Tag Archives: Montana

NRA & Gun Owners Win; Bloomberg / Everytown Lose

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Montana Supreme Court finds localities cannot go rogue and enact extreme gun control. READ MORE

montana legislature

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauds a decision last Thursday by the Montana state Supreme Court protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners in that state. In an NRA-backed case, the justices held, in a 5-0 decision, that the City of Missoula’s attempt to impose extreme gun control measures was a clear violation of state law.

“This is a huge victory for Montana gun owners and everyone who cherishes freedom in Big Sky Country,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The unanimous ruling from Montana’s Supreme Court confirms that politicians cannot usurp a constitutional framework by contemptuously enacting gun control at the local level.”

Montana, like more than 40 other states, has a preemption law restricting local governments from passing gun control measures that are more restrictive than state law. Preemption laws protect law-abiding gun owners from dealing with a confusing patchwork of laws that can make it nearly impossible to carry a firearm for home and self-defense.

The City of Missoula’s gun control ordinance would have criminalized virtually all private firearms transfers in the city, even between relatives, friends, and co-workers.

Earlier this month, in an NRA-backed case, a Washington court similarly ruled that the state preemption law prohibits local governments from regulating the storage of firearms.

The NRA has led the fight to enact state preemption laws across the country to ensure uniformity in state gun laws.

“These cases underscore the peoples’ need for judges who will faithfully interpret the law in defense of their freedom,” Ouimet concluded.

 

Missoula Gun Background Check Ordinance Illegal

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestyoutube

Montana’s Attorney General says Missoula’s gun background check ordinance violates Montana state law.


Originally reported January 26 by Taylor Winkel, NBC Montana


“Missoula’s ordinance is outside of its authority,” Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said. Fox issued an opinion saying state law does not allow cities to exercise any power that affects the right to bear arms.

Tim Fox
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox

The ordinance in question was passed in September 2016. It requires private sellers to complete a background check before selling a gun. That means if you’re a gun owner and want to sell your firearm to a friend or colleague, you’re required to run a background check on the buyer, which means the paperwork must be handled by a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

“If there’s going to be one more extra step for somebody to get a gun that can harm somebody, either on purpose or on accident, I think ‘why not’ and create a safer environment for everyone if possible,” Jack Dawson, a Missoula resident told NBC Montana. Missoula City Council member Bryan Von Lossberg sponsored the legislation. He said that he is not surprised by the Attorney General’s decision but does not see a “clear path of appeal.” Von Lossberg says he believes the ordinance is effective and necessary but expected the ruling as the Attorney General had made his position “clear” long before the AG’s ruling was issued.

Von Lossberg also said the council was advised the ordinance was within the law by the city attorney, Jim Nugent. “He absolutely was consulted and issued an opinion making it clear the city was absolutely in its rights to pass this,” explained Von Lossberg.

The attorney general didn’t directly comment on what the city of Missoula needs to do with the ordinance, but did say common sense would be to stop enforcing the ordinance. Right now, Von Lossberg says there’s no immediate plan to appeal the Attorney General’s opinion.

Fox noted Missoula does have certain powers as a charter city, saying it does have the authority to regulate the use and carrying of firearms under state law. However, Fox says state law doesn’t allow Missoula to have an ordinance “enforcing a local regulation or ordinance requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers within its borders.”

Montana passed a state preemption law thirty years ago to prevent a patchwork of contradictory firearms laws from being enacted across the state. The state previously allowed cities to make their own laws regarding firearms sales, Fox wrote in his opinion, but a 1985 House bill repealed that section of the MCA and replaced it with new language that still is in place. “The purpose of HB 643 was clear — only the state should decide how firearm purchases, sales, and transfers should be regulated, if at all.”


Click here to read the full legal opinion from Attorney General Tim Fox.