Montana Tells AG Garland: We Will not Aid ATF in Enforcing Pistol Brace Rule

Second Amendment Supporters Can Make A Major Montana Gain
Montana Tells AG Garland: We Will not Aid ATF in Enforcing Pistol Brace Rule. iStock-884194872

The Governor of the State of Montana has penned a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, explaining the State of Montana and its political subdivisions cannot “enforce, or assist the ATF enforcement” of the rule criminalizing the possession of pistol braces as short barreled rifles under the National Firearms Act.

Governor Greg Gianforte refers to House Bill 258, which was passed and signed into law in 2021. From HB 258, now MCA 45-8-368:

Prohibition Of Enforcement

45-8-368. Prohibition of enforcement. (1) A peace officer, state employee, or employee of a political subdivision is prohibited from enforcing, assisting in the enforcement of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition and is also prohibited from participating in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition.

(2) An employee of the state or a political subdivision may not expend public funds or allocate public resources for the enforcement of a federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition.

(3) Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit or otherwise limit a peace officer, state employee, or employee of a political subdivision from cooperating, communicating, or collaborating with a federal agency if the primary purpose is not:

(a) law enforcement activity related to a federal ban; or

(b) the investigation of a violation of a federal ban.

Governor Gianforte informs Attorney General Merrick Garland of the definition of a ban under the law:


45-8-367. Definitions. As used in 45-8-365 through 45-8-368, the following definitions apply:

(1) ”Federal ban” means a federal law, executive order, rule, regulation that is enacted, adopted, or becomes effective on or after January 1, 2021, or a new and more restrictive interpretation of a law that existed on January 1, 2021, that infringes upon, calls in question, or prohibits, restricts, or requires individual licensure for or registration of the purchase, ownership, possession, transfer, or use of any firearm, any magazine or other ammunition feeding device, or other firearm accessory.

(2) ”Firearm” means any self-loading rifle, pistol, revolver, or shotgun or any manually loaded rifle, pistol, revolver, or shotgun.

(3) ”Peace officer” has the meaning provided in 45-2-101, except that 45-8-365 through 45-8-368 do not apply to federal employees.

(4) ”Political subdivision” means a city, town, county, consolidated government, or other political subdivision of the state.

Governor Gianforte then tells AG Garland the State of Montana will not assist the federal government in enforcing the new rule, which essentially changes pistols equipped with pistol braces into short barreled rifles, requiring a special tax stamp from the ATF.

The power of state governments to refuse to cooperate with federal agencies is a long-established principle of the Constitution known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. The federal government may not require the states to enforce federal laws. From the

 State and local governments can refuse to enforce federal laws or implement federal programs for any reason they chose. They can prohibit or limit cooperation with the feds because they think the feds are acting outside of their constitutional limits, or simply because it’s Tuesday and there is snow on the ground.

No state has to use its resources to enforce federal laws. It does not matter if the federal law is constitutional or not. All that matters is the state has the power to direct the uses of its resources as it sees fit.

Montana has chosen not to enforce new federal gun laws as described in Statute 45-8-368.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Arizona would have done the same, if our elections for governor and AG had not been stolen by democrats with the blessing and assistance of treasonous scum republicans infesting our state house and senate… and elections board.

Hear Me Roar - Courageous Lion

I never thought it could happen with the presidential election either. BUT…

Roland T. Gunner

This type of “dull teeth” response is good, as far as it goes. It would be nice if governors and county sheriffs (I skipped over mayors) would just inform the DoJ that any federal officer sttempting to enforce any unconstitutional laws in their jurisdiction would be arrested, charged, and imprisoned after a fair trial.


“…imprisoned after pending a fair trial.” There, fixed it for you.

Hear Me Roar - Courageous Lion

EXACTLY. Did you know that the Militias had the ability to convene citizen grand juries and indict traitors? Which was one of the MAIN REASONS they did away with them.


Thankfully we have an active AG and Governor currently holding office in MT.

Hear Me Roar - Courageous Lion

Now, if only they will ARREST and TRY and IMPRISON any Federal agent that violates SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED under title 42 of the US Code.


Montana tells the ATF to go pounds sand with thier brace ruling ! Just the facts ! I am proud to be a lifetime Montana resident .


Idaho essentially codified this same approach into law 2 years ago. The Idaho Ag would come down very hard on infractions.


Are you sure about that? I believe Texas passed a law that resources could not be used to enforce any new gun control law — but rule in question simply redefines items to fall under NFA of 1934. This is not a new law, thus I do not believe our state law applies.

I’d be thrilled to learn otherwise – or to read that our state government has made statements indicating supporting us.

Knute Knute

I think Finnky was asking if Idaho has just redefined the meaning of; “used for”, as he says that TX has done. Montana could do that too, just say that Montana’s money spent on enforcing this is fine, bc money isn’t technically a “resource”! Montana COULD say that… but they won’t. At least, haven’t yet. The majority of the people here take a dim view of political words games that affect our liberty. And then there’s also that Gianforte got elected largely bc we liked him beating up on that idiot reporter. He won the election just a few days… Read more »


That’s correct. Idaho. No state resources, money, etc, may be used.


“Simply because it Tuesday and there’s snow on the ground.”
Gotta love that part of the article!


Great article. It looks like America is branching off into free states and oppressed states. The overarching federal government full of un-elected bureaucrats remains a constant.


Just like the illegal pot laws in various states that do not follow federal drug laws. It’s sad that legal gun owners and great governors have to do things they would normally not due, and that is abide by the law. Biden and Garland, follow the laws at the border and maybe some us will join you and assist in stopping the Cartels by shooting more illegal aliens who are mulling crap over our borders.


Two thumbs up Montana.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bigfootbob

Super! Let the people say!


No state has to use its resources to enforce federal laws. It does not matter if the federal law is constitutional or not. All that matters is the state has the power to direct the uses of its resources as it sees fit.”

Ok, but does this mean that a state, or local government, or an individual citizen cannot enforce federal laws >without the permission of the feds<?

Knute Knute

This is already the case. No State has the power to file federal charges. A State employee must contact the feds and ask them to file federal charges.


You know, the justices read the briefs , pass them around and initial them.. Basically, they sit on the toilet tank for reading material. There has been a stay on this since the initial law suit, waiting for the “rule” to drop.

I’m expecting the courts do dispense of this rule like a day old turd. Quickly. Hopefully well before the 120 days is up. Luckily it is not a mexican standoff. We have rule of law.

Hear Me Roar - Courageous Lion

“we have rule of law”. Where? They have been ignoring the LAW, that is the CONSTITUTION for decades upon decades.


its just a “saying” don’t be alarmed.. the government is coming for you.


Too bad they have no problem helping them enforce all the other arms laws.