Earlier this week Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock filed an amicus brief with the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco, arguing that the 9th and 10th Amendments give states authority over matters not “explicitly federal,” as the MSSA v Holder appeal moves forward in federal court.

Bullock is among 10 state attorneys general (not to mention dozens of elected officials) who are backing the suit, filed by Montana Shooting Sports Association and MSSA President Gary Marbut, who claim the 10th Amendment limits the federal government’s authority to regulate gun sales.

The core of the lawsuit is the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, a state law that declares guns made in Montana, stamped “Made in Montana” and staying in-state, aren’t subject to federal regulations. Similar FFA legislation has been enacted in Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota, and introduced into 22 other state legislatures.

However, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives refuses to acknowledge the FFA, stating federal law supersedes state law. BATFE’s dismissal of the Firearms Freedom Act spurred the MSSA and Marbut to file the suit. Last July, Montana federal judge Donald Molloy ruled that the Montana Firearms Act was unconstitutional. Marbut filed the appeal in the 9th Circuit Court in September.

Marbut plans to manufacture a miniature rifle, called the Montana Buckaroo, based on an 1899 Winchester model and intended for children between ages five and 10. He wants to sell it, free from federal laws requiring him to record transactions, pay license fees and open his business to government inspectors.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Marbut said the suit and subsequent appeal isn’t about the Second Amendment, but the 10th Amendment, which addresses the limits of federal power. Marbut says a wide range of federal laws, not just gun regulations, should be invalid because they were based on an erroneous interpretation of Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

“This is really about states’ rights and federal power rather than gun control,” Mr. Marbut told the WSJ. There is “an emerging awareness by the people of America that the federal government has gone too far,” he maintains, “and it’s dependent on a really weird interpretation.”

For more, go to:
A Gun Activist Takes Aim at U.S. Regulatory Power

The Battle Over Buckaroo: Suit Challenges Congress’ Right to Regulate Guns

EDITORIAL: States challenge feds on guns

Firearms Freedom Act

Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Montana Firearms Freedom Act MSSA v. Holder Transcript