HELENA, Mont. (March 20, 2013) – The Montana House today concurred with the State Senate on a a bill prohibiting state compliance with any federal attempt to enforce a ban semiautomatic firearms or high capacity magazines in Montana. The vote was 62-35.
The House previously approved HB302 by a vote of 56-42. And last week the Senate approved with with an amendment, 28-21. The House had the option of approving the amended version of the bill or sending the original back to the Senate. Inside sources indicated that the Senate was prepared to vote down the original bill which would have included a provision dictating to the county attorneys of the state how to handle violations of the act.
If signed by Governor Bullock, HB302 will prohibit “a peace officer, state employee, or employee of any political subdivision is prohibited from enforcing, assisting in the enforcement of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines and is also prohibited from participating in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines.”
The law also prohibits expenditure of public funds for the purpose of enforcing a federal gun ban. Any state agent working with the feds would be guilty of official misconduct. Any use of public funds to assist the federal government would be considered “public theft.”
An employee of the state or any political subdivision may not expend public funds or allocate public resources for the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines. Any expenditure of public funds or public resources, including paying the salaries of personnel, to enforce or participate in the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines is an unauthorized use of public resources and is considered theft as provided in 45-6-301.
The so-called ‘war on drugs’ illustrates federal dependency on the support of state agencies in enforcing its laws. Federal agencies almost always act in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. In many situations, federal agents have absolutely no way to carry out enforcement without massive state and local support. If a large number of states simply refuse to cooperate with federal gun bans, it will effectively nullify the law. Without state compliance and assistance, many unconstitutional federal acts are little more than a house of cards. Refusing compliance on a state or local level is a big deal – and it sets the stage for others to do the same.
Earlier this week, Judge Andrew Napolitano supported this position when on Fox News he said that state noncompliance with federal gun control would make it “nearly impossible” to enforce.
“We saw the power of non-compliance in the 1850s, ” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “Northern states passed personal liberty laws and flat out refused to cooperate with federal agents trying to return accused runaway slaves south. They denied use of their jails and facilities and in some cases criminalized state cooperation – just like the Montana bill. It was so effective, South Carolina and Mississippi listed northern nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act as a cause for secession.”
More than two dozen states have introduced legislation to nullify federal gun “laws.” – and Montana is leading the way as the first state where both houses have approved such a bill.
ACTION ITEMS for Montana
1. Call Governor Steve Bullock. A phone call will have far more effect than an email. Let him know that you want him to SIGN HB302 when it reaches his desk. Strongly, but very politely, make sure he knows that you want him to do the right thing – principle not party – and make sure that Montana will not be a part of unconstitutional federal bans.
link to contact form here: http://governor.mt.gov/contact.aspx
2. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Present the even broader 2nd Amendment Preservation Act to your city county, your town council, or your county commissioners. Various local governments around the country are already passing similar resolutions and ordinances. Local legislative action present a great way to strengthen a statewide campaign against violations of the 2nd Amendment
Model legislation here:
LEGISLATION and TRACKING
If you would like to see model legislation to introduce in your state or local community to nullify federal firearm laws, please see The Tenth Amendment Center’s Model Legislation: The 2nd Amendment Preservation Act.
Track the status of 2nd Amendment preservation legislation in states around the country HERE.