HELENA, MT., January 14, 2015 –  Any potential federal ban on semiautomatic firearms and large capacity magazines would be effectively blocked in Montana if a bill filed this week passes into law.

Introduced by Rep. Art Wittich, House Bill 203 (HB203) the “Montana Federal Semiautomatic Firearm and Large Magazine Ban Enforcement Prohibition Act” would prohibit the state “from enforcing, assisting in the enforcement of or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines”. The bill also prohibits state participation in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines.

“Citizens are increasingly realizing that the federal government is inventing “authority” over their rights, including those under the 2nd Amendment,” said Wittich. “States are similarly realizing they can and must refuse to participate in these improper regulatory expansions.”

Jared Lenz of ShallNot.org said that this is a step in the right direction. “This bill establishes the principle of state noncompliance for Montana, and gives legislators something to build on in the near future.”


Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.

The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:

The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. 

As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now 20 years old and considered well settled.”

Unfortunately, Montana Governor Steve Bullock hadn’t gotten this memo when he vetoed a similar bill – HB302 – in March of 2013. In his veto message Bullock said that HB302 was “unnecessary” and would put “law enforcement in the position of violating laws they have sworn to uphold” and “subject our peace officers to criminal sanctions for upholding the oath we ask that they take.”

Perhaps someone needs to send Governor Bullock our 14-page ShallNot.org handbook so he won’t embarrass himself again in 2015.


In Montana: Follow the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK


Follow the steps to take action in your state at THIS LINK

Scott Landreth

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.