The law would exempt from federal regulation all guns, ammunition, and accessories that are made, sold, and kept within the state — provided they are stamped with the words “Made in Montana.”

The idea is that since the federal government justifies its regulations using the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, it has no authority to regulate intrastate trade in firearms. The text of the bill cites the Ninth and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution which guarantee “to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time that Montana was admitted to statehood in 1889. The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889.” It also cites the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its own constitution which “clearly secures to Montana citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Montana citizens to keep and bear arms.”

Similar attempts to challenge the federal government on other issues have prompted armed federal raids and less-than-favorable outcomes in court. The state of California legalized medical marijuana that was grown and kept within the state, but in 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that since marijuana in California is indistinguishable from marijuana grown elsewhere, the federal government had the authority to regulate both. The firearms in question would be distinguishable from out-of-state guns because of the required stamp, so how the court would rule is still uncertain. link

The states need more bills such as this, to push back against the ever increasing control and regulation of states by the federal government. It appears federalism is alive and well in Montana. Hopefully, we will see many states, in addition to Texas who has similar legislation in the works,  follow suit.

It’s time for the states to take back some of our ever eroding rights.