Unbelievably, the 9th Circuit has butted into Montana’s state business and overturned Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act.
Conservatives made a mistake in believing the court was going to rescue the country from the health care takeover, an error they’ve repeated in hoping the legal system would end the federal encroachment on gun rights. It was worth a try, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dashed this hope on Friday when it rendered Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act useless.
Montana lawmakers used this law to tell the federal government that it has no business regulating a locally produced firearm that never leaves state boundaries. The item by definition does not participate in interstate commerce, which is all the Constitution says Congress has the right to regulate. When Gregory Marbut, a prospective Montana gunmaker, asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives whether it would respect this statute, the federal agency all but promised to bust down the doors of anyone who tried.
Not even a decade ago, the reliably liberal 9th Circuit would have agreed with Montana. “We cannot agree,” the court ruled in case from 2003, “that simple possession of machineguns — particularly possession of homemade machineguns — has a substantial effect on interstate commerce … . Possession of a machinegun is not, without more, economic in nature.”
Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the 9th Circuit to reverse itself in light of Gonzales v. Raich, the high court decision giving federal agents a green light to crack down on medical marijuana, irrespective of state laws authorizing its use. The pot ruling also torpedoes the right to produce a gun labeled “Made in Montana” without the explicit blessing of bureaucrats in Washington.