July 8, 2011
The Potomac Rifle Match is tentatively on for Saturday, July 16th. I say tentatively because if he have an unabated week of extremely hot weather, we might need to reconsider because of fire danger. But at present, it looks okay.
I am now taking preregistration if you know you’ll be there and want a reserved slot. Give me name, town you come from, and class you want to shoot, Precision or Hunter.
If you haven’t fired a match with us before, please review the material at:
FYI, the hay has been cut on the meadow.
BTW, I did a 45-minute interview yesterday with the New York Times about the Firearms Freedom Act movement. The reporter thinks the story will run in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know when it does.
See you there.
June 20, 2011
Several of you have expressed interest in Bond v. US, a decision handed down earlier this week by the U.S. Supreme Court.
You know our goal for MSSA v. Holder is to roll back federal power by asserting state sovereignty and breathing life back into the neglected Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
Bond v. US does this, in spades. Bond reads like our briefs in support of MSSA v. Holder. It is stunning! Even more encouraging, Bond was a UNANIMOUS Supreme Court decision.
This apparent change in direction and sympathy by the Supreme Court indicates a much improved chance that the Supreme Court will look favorably on MSSA v. Holder when it gets before the Court (still no guarantee). Much more likely.
I’ve long had confidence that the Montana Firearms Freedom Act and MSSA v. Holder to validate the principles of the MFFA were the right things to do, and because they were so right they have special power. Bond is now infecting others with this same confidence.
The Bond decision is not a long read, but it’s a good one. You can read it at:
June 17, 2011
Some of you may be wondering why today’s Washington Times editorial about the Montana Firearms Freedom Act and our lawsuit to validate that, MSSA v. Holder, is important.
The purpose for the Montana Firearms Freedom Act is to use it and firearms as the vehicle to roll back a half-century-plus of bad Commerce Clause judicial precedent, power the federal government has been allowed by the courts to use improperly to regulate everything and anything it chooses. Only the U.S. Supreme Court can effectively reverse this history of bad precedent, so we’re playing for our case, MSSA v. Holder, to be heard and decided positively by the USSC.
However, the USSC only accepts (grants certiorari for) 5% of the cases appealed to it. There are two features of a case that cause the USSC to be more inclined to accept a case on appeal: 1) that it is about a core constitutional issue (which our case certainly is), and 2) that there are differences between or among the various circuit courts of appeal concerning how they’ve ruled on the same issue.
This case is certainly about a core constitutional issue. However, there have not yet been any lawsuits parallel to ours in other federal circuits. Replacing that impetus in part are the many other states that have enacted or introduced Firearms Freedom Acts. Still, this case needs to catch the attention of three or more justices on the USSC to cause them to vote to accept the case.
For building awareness among USSC justices that this case is percolating towards them and for sparking their interest, this Washington-local editorial is invaluable, as will be a front page story about the case due to soon appear in the Wall Street Journal. You can just bet that the USSC justices and their law clerks read the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Having such seeds planted before the case is appealed to the USSC may well make the difference, causing MSSA v. Holder to be one of the few cases the USSC chooses to accept and decide.
June 17, 2011
The last briefs of those supporting our side of MSSA v. Holder have been filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Those include the amici Goldwater Institute (joined by the CATO Institute), Gun Owners Foundation (joined by the U.S. Justice Foundation), and the State of Montana. These additional briefs should soon be posted to and available to peruse at:
Next, the U.S. DoJ (Holder) will submit its reply brief, rebutting arguments made in Appellants’ (MSSA, SAF and myself) Principle Brief, and the briefs of various supporting amici (friends of us or of the Court). Then, any amici may submit briefs supporting the U.S. position (the Brady Center for Whatever submitted an opposing brief at the District Court rehashing their standard, anti-gun rhetoric). Then, Appellants (us again) will have the opportunity to submit a reply brief, rebutting arguments made by the U.S.
