Missoula, MT –-(Ammoland.com)- 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: https://firearmsfreedomact.com/
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.
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana