Archive for May 15th, 2009

Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act Is No Laughing Matter

By Jerry A. Kane

 The citizens of Montana have struck the first blow in a fight to stop the federal government’s tyranny and totalitarian control over the states.  The newly adopted Montana Firearms Freedom Act (HB246) is a declaration to diffuse political power, reduce tyranny, and protect individual rights; it demands that federal bureaucracies back off and allow state governments to deal with state problems; it restrains despotism and the federal government’s long train of abuses and usurpations; it proclaims the state’s right to throw off the power of a centralized government and provide a new guard to secure the individual rights of its residents.

After years of frustration and listening to gibberish from placating politicians, the citizens of Montana have thrown down the gauntlet for a showdown between their state and the federal government.  The state’s new law contends that guns manufactured and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep them in the state are exempt from federal firearms laws given that the Constitution limits the power of the federal government to control only commerce across state lines.  This means that any gun manufactured and kept in Montana is free from federal gun registrations, background checks, and dealer-licensing rules.

Montana’s new law is not just another populist idea in the long line of toothless Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party protests and non-binding resolutions demanding Tenth Amendment protections; this law creates an actual pushback point against the 1942 interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause and the subsequent overreaching powers of the federal government.  The main purpose for Montana’s law is not about extending gun rights; “it’s about state rights” and demonstrating state sovereignty.

In the past, the federal government has claimed authority to regulate guns under the Commerce Clause arguing that guns can be easily transported across state lines.  Montana’s new law challenges the federal government to enforce its firearms acts or risk the door being open for further Tenth Amendment challenges that could significantly reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

Now that the bill has been signed into law, what is needed to ignite the legal battle with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is for a Montana resident with a spotless criminal record to notify the ATF of his intention to build and sell several youth-model single-shot, bolt-action .22-caliber rifles without a federal dealership license. If ATF rules that federal laws prohibit him from doing so, the state will file a law suit and the battle contesting the federal government’s regulatory authority begins.

The fly in the ointment is that the federal government can also use tax laws to regulate firearms, a potential quagmire that makes the outcome of the new law uncertain. But the drafters of the law are hopeful that the rising tide toward federalism will break states free from Leviathan’s talons. 

Since the court’s 1942 Commerce Clause decision, all states have been denied their rights under the Tenth Amendment, but more and more Americans and state lawmakers are becoming outraged that the Framers original intent of delegated powers to the states is being usurped by an ever-expanding centralized federal government. Drawing strength and encouragement from TEA party protests and Tenth Amendment state sovereignty movements, the drafters of the Montana law think the time has come to strengthen federalism again in this nation.

Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act may prove to be the straw that breaks the back of centralized government, but it will take a unified coalition of at least two-thirds of the states to make the federal courts ignore the labyrinth of conflicting state laws and recognize the people’s position regarding the Tenth Amendment.

If enough states act in concert, Congress and the President would be forced to acknowledge that American voters want the Tenth Amendment honored. Such a coalition of state legislatures would create a Tenth Amendment hegemony that would stymie the progressives and the Democrat Party long enough for the floodgates of freedom to open.

Currently Texas, Tennessee, and Alaska have introduced similar measures, while Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are actively considering them

It has become très très chic among America’s progressive media and celebrity culture to ridicule Americans who oppose the centralized power of the encroaching Nanny State.  But for many Americans who live outside the bubbled confines of the pampered progressive elitist class, snobbish distain for the Tenth Amendment is no laughing matter.  They don’t think it’s funny when the President and a majority in Congress continue to blatantly disregard the enumerated powers of the Constitution, tacitly ignore the overreaching powers of the federal government, and brazenly rob them of their wealth, rights, and freedoms. 

Congress, the President, and their media lackeys and celebrity sycophants have been acting as ruling elites who don’t seem to remember that the states created the federal government to serve the will of the states, not the other way around.  But now that Montana’s new law has jogged their memories a bit, Americans can only hope that it will also serve to wipe away the smirks and to silence the snide remarks from the progressive pompous posh farts in the media and entertainment industry.

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