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Thread: Montana - House shoots down federal gun controls

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    House shoots down federal gun controls

    News Link

    By KAHRIN DEINES
    Associated Press Writer

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Montana lawmakers fired another shot in battles for states' rights as they supported letting some Montana gun owners and dealers skip reporting their transactions to the federal government.

    Under House Bill 246, firearms made in Montana and used in Montana would be exempt from federal regulation. The same would be true for firearm accessories and ammunition made and sold in the state.

    "What we need here is for Montana to be able to handle Montana's business and affairs," Republican Rep. Joel Boniek told fellow lawmakers Saturday. The wilderness guide from Livingston defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Malcolm in last spring's election.

    Boniek's measure aims to circumvent federal authority over interstate commerce, which is the legal basis for most gun regulation in the United States. The bill potentially could release Montanans from both federal gun registration requirements and dealership licensing rules. Since the state has no background-check laws on its own books, the legislation also could free gun purchasers from that requirement.

    "Firearms are inextricably linked to the history and culture of Montana, and I'd like to support that," Boniek said. "But I want to point out that the issue here is not about firearms. It's about state rights."

    The House voted 64-36 for the bill on Saturday. If it clears a final vote, the measure will go to the Senate.

    House Republicans were joined by 14 Democrats in passing the measure.

    "I would hope that our U.S. Supreme Court would begin to retreat from what I think is an abusive interpretation of our interstate commerce clause," said Rep. Deborah Kottel, a Democrat from Great Falls who supports the measure.

    That clause in the U.S. Constitution grants Congress authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the states. The Supreme Court has handled cases seeking to limit the clause's application in recent years. In 2005, the court upheld federal authority to regulate marijuana under the clause, even when its use is limited to noncommercial purposes - such as medical reasons - and it is grown and used within a state's borders.

    The Montana bill follows fears here and elsewhere that the election of Barack Obama as president will trigger more gun regulation. In the months before Obama's inauguration, Montanans rushed to stock up on guns, pushing gun sales beyond normal benchmarks despite the recession.

    Opponents of the measure worry lax regulations in the state could lead to a similar surge in both gun sales and gun manufacturing.

    "Who are we bringing in and is this the kind of business we want to have in this state?" asked Rep. Sue Malek, D-Missoula. "I want our state to be recognized as a state that cares about people, and that cares about the environment."

    The bill is one of a number the Legislature is considering that may extend gun rights in Montana.

    Earlier in the week, the House passed another measure, HB228, that would let Montanans carry concealed weapons in city limits without having permits.

    On Saturday the House Judiciary Committee narrowly passed a resolution that affirms Montanans' right to carry weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges.


  2. #2
    Regular Member 40s-and-wfan's Avatar
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    I LOVE MONTANA!!
    In a crisis you don't rise to the occasion, but rather default to your level of training.

    Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting.
    -John W. Creasy (Man on Fire)

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    Regular Member 40s-and-wfan's Avatar
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    I'll bet'cha a lot of the NO's on this bill are the same ones that voted NO on HB-228. Everyone, if you have a representative that voted no on HB-246 or 228, start writing letters! We as Montanans, need to be in charge of what goes on here in our state, not anyone else!!
    In a crisis you don't rise to the occasion, but rather default to your level of training.

    Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting.
    -John W. Creasy (Man on Fire)

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    Hey, if you guys secede, I'm coming up there to stay.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

  5. #5
    Regular Member 40s-and-wfan's Avatar
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    I have a feeling a lot of others will have the same mindset as you!! Just so long as you don't buy the guns I want!!
    In a crisis you don't rise to the occasion, but rather default to your level of training.

    Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting.
    -John W. Creasy (Man on Fire)

  6. #6
    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    I like it but am not getting too excited yet. Last session it passed the House by a larger margin and then never made it out of Committee in the Senate.

    If it was just a little warmer in Montana......
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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