Montana state sovereignty & second amendment

This is a discussion on Montana state sovereignty & second amendment within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; ----- Original Message ----- From: Gary Marbut-MSSA To: mssa@mtssa.org Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:55 AMSubject: Legislative Update February 22nd, 2009 MSSA Bills - 2009 ...

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Thread: Montana state sovereignty & second amendment

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    Montana state sovereignty & second amendment

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Gary Marbut-MSSA
    To: mssa@mtssa.org
    Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 11:55 AMSubject: Legislative Update February 22nd, 2009
    MSSA Bills - 2009 Legislative Session

    (Update February 22, 2009)

    MSSA page about all legislative issues: MSSA 2009 Legislative Agenda

    How to track bills, interact with the Legislature and support MSSA bills: Legislative Process - Contacts

    Bills supported

    HB 228 - Self Defense - Rep. Krayton Kerns. A bill to cure voids and gray areas in Montana law about when and how a person may possess or use a firearm for self defense without fear of prosecution.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HB0228.htm
    Explanation at: Explanation of MSSA Self Defense Bill
    Attack by law enforcement administrators:
    Response to MSPOA HB 228 attack
    Status: Passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate with Sections 5, 6, and 9 removed from the bill.
    Action needed: Collect testimonials of support from current or former law enforcement officers and get those to MSSA or bill Sponsor Rep. Krayton Kerns. These will be needed soon.

    HB 2 - Shooting Range Funding - Appropriations Committee (Natural Resources Subcommittee). This is part of the whole state budget, in House Bill 2. We are asking for $1.2 million of hunter license fee money be appropriated to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks(FWP) budget by the Legislature for the Shooting Range Development Program (SRDP). Last biennium (two-year budget cycle) the Legislature appropriated $1 million. The FWP budget is reviewed by the Natural Resources Joint Subcommittee (NRJS) of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. The NRJS will begin its public hearings on HB 2 on 1/19, at 8:30 AM in Room 317C of the Capitol. This public hearing will last for several days. It is unknown at this time just when the FWP budget and the SRDP item will come up.
    Status: Pending before House Appropriations Committee
    Action needed: Ask members of the NRJS to be sure to put $1.2 million in HB 2 for shooting ranges.

    SB 183 - Wolves - Senator Joe Balyeat. A bill to wrest control of wolves out of federal hands and assert Montana primacy in managing wolves to protect hunting opportunities, livestock, and people working and recreating outdoors.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/SB0183.htm
    Explanation at: SB 183 Summary and Explanation
    Status: Approved by the Senate Fish and Game Committee; 5-4, party-line vote; sent to Senate floor for Second Reading.
    Action needed: Ask all senators to approve SB 183 on Second Reading

    HB 246 - Montana-made Firearms - Rep. Joel Boniek. A bill to challenge federal authority under the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the states, this bill declares that any firearms made and retained in Montana are not subject to any federal regulatory authority.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HB0246.htm
    Status: Passed by House on Second Reading and re-referred to House Appropriations Committee.
    Action needed: Ask members of House Appropriations to pass HB 246.

    SB 185 - Non-resident College Student Hunting - Senator Joe Balyeat. A bill to allow non-resident, full-time college students in Montana to buy licenses for the same cost as residents, and to allow full-time college students from Montana temporarily living in other states to come home to hunt at the same price as residents.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/SB0185.htm
    Status: Passed by Senate and transmitted to House.
    Action needed: None now.

    HB 479 - Montana Home Guard Revitalization - Rep. Joel Boniek. A bill to flesh out the laws about the Montana Home Guard to allow a volunteer Montana corps to make trained and organized resources available to the Governor and county sheriffs in times of need - something between Neighborhood Watch and the Montana National Guard - more like volunteer fire departments but with a broader mission.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HB0479.htm
    Status: Bill tabled by the House State Administration Committee.
    Action needed: Too late - none.

    HJ 14 - National Park Gun Regulations - Rep. Wendy Warburton. A Joint Resolution opposing a lawsuit by the Brady Campaign to block new regulations allowing self defense guns in National Parks, and urging the Montana Attorney General to intervene in that lawsuit to protect the rights of Montana citizens.
    Resolution at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HJ0014.htm
    Status: Passed by the House Judiciary Committee - on Second Reading 2/23.
    Action needed: Ask House members to pass HJ 14.

    HB 427 - Rep. Joel Boniek. A bill to repeal 87-3-123, M.C.A., "Use of silencers or mufflers on firearms forbidden. No person may take into a field or forest or have in his possession while out hunting any device or mechanism devised to silence, muffle, or minimize the report of any firearms, whether such device or mechanism be operated from or attached to any firearm." This Prohibition-era law is overbroad, unenforced, and needs to be repealed.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HB0427.htm
    Status: Bill failed on Second Reading in House.
    Action needed: CRITICAL - Ask House members to revive and pass HB 427.

    SB 80 - Elect Board of Regents - Senator Dan McGee. MSSA has waged a three-year campaign to persuade the Board of Regents and U-system campus managers that they may not contravene the Montana Constitution and strip students, employees and other of their constitutional right to bear arms, but to no avail. The BoR and campus managers have been unwilling to enter into any substantive negotiations on this topic. BoR members are heavily insulated and unaccountable because they are appointed, rather than elected. SB 80 would set a referendum for Montana citizens to vote to change the Constitution to make BoR members elected, instead of appointed. MSSA supports this change. This bill needs support of 2/3 of the Legislature to pass and get the issue on the ballot.
    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/SB0080.htm
    Status: Passed by Senate 20-30 and sent to House needs 100 total votes to pass.
    Action needed: Little hope for this bill, unfortunately.

