Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A Montana lawsuit that could undercut the authority of the federal government on issues including guns, marijuana, REAL ID, health care, the national guard, taxes and even law enforcement is poised to move to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
But even that august body is unlikely to resolve the contentions, since the authors of the original claim, which challenges the feds’ authority to regulate guns made, sold and kept within a state, say they need the U.S. Supreme Court to act.
“We seek to overturn a half-century of bad precedent. Only the U.S. Supreme Court can do that. In that light the pending dismissal by the district court means little except that we are now free to move to the next step of the process,” he said.
“The court having reviewed Magistrate Jeremiah C. Lynch’s findings and recommendations together with the objections of the plaintiffs and intervenor and the response filed by the defendant … it is hereby ordered that Judge Lynch’s findings and recommendations are adopted in full,” Malloy ordered.
How Montana’s gun-law plans have spread
The gun organizations sued in federal court to validate a law enacted in Montana by the 2009 legislature that declares “that any firearms made and retained in Montana are simply not subject to any federal authority under the power given to Congress in the Constitution to ‘regulate commerce … among the states.’”
Further, the case has attracted a massive level of support from other organizations who are participating through various amici – or friend of the court – briefs. Those include the State of Utah, which also represents other states; the Goldwater Institute, the Paragon Foundation, Gun Owners of America, the Weapons Collectors Society of Montana, Montana’s lawmakers, and lawmakers from several other states.
Handguns from Freedom Arms in Wyoming
Once the 9th Circuit rules, Marbut said, the plaintiffs intend to appeal any continuation of the dismissal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Or, he said, the 9th Circuit could return the case to the district court for trial.
“That the U.S. is so desperate to keep this matter from going to trial,” Marbut said, “tells me that they are very afraid of any precedent that might be established. Normally, a motion to dismiss is to preserve judicial economy. In this case it is to prevent a fair hearing on the significant issues we raise. The federal government doesn’t want any questions about the extent of its power.
“The vehemence of the recommendations by the magistrate involved,” he said, “demonstrates the desperation of the federal government, including its judicial branch, to prevent a fair adjudication of the issues underlying the MFFA.”
The magistrate, in fact, stooped to name-calling, describing the plaintiffs as “myopic.”
But Marbut told WND that the reaction he’s getting from the grassroots is one of unqualified endorsement.
“They think it’s a wonderful idea,” he said. He called the support a “groundswell” and suggested it is running parallel to the initiatives undertaken by tea party groups to squelch the domineering activities of the federal government.
Montana’s law provides guns and ammo made, sold and used in Montana would not require any federal forms; silencers made and sold in Montana would be fully legal and not registered; and there would be no firearm registration, serial numbers, criminal records check, waiting periods or paperwork required.
Alaska was the eighth state to declare that firearms made, sold and owned in the state are beyond the reach of the federal bureaucrats along the Potomac. When South Dakota’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, a commentator said it addresses the “rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades.”
“I think they’re going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out the case,” he told WND earlier. “When they really start paying attention is when people actually start following the [state] firearms laws.”
WND reported when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation. Officials there took the unusual step of including penalties for any agent of the U.S. who “enforces or attempts to enforce” federal gun rules on a “personal firearm.”
The costs could be up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines for an offender.