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Six Reasons to Support Montana HB203

Montana HB203, a bill to restrict state resources and personnel from being used to enforce any new federal gun control measures passed both the state House and the Senate and will be off to the Governor’s desk soon. Call Gov. Steve Bullock – 855-318-1330, ask him to SIGN HB203

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association sent out an alert and copy of a letter he’s sending the Governor by mail. We urge you to follow his lead – take action right now to help this bill pass into law. 

HB 203 will be on the Governor’s desk today or within a couple of days, so it’s imperative that you ACT NOW!

Pasted further below is the text of the letter I’m sending to the Governor by US Mail on MSSA letterhead and electronically about HB 203.  Feel free to farm this letter for ideas that should be expressed in your own words.  Your letter should be shorter than mine.  If you can’t do any more, you should at least send the Governor a message saying “I agree with MSSA’s position on HB 203.  Please support it.”  Don’t threaten, be polite, and be brief, but ACT NOW.

Dear Governor Bullock,

House Bill 203 is headed towards your desk.  We’d appreciate your support for HB 203.

Why should you support HB 203?  I see six primary reasons.

1)  Constitutional issues?  None.  In Printz v. US (an exactly on point 1995 case from Montana brought by a Montana sheriff refusing to enforce a new federal gun law) SCOTUS confirmed that Congress may not “commandeer” the personnel or resources of state or local governments.  So, under this decision, Montana has no obligation to enforce any federal gun laws.

2)  It’s what’s happening.  Three other states currently have laws to prohibit enforcement of new federal gun control: Kansas, Idaho, and Alaska.  Twelve states have introduced legislation to prohibit enforcement of new federal gun control: Arizona, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

3)  Not an academic exercise or “statement.”  In 1994, Congress actually enacted bans on firearms and magazines.  Fortunately, that ban expired in 2004, however there are bills before Congress now to reinstate those bans. The BATFE is constantly seeking ways to rewrite regulations to limit the right use firearms, witness its recent attempt to ban the most common ammunition for the most common rifle the U.S.  There are many more examples available.  This is a real and pending problem.

4)  States as “laboratories of democracy.”  In New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that a “state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”  Brandeis saw this as healthy experimentation akin to the scientific method.  Looked at a bit differently, the states have reserved to themselves the power under the Tenth Amendment to do things differently and in ways that serve the culture and people of the state. This is one healthy facet of the freedom so essential to our form of government.

5)  HB 203 would not affect any existing federal laws.  Enforcement of all existing federal laws concerning felons and guns, domestic violence, machine guns, dealer licensing, and more, would remain unaffected by HB 203.

6)  Montana law enforcement personnel would have more time and resources to focus on Montana crimes if excused from enforcing new laws from distant Washington that are culturally inappropriate in Montana.

Please support HB 203.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Marbut, President