The case on appeal will then be assigned to a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth is the busiest federal appeals court in the U.S., and simply doesn’t have the time or resources to hear cases en banc (full court). Oral argument may or may not be requested by the Court. The decision of this three-judge panel will carry the full weight of a Ninth Circuit decision, although a motion for en banc review of the three-judge panel decision would then be ripe and might be a possibility down the road.
Remember, the purpose of MSSA v. Holder is to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, and by doing so to BOTH breathe effective life back into the Ninth and Tenth Amendments AND to roll back federal power claimed under the guise of regulating “commerce” “among the several states” (the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution) – generally to set precedent for states’ rights and state sovereignty.
What can the Ninth Circuit do with MSSA v. Holder? There are many options. They can remand back to the District Court for an actual trial on the merits of the case (the case was dismissed by the District Court prior to trial, which dismissal is now the subject of the appeal to the Ninth). They can uphold the dismissal, upon which we would have the alternatives of moving for an en banc review or of appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court (where we actually need to get with this lawsuit). The Ninth could give us a win on merit while upholding our standing and jurisdiction (unlikely, but in which the U.S. would probably appeal to the USSC). The Ninth could also give us a partial win and partial loss, while also recognizing that we have standing and jurisdiction. While there is absolutely no way to actually predict what the Ninth will do with MSSA v. Holder, the two most likely options are probably to either uphold the District Court’s dismissal, or to reverse the District Court’s dismissal and remand the case to the District Court for actual trial.
Regardless, it’s a fascinating exercise in liberty, and will (has already) ratchet up the national dialog about the import of the Tenth Amendment.
Stay tuned … “May you live in interesting times.” (Old Chinese curse.)
June 10, 2011
I am now taking pre-registration for the Potomac Precision Rifle Match for Saturday, June 18th. If you’re sure to be there and you want a guaranteed slot in that match, reply to this email with your name, your town, and whether you want in Precision Class or Hunter Class. We accept walk-ons, but the match capacity is 45 riflemen.
Anyone not familiar with the classes, location or match see the details at:
For those of you who haven’t fired this match, it is a field match (no shooting benches) at a ranchland setting. There are no prizes or trophies so it’s not highly competitive. I think of it as more of an opportunity to play with rifles at distance, under organized conditions and safety.
There is a Hunter Class with 43 steel targets downrange mostly between 100 and 300 yards (a couple a bit longer), and a Precision Class with 67 steel targets downrange from 300 to 1,000 yards (with an optional target at 1,337 yards). If you want to learn how to hit targets at distance with a rifle, this is a great learning opportunity.
These matches are a full day of shooting. Come play and see if you can hit stuff a long ways away.
If you have more questions after having looked at the Website above, shoot me a long-range email.
June 10, 2011
Briefs are getting filed in MSSA v. Holder before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This is MSSA’s lawsuit to validate the principles of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. this a challenge to federal power asserted under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to regulate every human (and non-human) activity under the guise of regulating “commerce … among the several states.”
As more briefs become available, we will continue to post them at:
Appellants (those of us appealing the adverse decision of the federal District Court) include MSSA, the Second Amendment Foundation, and myself as the sole individual plaintiff.
Available so far are Appellants’ Principal Brief, the brief of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and the brief of the Pacific Legal Foundation.
Expected by the deadline next Monday are the briefs of the Goldwater Institute (now including CATO), the State of Utah (also representing several other states), the State of Montana (now backed down from Intervenor status to amicus status), Montana Legislators, Gun Owner’s Foundation (Gun Owners of America [also with U.S. Justice's Gary Kreep] ), the Weapons Collectors Society of Montana and perhaps even some of the anti-gun crowd such as the Brady Center For The Idiotic Idea That Guns Must Somehow Cause Violence.
Stay tuned. We’ll post more briefs to the Website as they become available.
