BELLEVUE, WA – the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) have formed a strategic alliance to litigate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA), passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature and signed into law by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.
The MFFA declares that any firearms made and retained in Montana are not subject to any federal authority, resisting Congress’s dramatically expanded use of the interstate commerce clause to justify Washington’s regulation of virtually all of the private economy. The MFFA also applies to firearm accessories and ammunition.
MSSA is most well-known for advancing pro-gun and pro-hunting bills in the Montana Legislature, and has been successful with 54 pro-gun and pro-hunting measures in the past 25 years. SAF is a pro-gun foundation in Bellevue, Washington, established to press the rights of gun owners primarily in judicial fora. SAF has been a party to numerous lawsuits to assert the rights of gun owners across the Nation.
The primary purpose of the MFFA is to set up a legal challenge to federal power under the commerce clause. MSSA and SAF expect to mount this legal challenge by filing a suit for a declaratory judgment to test the principles of the MFFA in federal court on October 1st, the day the Montana law becomes effective.
The concept of the Firearms Freedom Act has caught fire nationwide. Tennessee has passed a clone of the MFFA. Other clones have been introduced in the legislatures of Alaska, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan. Legislators in 19 other states have indicated that they will introduce MFFA clones soon or when their legislatures next convene. See: http://firearmsfreedomact.com
This wave of interest across the Nation is what the federal judiciary calls “emerging consensus” and will play an important role in validating the principles of the MFFA.
MSSA president Gary Marbut commented, “We’re excited to get the MFFA into court to articulate and argue the principles of freedom and states’ rights. It’s especially encouraging that people in so many other states are getting tickets to ride this particular freedom train. It will be an interesting journey, and we hope successful one.”
SAF founder Alan Gottlieb added, “This is an issue that needs public attention because it challenges federal intrusion into an area where the federal government clearly, and literally, has no business.”
The MSSA/SAF legal team is currently working up its arguments and litigation strategy. The team has identified several areas of rationale’ that have never been discussed before in cases about Congress’s commerce clause power. The general thesis is that Washington has gone way overboard in attempting to regulate the internal affairs of states under the strained theory that states’ internal activities are related to interstate commerce.
Although the MFFA addresses firearms, ammunition and firearm accessories specifically, it is primarily about states’ rights and the commerce clause power of Congress. Firearms are the object; states’ rights and freedom are the subjects.