More gun makers and gun owners ought to be hanging “For Sale” signs on their current properties and getting ready to move West. Why would Auto Ordinance want to stay in the Catskills or Smith & Wesson in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, when there’s Montana?
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.
Hat tip to Bryan DiSalvatore.