal law in the Constitution, which says the RKBA (right to keep and bear arms) cannot be infringed (2nd Amendment)? And the part that says the states can have any power not specifically assigned to the Fed (10th amendment)? And how about the 1889 approval of the Montana Constitution by the U.S. Congress, which says the same thing about the RKBA?"

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    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2005/02/15/news/anti.txt

    Anti-federal bills move forward in House

    by WALT WILLIAMS
    Chronicle Staff Writer
    Feb. 1, 2007

    HELENA -- Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives collectively thumbed their noses at the federal government Monday by approving two bills exempting guns from federal regulations and driver's licenses from national standardization requirements.

    The bills by Reps. Diane Rice, R-Harrison, and Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, do different things but are driven by the same concern: the erosion of personal liberties by the federal government.

    Koopman said Monday his gun bill, House Bill 366, would inspire a home-grown industry of gun-makers who produce firearms to be sold in Montana. It also sends a message reaffirming states' rights. "In that regard, this bill really has positive consequences, I believe, beyond the firearms industry itself," he said.

    NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR DRIVERS LICENSES

    Rice is sponsoring HB 304, which would prevent the state from cooperating with the federal government in establishing nationwide standards for noncommercial driver's licenses.

    Federal standards, she said, amount to a national ID card. Critics fear that such standards will lead to the government tracking its citizens.

    There was virtually no debate about the bill before lawmakers voted 94-6 to pass it, with a third and final vote expected today.

    It also makes it illegal to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens, which currently isn't prohibited under state law.

    FEDERAL GUN CONTROL LAWS

    Koopman's HB 366 would exempt guns made in Montana from federal regulation under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, as long as the guns remain inside the state.

    Rep. Tim Dowell, D-Kalispell, criticized it as aiding terrorism. He noted that law enforcement officers used gun regulations to link the Washington D.C.-area sniper shootings.

    Terrorists "can come to Montana, they can buy one of these weapons, go on a reign of terror, and there would be no way to track them down," he said.

    He also questioned the logic of the state exempting itself from federal law.

    "That's pretty cool, maybe we should say we aren't subject to the income tax," he said.

    Dowell's complaints were dismissed as "crazy emotionalism" by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred. In the end, 73 lawmakers voted to move the bill forward, and afterward there was scattered applause on the House floor.

    A third and final vote is expect today. If both bills pass their third vote, then they will move on to the Senate.

    (Full text of the article can be read at the above URL)

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    Text of the firearms bill in the Montana legislature:

    2007 Montana Legislature

    HOUSE BILL NO. 420

    INTRODUCED BY R. KOOPMAN


    A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT EXEMPTING FROM REGULATION UNDER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES A FIREARM, A FIREARM ACCESSORY, OR AMMUNITION MANUFACTURED AND RETAINED IN MONTANA."

    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

    NEW SECTION. Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 6] may be cited as the "Montana Firearms Freedom Act".

    NEW SECTION. Section 2. Legislative declarations of authority. The legislature declares that the authority for [sections 1 through 6] is the following:

    (1) The 10th amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guarantee of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (2) The ninth amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the people rights not granted in the constitution and reserves to the people of Montana certain rights as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guarantee of those rights is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (3) The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the 9th and 10th amendments to the United States constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition.

    (4) The second amendment to the United States constitution reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889, and the guarantee of the right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    (5) Article II, section 12, of the Montana constitution clearly secures to Montana citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Montana citizens to keep and bear arms. This constitutional protection is unchanged from the 1889 Montana constitution, which was approved by congress and the people of Montana, and the right exists as it was understood at the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.

    NEW SECTION. Section 3. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 6], the following definitions apply:

    (1) "Borders of Montana" means the boundaries of Montana described in Article I, section 1, of the 1889 Montana constitution.

    (2) "Firearms accessories" means items that are used in conjunction with or mounted upon a firearm but are not essential to the basic function of a firearm, including but not limited to telescopic or laser sights, magazines, flash or sound suppressors, folding or aftermarket stocks and grips, speedloaders, ammunition carriers, and lights for target illumination.

    (3) "Generic and insignificant parts" includes but is not limited to springs, screws, nuts, and pins.

    (4) "Manufactured" means creating a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition from basic materials for functional usefulness, including but not limited to forging, casting, machining, or other processes for working materials.

    NEW SECTION. Section 4. Prohibition. A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce. This section applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured in Montana from basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state. Generic and insignificant parts that have other manufacturing or consumer product applications are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition, and their importation into Montana and incorporation into a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Montana does not subject the firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to federal regulation. It is declared by the legislature that basic materials, such as unmachined steel and unshaped wood, are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition and are not subject to congressional authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition under interstate commerce as if they were actually firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition. The authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce in basic materials does not include authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition made in Montana from those materials. Firearms accessories that are imported into Montana from another state and that are subject to federal regulation as being in interstate commerce do not subject a firearm to federal regulation under interstate commerce because they are attached to or used in conjunction with a firearm in Montana.

    NEW SECTION. Section 5. Exceptions. [Section 4] does not apply to:

    (1) a firearm that cannot be carried and used by one person;

    (2) a firearm that has a bore diameter greater than 1 1/2 inches and that uses smokeless powder, not black powder, as a propellant;

    (3) ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm; or

    (4) a firearm that discharges two or more projectiles with one activation of the trigger or other firing device.

    NEW SECTION. Section 6. Marking of firearms. A firearm manufactured or sold in Montana under [sections 1 through 6] must have the words "Made in Montana" clearly stamped on a central metallic part, such as the receiver or frame.

    NEW SECTION. Section 7. Codification instruction. [Sections 1 through 6] are intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 30, and the provisions of Title 30 apply to [sections 1 through 6].

    - END -
     
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