December 6, 2022

Northwestern Energy Turns Against the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Press Release from the Montana Shooting Sports Association:

Northwestern Energy, a company usually concerned only with efficient delivery of electricity and natural gas in Montana, took the bold step today to also become an active opponent of the right to keep and bear arms in Montana.

In a dramatic departure from usual corporate practice, Northwestern took a strong stance against House Bill 598, the Gun Owners Access to Justice Act, in a public hearing before the Montana House Judiciary Committee today. Since the purpose HB 598 is to create a referendum on this issue for a vote by Montana citizens, Northwestern is also against allowing Montana people to vote on this important issue.

During the hearing on HB 598, the lobbyist representing Northwestern actually took the committee microphone five different times to reiterate Northwestern’s total opposition to the bill.

Also speaking in opposition to HB 598 was a representative of Moms Demand Action, a national group founded and funded by billionaire and anti-gun former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This concurrence and Northwestern’s dramatic departure from its former policy of lobbying only about energy bills raises the question of whether billionaire Bloomberg may have financial ties to Northwestern.

Gary Marbut is President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, the primary political advocate for gun owners in Montana. Marbut supported HB 598 before the committee and commented on the unusual opposition by Northwestern, “It’s a mystery to me why Northwestern would choose to burn so much political capital with the Legislature, with Montana ratepayers, and with investors, by launching so actively and visibly against the interests of Montana gun owners. I’d guess that 90% of Northwestern’s Montana customers are gun owners. How does it serve Northwestern’s corporate interests to poke a stick at this bear?”

The Gun Owners Access to Justice Act clarifies that a high level of judicial scrutiny be applied to any government actions that impair the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, a level of scrutiny that is already applied to other fundamental rights. It would also allow court costs and attorney fees for any person who successfully sued a governmental entity because the person’s rights had been violated by that government entity.

In D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right. Under the Montana Constitution, fundamental rights are considered to be those which the people have reserved to themselves from government interference in Article II, the Declaration of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms is in the Declaration of Rights at Section 12.

If approved by the House Judiciary Committee, HB 598 will move to the floor of the House for Second and Third Readings, and then on to the Senate for the same consideration. If approved by both House and Senate, HB 598 will go on the next General Election ballot for a vote of the people, and will not require the Governor’s signature. HB 598 is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Monforton (R-Bozeman).


MT AG Request for Action Goes Unanswered. Now What?

Montana Attorney General has let pass my deadline of Noon today (it’s now after 2PM) to at least acknowledge my request that he look into the details of the recent federal raid on the Bozeman brass recycling business. Pasted next below, for your information, is the strongly-worded followup message I sent to Fox on Tuesday, becoming more insistent that he conduct some sort of inquiry into the federal raid in Bozeman, and giving him until Noon today to respond. Of course, he doesn’t like being told what to do (as he may see this), even though he’s a public servant. Apparently, he thinks it’s just not important to stick up for Montana people.

Now, I need your help to change his mind about that. I ask you to do several things:

1) Email Fox and demand that he conduct an inquiry into the Bozeman raid, as requested. Feel free to use strong language, if you like, but don’t be rude, don’t call him names, and don’t use profanity. Send your emails to all of these email addresses:,,,, Heck, email every day until this logjam breaks.

2) Call for Fox at the Montana Department of Justice at 406-444-2026 – same message; same rules as above.

3) Redistribute this email to any and all interested Montanans.

4) Send this email to your local legislators and insist that they contact Fox with a demand for performance.

5) Write letters to the editor of local daily and weekly papers calling for Fox to investigate as requested.

6) Call in to radio talk shows with the same.

7) Engage in any other First Amendment activism you can think of to cause Fox to feel the heat and see the light.

Attorney General Fox is in a position to require federal enforcers to mind their manners in Montana. The questions are, does he care, and will he?

Thanks loads for your help.

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana


April 15, 2014

Tim Fox
Attorney General of Montana
Montana Department of Justice
Helena, Montana

Dear Attorney General Fox,

I have received no response from you to my request (pasted below, for your reference) that you investigate an armed federal raid on a Bozeman business a couple of weeks ago. You have not even acknowledged receipt of my request.

Your earned reputation is that you avoid controversy. I imagine you don’t like the idea of disapproval by federal officials for investigating their actions. You may think that, if you just wait a while, interest in this will die down and the whole business will blow over, leaving you in a comfort zone of doing nothing.

If you think that, you are mistaken.

If you don’t show any sign of action in this matter, possibly because you prefer to avoid controversy, you will leave me no alternative but to make it extremely controversial that you seem quite willing to sit on the sidelines and abandon Montanans, requiring them to fend for themselves in the face of armed federal aggression.

Did the federal enforcers break any laws while conducting their Bozeman raid? We won’t know until you look into it. We already know that the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and the Bozeman Police Department were actively involved in the raid, so we could hardly expect either of those entities to do any sort of honest investigation. They’d more likely make excuses or actively cover up any wrongdoing than conduct any sort of honest investigation, especially since the known facts point to their complicity in the operation. The U.S. Attorney for Montana has no interest. As with the GCSO and BPD, he has more motive to whitewash or actively cover up any wrongdoing than to conduct an honest investigation. So, that leaves you.

In case you have been off on vacation somewhere and away from the news, let me inform you that lots of people are seething with resentment at the high-handed and aggressive tactics of federal employees, witness what has been happening recently in Nevada. In that situation, federal authorities sent scores of federal employees armed with machine guns and sniper rifles, and possibly some military personnel, to take a rancher’s cattle. They threatened to kill people who protested. They attempted to confine protesters to a small “free speech zone” miles from their operation. We simply will not tolerate similar treatment of people in Montana. We elected you to stick up for us.

So, you can either cowboy up and do your job by looking out for the people of Montana, or force me to make your lack of action more distressful for you than any discomfort associated with a quick, assertive and honest review of the Bozeman raid.

I now specifically suggest that you appoint an ad hoc commission of at least two elected legislators and one experienced investigator, and others if you like, and give them ten (10) calendar days to give you a report that addresses the issues raised in my request to you, and any other issues that you may think of or that may arise in the course of the investigation. In case you are short on ideas about suitable legislators, I offer in suggestion Senator Terry Murphy, Senator Art Wittich, Rep. Krayton Kerns, and Rep. Austin Knudsen. If it is possible for you to give this group subpoena powers or other empowering support, I suggest you do so.

You may think the tone of this message intemperate. I guarantee you it is much more restrained than my first draft. You may operate in such genteel and protected circles that you simply don’t understand that people are at the end of their rope with armed federal aggression. Public tension is real and visceral. People are locked and loaded, if you know what that means. The subject of armed federal aggression is no longer a law school or editorial debate. Your ongoing and energetic defense of Montana people, beginning with decisive action about the Bozeman raid, might just avoid real bloodshed over the next such incident in Montana. I believe bloodshed is very much worth avoiding, worth much more than the price of your disinterest or any discomfort you might experience from seeking answers to questions about federal and local officials’ conduct.

I expect you to acknowledge receipt of my request for your involvement, I expect you to say for certain if you will or won’t act, I expect you to offer at least some general explanation of your intended involvement if you will pursue this, and I expect that response electronically by no later than Noon on this Thursday, April 17th.

“The test for whether one is living in a police state is that those who are charged with enforcing the law are allowed to break the laws with impunity.” — Jon Rolan

Very sincerely yours,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana