Skip to comments.Anti-federal bills move forward in House (Montana)
Posted on 02/16/2005 1:26:49 AM PST by TERMINATTOR
HELENA -- Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives collectively thumbed their noses at the federal government Monday by approving two bills exempting guns from federal regulations and driver's licenses from national standardization requirements.
The bills by Reps. Diane Rice, R-Harrison, and Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, do different things but are driven by the same concern: the erosion of personal liberties by the federal government. Koopman said Monday his gun bill, House Bill 366, would inspire a home-grown industry of gun-makers who produce firearms to be sold in Montana. It also sends a message reaffirming states' rights.
"In that regard, this bill really has positive consequences, I believe, beyond the firearms industry itself," he said.
Rice is sponsoring HB 304, which would prevent the state from cooperating with the federal government in establishing nationwide standards for noncommercial driver's licenses.
Federal standards, she said, amount to a national ID card. Critics fear that such standards will lead to the government tracking its citizens.
There was virtually no debate about the bill before lawmakers voted 94-6 to pass it, with a third and final vote expected today.
Congress last year required nationwide standards for driver's licenses, fearing terrorists were using the nation's cornucopia of license styles to skirt security at airports.
Montana already meets those standards, according to Dean Roberts of the motor vehicle division of the Montana Department of Justice.
But there are now two proposals before Congress that go beyond what the state puts on its driver's licenses. They would, for example, mandate states produce licenses resistant to tampering and counterfeiting.
If Montana ignores those standards -- as the bill requires -- then residents here wouldn't be able to use the driver's licenses as a form of ID when boarding commercial airplanes, or use them to pass any sort of federal-required identification.
"To the average citizen, that means you are not going to get on an airplane," Roberts said.
The bill was limited to noncommercial licenses because failure to comply with commercial license requirements would mean losing federal highway funds, he said.
It also makes it illegal to issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens, which currently isn't prohibited under state law.
Koopman's HB 366 would exempt guns made in Montana from federal regulation under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, as long as the guns remain inside the state.
Rep. Tim Dowell, D-Kalispell, criticized it as aiding terrorism. He noted that law enforcement officers used gun regulations to link the Washington D.C.-area sniper shootings.
Terrorists "can come to Montana, they can buy one of these weapons, go on a reign of terror, and there would be no way to track them down," he said.
He also questioned the logic of the state exempting itself from federal law.
"That's pretty cool, maybe we should say we aren't subject to the income tax," he said.
Dowell's complaints were dismissed as "crazy emotionalism" by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred. In the end, 73 lawmakers voted to move the bill forward, and afterward there was scattered applause on the House floor.
A third and final vote is expect today. If both bills pass their third vote, then they will move on to the Senate.
HOUSE BILL NO. 366
INTRODUCED BY KOOPMAN, WARD, BROWN, MAEDJE, JOHN BALYEAT, FUREY, GOLIE, CLARK, CAMPBELL, LANGE, MENDENHALL, KLOCK, EVERETT, WARDEN, SONJU, EATON, WINDHAM, JACKSON, COHENOUR, RIPLEY, HAWK
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT EXEMPTING FROM REGULATION UNDER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES A FIREARM, A FIREARM ACCESSORY, OR AMMUNITION MANUFACTURED AND RETAINED IN MONTANA."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Short title. [Sections 1 through 7 6] may be cited as the "Montana Firearms Freedom Act".
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Legislative declaration of authority. The legislature declares that the authority for [sections 1 through
7 6] is the following:
(1) The 10th amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guarantee of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.
(2) The ninth amendment to the United States constitution guarantees to the people rights not granted in the constitution and reserves to the people of Montana certain rights as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guarantee of those rights is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.
(3) The second amendment to the United States constitution reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889, and the guarantee of the right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.
(4) Article II, section 12, of the Montana constitution clearly secures to Montana citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Montana citizens to keep and bear arms. This constitutional protection is unchanged from the 1889 Montana constitution, which was approved by congress and the people of Montana, and the right exists as it was understood at the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Definitions. As used in [sections 1 through 7 6], the following definitions apply:
(1) "Borders of Montana" means the boundaries of Montana defined in Article I, section 1, of the 1889 Montana constitution.
(2) "Firearms accessories" means items that are used in conjunction with or mounted upon a firearm but are not essential to the basic function of a firearm, including but not limited to telescopic or laser sights, magazines, flash or sound suppressors, folding or aftermarket stocks and grips, speedloaders, ammunition carriers, and lights for target illumination.
