A number of states have enacted firearms freedom act statutes seeking to regulate intra-state sales of firearms, over which the federal government has no authority.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has threatened to go after any party which manufactures or sells a firearm without complying with the federal licensing scheme.
The first state firearms freedom law that has gone to federal court is Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act, and, on behalf of Gun Owners of America, Inc., we were invited to be among the three counsel to argue in district court on behalf of the plaintiff Montana Shooting Sports Association (“MSSA”).
The Obama administration claims that, under the commerce clause, the federal government has plenary power to regulate the licensing of the manufacture and sale of firearms to the total exclusion of the states. Herb Titus argued that Congress has actually exercised less power than claimed, keeping the door open for states to develop their own firearms policies, and therefore urged the court to resolve the matter short of addressing the constitutional questions. Additionally, we claimed the Second Amendment, itself, precludes the licensing of firearms just as the First Amendment precludes the licensing of the press.
Quentin Rhodes, Esquire of Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhodes, P.C. represents MSSA.
Gary Marbut, President of MSSA, has been the architect of this strategy to assert the right of the states to regulate intrastate sales.