9th District Court Strikes MT Freedom of Firearms Act - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

9th District Court Strikes MT Freedom of Firearms Act

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MISSOULA -

On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled against a Montana law designed to resist federal gun laws. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals agreed with a lower court's decision that struck down the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The decision welcomed by gun advocates, because the case can now go to the Supreme Court.

"It was actually a good ruling for us, because we expected not to have a favorable ruling at the 9th Circuit, because we really needed to get to the Supreme Court in order to get what we wanted to accomplish," said President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, Gary Marbut.

The law declares federal firearms regulations don't apply to guns made and kept in the state. It was written by the president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, Gary Marbut, after he tried to manufacture a small rifle called the "Montana Buckaroo," but the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said it would be illegal under Montana law.

"Precedent frankly is against what we want to do, and what we want to do is overturn precedent, and only Supreme Court can do," Marbut said.

The appeals court sided with the Justice Department argument that Congress can use its power to regulate interstate commerce to set standards on items like guns. Gun control advocates are also siding with federal arguments. They said "firearm freedom acts" would allow felons to get a hold of guns without background checks. They say it also makes it harder to trace guns used in crimes.

"We must get to the U.S. Supreme Court to accomplish our goal of overturning 70 years of flawed Supreme Court rulings on the interstate commerce clause," Marbut said.

The 9th Circuit left open the possibility of an appeal by the Supreme Court by agreeing with Marbut it would cost him money, and potentially customers, to comply with federal firearms regulations.

Since the Montana Firearms Freedom Act was signed into law in 2009, a handful of other pro gun states have written up similar laws.

Moms Demand Action is a Missoula group that's had a major voice in the argument against firearms. One member said she is happy about to hear about a ruling against the act, but didn't give any further comment.

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