(3) "Manufactured" means creating a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition from basic materials for functional usefulness, including but not limited to forging, casting, machining, or other processes for working materials.
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Prohibition. A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce. This section applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured in Montana from basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state. Generic and insignificant parts that have other manufacturing or consumer product applications are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition, and their importation into Montana and incorporation into a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured in Montana does not subject the firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to federal regulation. "Generic and insignificant parts" includes but is not limited to springs, screws, nuts, and pins. It is declared by the legislature that basic materials, such as unmachined steel and unshaped wood, are not firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition and are not subject to congressional authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition under interstate commerce as if they were actually firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition. The authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce in basic materials does not include authority to regulate firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition made in Montana from those materials. Firearms accessories that are imported into Montana from another state and that are subject to federal regulation as being in interstate commerce do not subject a firearm to federal regulation under interstate commerce because they are attached to or used in conjunction with a firearm in Montana.
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Exceptions. [Section 4] does not apply to:
(1) a firearm that cannot be carried and used by one person;
(2) a firearm that has a bore diameter greater than 1 1/2 inches and that uses smokeless powder, not black powder, as a propellant;
(3) ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm; or
(4) a firearm that discharges two or more projectiles with one activation of the trigger or other firing device.
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Marking of firearms. A firearm manufactured or sold in Montana under [sections 1 through
7 6] must have the words "Made in Montana" clearly stamped on a central metallic part, such as the receiver or frame.
NEW SECTION. Section 7. Duties of attorney general. (1) A Montana citizen whom the government of the United States attempts to prosecute, under the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce, for violation of a federal law concerning the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained within Montana must be defended in full by the Montana attorney general. (2) Upon written notification to the Montana attorney general by a Montana citizen of intent to manufacture a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition to which [sections 1 through 7] apply, the attorney general shall seek a declaratory judgment from the federal district court for the district of Montana that [sections 1 through 7] are consistent with the constitution, statutes, and case law of the United States.
- END -
Processed for the Web on February 10, 2005 (4:16pm)
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted.
See the status of this bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services
Denny Crane: "There are two places to find the truth. First God and then Fox News."
Way to go, Montana!
Its called freedom, you Kleimer! And, yes, a state exempting themselves from confiscatory federal taxes would be a great idea!
Koopman said Monday his gun bill, House Bill 366, would inspire a home-grown industry of gun-makers who produce firearms to be sold in Montana. It also sends a message reaffirming states' rights.
Awesome! Nullification makes a comeback!
I wondered aloud on this forum some years back about why every firearm company didnt just open a small factory in each state and stamp "Manufactured in and only for sale and use in the state of XXXXXX" on each item produced. Everyone jumped in saying it would never work and referred to the Commerce Clause. Its good to see someone taking a stand against Commerce Clause abuse.
This will go nowhere since no state can void a federal law.
What is in the water there anyway?
Can't do it though. As these grandstanders will find out soon enough.
Any state that allows CRIMINAL INVADERS to get drivers licenses should not have their drivers licenses respected by a state that does have proper checks on who get licenses.
Maybe not, but I am glad these Montanta legislators have the same spirit as the Founders, who did not "just shut up and take it". We were paying much less confiscatory taxes to King George than we are now. But they did just sit there afraid of offending the King. I would like to see more states tell the imperial feds in DC take a flying leap. What are they going to do? Send in troops?
If you believe a freely elected government is the equivalent of being a Royal possession then you don't understand much about our founding or the basis of our government. Your remarks wrt this nutiness clearly show your lack of understanding as regards our constitution.
John C. Calhoun, Patrick Henry and founders thumb-your-nose at tyranny bump.
These legislative attempts are because of the govts. complete lack of understanding of our constitution. (Unless, you think being a free citizen is the equivalent of 'justshutupandtakeit'.)
Jefferson was wrong in 1800s that "nullification" and state interpretation of the Constitution was appropriate. If you believe that is constitutional then you also do not understand what the Law of the Land means.
If "I don't like it therefore it is unconstitutional." is your judicial understanding then there isn't much there.
Yes the terrible "tyranny" of representational government elected by peers and citizens. It was a horror to King George and to Jefferson Davis. Which means "eh, so what?"
Current limit is for the most part 75 MPH. I was through last week.