With Democrats in control of Congress and the White House, there has been a lot of talk about imposing strict new gun control laws, such as bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, among a variety of other limitations and infringements upon the Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms.
Any new restrictions will have little or no impact on gun owners in Montana, however, now that Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) has signed into law a bill that seeks to nullify federal firearms laws at the state and local level, as The Hill reports.
Second Amendment secured
It was on Friday that Gov. Gianforte signed into law the bill that aims to protect gun owners in the state by prohibiting the enforcement of new federal prohibitions that violate the rights enshrined within the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“Today, I proudly signed Rep. Hinkle’s law prohibiting federal overreach into our Second Amendment-protected rights, including any federal ban on firearms,” the governor tweeted. “I will always protect our #2A right to keep and bear arms.”
Today, I proudly signed Rep. Hinkle’s law prohibiting federal overreach into our Second Amendment-protected rights, including any federal ban on firearms.
— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) April 23, 2021
According to the Associated Press, the new law prohibits state and local law enforcement officials from enforcing or implementing — or aiding in the enforcement and implementation of — any new bans or regulations related to firearms, ammunition, magazines, or related accessories.
The measure also prohibits the expenditure of any state funds for the enforcement or implementation of such new laws and regulations at the federal level.
Democrats critical of this new law have argued that it will likely endanger individuals and communities by hampering cooperation between local, state, and federal officials — but notably, it’s not likely they’ve been singing that tune when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.
The AP reported separately in March that at least a dozen Republican-led states were considering similar measures to protect law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment from potential overreach and infringements at the federal level.
Some of those proposals are stricter than others, such as including criminal penalties for state and local officials who aid the feds, and not all of the measures will be signed into law, or if so, survive the inevitable legal challenges ahead. Nevertheless, the symbolic point is being made that — at least in those states — the Second Amendment is sacrosanct and will be protected.
Constitutional carry, too?
This isn’t the only good news on the gun rights front in Montana. The Montana Free Press reports that Gov. Gianforte in February signed into law a bill granting the right of “constitutional carry” for law-abiding adults in the state, meaning that with very few exceptions, Montanans can carry a concealed handgun wherever they choose without having to first obtain a license or permit from the state, as is the case in many other less gun-friendly states.
With very narrow margins of control in the two chambers of Congress, it was already going to be difficult for Democrats to pass any strict new gun control laws. Now, even if they somehow do, it will be even harder for the feds to actually implement and enforce those new laws in states like Montana.