September 24, 2020

Supreme Court Refuses to Accept MT. Petition in MSSA v. Holder

Dear MSSA Friends,

The US Supreme Court has declined to accept the State of Montana’s separate petition for review of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in our lawsuit to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA), MSSA v. Holder. We’re now at the end of this particular road.

Thanks ever so much to Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades for being MSSA’s sympathetic and competent legal counsel throughout. Thanks also to MSSA’s partner in this lawsuit, the Second Amendment Foundation. And, thanks to the Montana legislators who believed enough in liberty and states’ rights to pass the MFFA.

Still, there’s more to be said about the effort.

The MFFA caught a sympathetic wave as the first legislation of its type in the US. It was cloned and enacted in eight other states, and cloned and introduced in the legislatures of about 23 other states yet. Clearly, a majority of the states of the US are operating under the same frustration with the run amok federal government as is Montana. Further, the MFFA inspired a whole wave of other “freedom acts,” such as the light bulb freedom act, the whiskey freedom act, the tobacco freedom act, the healthcare freedom act, and others. Inspired by the MFFA, the US is now alive with “nullification” efforts at the state level – state efforts telling the federal government to back off.

Also, because there are enacted or introduced FFAs in so many other states, there may well be parallel lawsuits occurring in other federal court circuits, putting pressure on the Supreme Court to rethink its rejection of the effort.

There is certainly good reason for the Supreme Court to step into this general controversy, if it has any hope to maintain respect for it’s historic-but-abandoned turf as any sort of check on the other federal branches. See again my open letter to the Supreme Court urging the justices to accept MSSA v. Holder, at:
http://www.wnd.com/files/2013/11/MontanaLetter22.pdf

In a gentlemen’s agreement with the BATFE, and while our lawsuit was working, I steadfastly advised everyone to NOT make and sell the Montana-only firearms authorized by the MFFA. I no longer take that position. However, I DO now warn people that attempting to do what the MFFA authorizes may result in federal persecution (and prosecution).

Finally, this epic trip to the US Supreme Court, and the Court’s rejection of MSSA v. Holder, have finally persuaded me that it is fruitless to expect any part of the federal government to control the lust for centralized and tyrannical power that our federal government displays. Further, and perhaps more important, it proves that it is improper to rely on the federal government, or any branch thereof, to be the judge of what powers the states have delegated to the federal government in the Constitution. As the creator of the Constitution and the federal government, only the states may properly or practically do that.

That’s why I have proposed the concept of the Constitutional Settlements Commission (CSC), a way for the states to operate in unison to “just say no” to the federal government and its countless minions. For a more thorough discussion of the CSC concept, see:
http://www.marbut.com/csc

In closing, I must admit that my fervent hopes for a peaceful restoration of individual liberty and states’ rights have been dimmed by the Supreme Court and it’s rejection of MSSA v. Holder. I wonder if the justices of the Supreme Court have noticed what’s going on in the Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, and other places.

It’s been a great run. Thanks for your interest and support. While I remain totally committed to peaceful political efforts to restore liberty, the alternative is never off the table. That’s exactly why we have reserved to ourselves the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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SCOTUS Denies MSSA v. Holder Appeal

Dear MSSA Friends,

If you’ve been attending to the commercial Montana news media, you will have seen that the US Supreme Court has officially denied MSSA’s appeal of MSSA v. Holder from the Ninth Circuit.

However, it’s not over yet. The State of Montana also and separately asked for the SC to take the case. That is, Montana filed its own petition for certiorari. The SC has not acted on that petition yet – probably won’t until early February.

That news is not very encouraging since the SC has already declined to hear the case once. But, a request from a state has a better chance than a request from private parties. So, we’ll see. But I’m not holding my breath.

I’ll get out more info when we know more.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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Montana AG submits cert petition in MSSA v. Holder

Dear MSSA Friends,

Tim Fox, Montana’s Attorney General, has submitted a separate petition to the US Supreme Court for the Court to accept our lawsuit to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, MSSA v. Holder.

Attorneys tell me that this separate cert petition by the State of Montana will significantly improve the chances that the Supreme Court will accept and rule on MSSA v. Holder.

I am disappointed in the content of Montana’s separate cert petition, however. Rather than keeping with our broad theme of liberty, and resurrection of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, Montana’s petition seeks a remand to the Ninth Circuit for reconsideration of the “substantial effects” doctrine associated with historic Interstate Commerce Clause jurisprudence. Unfortunately, discussion of “substantial effects” is the lawyers’ version of the classic theological debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Plus, previous challenges to federal Interstate Commerce Clause authority that relied on attacks on the “substantial effects” doctrine have failed.

So, thumbs up to AG Fox’s effort for Montana to submit its own cert petition. However, diminished kudos for allowing that effort to distract from the broad principles of liberty that have been asserted all along by MSSA and our supporters, and for seeking to devolve the case into lawyers’ arguments about legal trivia (even though Fox’s petition did a great job of arguing the legal trivia).

If you’re interested in reading them, the cert petitions from MSSA and Montana, and the supporting briefs by our friends, are all posted at:
http://firearmsfreedomact.com/montana-lawsuit-updates/

The Supreme Court should now decide soon, probably within 45 days, if it will accept and consider MSSA v. Holder.

Many of you will remember and appreciate that getting this case before the US Supreme Court is the culmination of a decade of effort. I originally wrote the Montana Firearms Freedom Act in 2004. We had it before the Montana Legislature in 2005 and 2007, and finally got it passed in 2009. We filed our federal lawsuit to validate the principles of the MFFA on the day the MFFA became effective in Montana, October 1, 2009.

The purpose of the MFFA and the lawsuit is to roll back federal power asserted under the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause, which allows Congress to “regulate commerce … among the several states.” For this effort to trim back federal power, firearms are the vehicle for the exercise, but not the object of the exercise. The MFFA declares that the feds simply have no authority to regulate any firearms made and retained within Montana.

Eight other states have enacted clones of the original MFFA, and 23 other states have introduced MFFA-clone bills.

Many thanks to Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades who has been our stalwart champion in this lawsuit since the beginning. Thanks also to MSSA’s co-plaintiff in the case, the Second Amendment Foundation, and to the many amici (friends of the court) who have supported us, which include the Weapons Collectors Society of Montana, the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the AG of Utah (also representing 12 other AGs), and others.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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Oral Argument To Be Heard in MSSA v. Holder March 4, 2013

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA v. Holder, our lawsuit to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, will have oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon, this coming Monday, March 4th.

With many thanks to generous MSSA donors, my costs for travel lodgings and other are covered by MSSA and I will be there. I’ll get you a report when I get back.

Audio and/or video of the oral argument should appear on the Ninth Circuit’s Website by Noon on Tuesday, at:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/index_video.php

Most of you will remember that the MFFA uses firearms as the vehicle to challenge federal power to regulate or prohibit basically everything under the enumerated power given to Congress by the states in the Constitution to “regulate commerce … among the several states …”, the Commerce Clause. MSSA advances some fresh and powerful arguments that have never been made in Commerce Clause litigation before (such as the Ninth and Tenth Amendments actually amended the Commerce Clause and its possible implementation).

I wrote and submitted an article today to The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. telling more of the story about MSSA’s Commerce Clause challenge. If that article is published before I leave, I’ll shoot you the link. (Here’s the link to that article.)

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
Author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.MTPublish.com

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