Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Montana plans to test federal gun laws

rifle.jpgThis could get interesting.

Montana officials would like to know whether firearms made in that state, for sale to the people of that state, and for use within the state should be subject to federal gun-registration laws.

A bill passed by the Montana Legislature asserts that such firearms should be exempt from federal registration, background checks and dealer-licensing rules because the guns and their owners would not cross state lines.

“It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the Associated Press.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, signed the bill into law. It calls for guns intended only for Montana to be stamped “Made in Montana.” According to the AP report, the law’s drafters hope to trigger the inevitable legal battle by producing a “Montana-made youth-model single-shot bolt-action .22 rifle.” They would then find a “squeaky clean” Montanan willing to send a note to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms threatening to build 20 of the rifles without federal dealership licensing.

If ATF officials say it’s illegal, the bill’s drafters plan to sue and take the case to as high a court as possible.

Grab a cold one and pop some popcorn; we’re in for quite a show.