Montana Gov. Gianforte Signs Law Prohibiting Federal Ban on Gun Ownership

Montana Gov. Gianforte Signs Law Prohibiting Federal Ban on Gun Ownership
Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) speaks during the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 6, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

Montana passed a new law on April 23 that will prevent the federal government from placing prohibitions on gun ownership in the state, whether by new federal law, executive order, rules, regulation, or any new interpretations of existing law.

“Today, I proudly signed Rep. [Jedediah] Hinkle’s law prohibiting federal overreach into our Second Amendment-protected rights, including any federal ban on firearms,” Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) wrote on Twitter on April 24.

“I will always protect our [Second Amendement] right to keep and bear arms.”

House Bill No. 258 (pdf) titled “Montana Federal Firearm, Magazine, and Ammunition Ban Enforcement Prohibition Act” was passed under the authority of the second and tenth amendments of the U.S. constitution, as well as the Montana constitution, and Montana’s compact with the United States.

The new law, which passed 30–20, means that no subnational government agency or official may cooperate in the enforcement of any federal ban on firearms, magazines, or ammunition.

Montana lawmakers passed the law amid President Joe Biden’s calls for gun reform after a deadly shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on April 16.

Biden said at the time that it was up to Congress to act on gun laws, including several bills that have already been passed in the House of Representatives.

“I also urged Congress to hear the call of the American people—including the vast majority of gun owners—to enact commonsense gun violence prevention legislation, like universal background checks and a ban of weapons of war and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said.

Montana’s move comes after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed similar legislation on April 6 that would prohibit police and sheriffs in the state from enforcing new federal gun laws that may violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“The state of Arizona and its political subdivisions are prohibited from utilizing any financial resources or state personnel to administer, cooperate with or enforce any law, act, order, rule, treaty or regulation of the federal government that is inconsistent with any law of this state regarding the regulation of firearms,” that legislation read.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed a similar bill on April 23 after the state Senate voted 28–7 to approve the measure. Hutchinson said the law, which would prevent state police from enforcing a federal ban, would jeopardize law enforcement and the public.

The Senate may overrule Hutchinson’s veto with a simple majority vote.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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