June 1, 2011
MISSOULA – A course entitled “Gun Safety for Personal Protection and Concealed Weapon Permits” will be hosted in Missoula by the Montana Shooting Sports Association on Sunday, June 26th.
This one-day course will focus on safe handling, storage and use of handguns suitable for personal protection, selecting a personal firearm, issues of personal protection, allowable use of lethal force, concealed weapon permits, kids and gun safety, and shooting skills, and will include both classroom and shooting range sessions.
Graduates will receive a credential qualifying them to apply for concealed weapon permits under Montana law. The class will begin at 9:00 AM, and finish about 4:00 PM.
Class size is limited to the first 20 registrants. Preregistration is required. Tuition is $100 per student. Students should be 16 years or older.
For further information or to register, call 549-1252.
To register by email, reply to this email and provide:
U.S. Mail or residence address
Contact phone number
Expect an email confirmation of your class registration.
Further class instructions will be supplied by return email.
May 11, 2011
An MSSA e-list member asked me to clarify where and how what sort of carry is legal in Montana, since the Governor vetoed HB 271.
If you want to know about all the gun laws in Montana, get my book, Gun Laws of Montana.
First, the definition of “concealed” for concealed weapons in Montana is not a dictionary definition as in hidden from view. Rather, the definition is specified in law as “wholly or partially covered by clothing or wearing apparel.” Thus, under the seat of your car (in Montana – different in other states), in the console between the seats, in the glove box, in a backpack, in a briefcase, and even in a woman’s purse are not considered to be “concealed” for the purpose of Montana concealed weapon law.
Under current law you may carry openly most places, regardless of city limits. You may carry concealed outside city limits without a permit. You may carry concealed inside city limits without a permit in your home or place of business (presumably with your employer’s permission). You may also carry concealed inside city limits without a permit if you are a person “who is lawfully engaged in hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, backpacking, farming, ranching, or other outdoor activity in which weapons are often carried for recreation or protection;”, says current law.
So, if you are inside city limits, outside your home or place of business, and not doing one of the list of outdoor things exempted in the law, and have a firearm “wholly or partially covered by clothing or wearing apparel,” you must have a concealed weapon permit to be legal.
May 11, 2011
I just got a call from the Associated Press wanting comment on the Governor’s veto of HB 271, to allow concealed carry without a permit inside city limits.
According to the AP, the Governor vetoed 15 bills today, including HB 271.
I told the AP something like, “It’s too bad the Governor sees people who are inside city limits as second-class citizens, and not as trustworthy as their country cousins who live outside cities. This does call into question the Governor’s longtime claim that he’s pro-gun.”
I expect the Governor’s veto message (when it becomes available) to say that HB 271 is dangerous to our great defenders, police, who can never be there when you or I are attacked.
April 30, 2011
There are three MSSA bills on Governor Brian Schweitzer’s desk. The Governor needs messages asking him to sign these bills.
You can phone messages to the Governor’s office at 444-3111, or you can email the Governor at:
I doubt that the Governor’s staff are actually reading the text of emails, so be sure to put what you want in the Subject line, such as “Please sign HB XX.”
Here are the bills.
HB 159, to prevent FWP from regulating ammunition. We asked for this bill because of FWP’s ill-conceived proposal last year to ban lead shot for upland game bird hunting. HB 159 would reserve future such decisions to the Legislature. If FWP had a history of responsible conduct, HB 159 wouldn’t be necessary.
HB 271, permitless carry. There’s been no problem with permitless concealed carry in 99.4% of Montana (outside cities) for two decades, and with permitless open carry in and out of cities forever. When the Governor signed HB 228 (our Self Defense bill) in 2009, he commented that he was disappointed that the permitless carry feature had not stayed in that bill. If he liked permitless carry then, he should like it now.
SB 136, born in Montana, hunt in Montana. The conference committee, final version of SB 136 allows a nonresident to come home to hunt with family for FOUR times the cost of a resident license, but without going through the chancy license drawing process.