This is going to get real interesting...
Montana poised to buck federal gun control
Posted on April 5, 2009
By KAHRIN DEINES
Associated Press Writer
HELENA, Mont. (AP)-- 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, 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.
The federal enforcement agency for gun laws has also not taken a firm stand.
“ATF is not going to take a position on this because we don’t make any of the laws, we just enforce the laws that Congress makes,” said Carrie DiPirro, spokeswoman for the Denver field division, which oversees Montana.