    HJ 26 State Sovereignty - A Resolution asserting state sovereignty has been introduced by Rep. Mike More as HJ 26.

    This is the Montana version of a similar Resolution that is being introduced in a number of other states, including New Hampshire.

    Remember, the Montana Constitution says, at Article II, Section 2, "The people have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state."

    Some will say that these are just words on paper and don't really mean anything. I disagree.

    These words are a part of the contract by which Montana was engendered as a socio-political entity. The very existence of the construct called the "State of Montana" is dependent upon this contract among Montana people, a contract giving the state defined and limited powers.

    One of these limitations is the terms of Article II. Section 2, which limits the authority of the State to contract with the other states. That is, by its very charter, the State is not authorized to lock itself politically into being a mere administrative region of that creature of the several states, the federal government, nor may the state surrender the rights and prerogatives of individuals to the federal government.

    HJ 26 addresses these issues and relationships.

    Bill at: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/HJ0026.htm
    Status: Assigned to House Judiciary Committee for public hearing on 2/23.
    Action needed: Ask House Judiciary members to pass HJ 26.

    Bills opposed

    HB 36 sponsored by Rep. Kendall VanDyk (failed in House Judiciary Committee) and SB 92 by Senator Larry Jent (passed by Senate and sent to House). Called "castle doctrine" bills, these two bills are identical, do nothing to improve existing Montana law, and have been introduced so the sponsors can claim to have introduced "pro-gun" legislation. Both bills have had hearings before the Judiciary Committee in their respective chambers, and both are on hold awaiting outcome of HB 228 and other political winds.

    HB 490 sponsored by Rep. Kendall VanDyk. Requires the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing to give Social Security Numbers for all licensed drivers to the Secretary of State, ostensibly to use to verify voter registration lists for summoning jury pools. This expanded use of SSN is an additional invasion of the right to privacy at Article II, Section 10 of the Montana Constitution. Juries can be drawn without providing everyone's Social Security Numbers to yet another array of government officials. The voter identification card is the LAST piece of identification in Montana that is NOT cross-indexed in computers with SSNs.
    Status: Passed by the House and sent to the Senate.
    Action needed: None right now. We should oppose this when it comes up for a committee hearing in the Senate in March.

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    More on HB 246:

    Gun bill aims to strike blow for states’ rights
    By KAHRIN DEINES Associated Press - 02/23/2009
    Republican Rep. Joel Boniek
    Montana lawmakers are betting the words “Made in Montana” might be able to trigger a court showdown with the federal government, while also freeing some gun owners and dealers from background check and licensing requirements.

    Under a proposed law before the Legislature, firearms, weapons components and ammunition made in Montana and kept in Montana would be exempt from federal regulation, potentially releasing some Montanans from national gun registration and licensing laws. The legislation could also free gun purchasers in the state from background checks.

    Still, the bill’s proponents say the measure has much bigger prey in its sights.

    “Firearms are inextricably linked to the history and culture of Montana, and I’d like to support that,” said Republican Rep. Joel Boniek, the bill’s sponsor. “But I want to point out that the issue here is not about firearms. It’s about state rights.”

    Gun rights and state rights both play well in Montana. The state’s leading gun rights organization boasts it has moved 50 bills through the Legislature in half as many years. And bills bucking federal control over wolf management, marijuana and wetland protection are also being considered. Unlike these others, though, the “Made in Montana” measure has been intentionally drafted to draw the feds into court.

    “The primary purpose is to set up a legal challenge but also to say we have a lot of really good people in Montana who do the right thing,” said Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.

    Montana gun manufacturers, known for specialty rifles that mirror models used in the 1800s to settle the West, are welcoming the bid for independence. The House has endorsed it with a 64-36 vote, and the Republican-controlled Senate could pass it easily.

    State police associations, though, are watching this latest effort to thwart federal regulation with quiet concern. While they are not opposing the measure — a risky political stance in a gun-loving, big-sky, open-space kind of place — they are wondering just when the authorities the bill spurns might take a stand.

    “I think the local elected officials I work for would certainly like to hear from the federal agency with responsibility in this area,” said Jim Smith, director of the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has not offered a position on the bill and did not return calls for comment.

    “The bill clearly raises constitutional issues,” said Kevin O’Brien of the state attorney general’s office. “I think that’s something that both proponents and opponents can agree on.”

    The measure would require the office to file a one-time declaratory judgment representing the new law on behalf of a Montana manufacturer.

    At issue in any such court case would be federal authority over interstate commerce, the legal basis for gun regulation in the United States. Through the Constitution, Congress has authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the states.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has handled past efforts to bypass what’s known as the Commerce Clause, most recently in 2005 when the court upheld federal authority to regulate marijuana in California, even if its use is limited to noncommercial purposes — such as medical reasons — and it is grown and used within a state’s borders.

    Montana’s current bid for sovereignty over guns, however, could fare better with the added firepower of being linked to a constitutionally protected right to keep and bear firearms, say its proponents.

    “It’s only done because the firearms are a stronger case than, say, making doilies,” Boniek said. “Knitting is not a constitutionally protected right.”

    The actual economic impact of the bill, pitched in part as a stimulus, is uncertain. The number of firearms made lock, stock and barrel in Montana is limited, as is the number of Montanans available to buy them. For example, the gunmaker Shilo Sharps Rifles in Big Timber estimates that of the 800 or so custom guns it builds in a year, only between 20 and 30 are sold to state residents.

    But the proponents say no matter — deregulate it, and they will come.

    “We tend to break trail here in Montana,” Marbut said.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

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    Bold folk in Montana. Hats off to 'em keep up the fight.


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    RIP, Jeff Dorr: 1964 - July 17, 2009. You will be missed.


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