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Gun Advocates Appeal 'Firearms Freedom Act' Ruling

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A battle around state versus federal gun laws could move to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gun advocate group, the Montana Shooting Association, or MSSA asked the Supreme Court on Monday to overturn a district judge's decision that bars the 2009 Montana Firearms Freedom Act from taking effect.

"This issue is not a gun rights issue. It happens to be about guns, but it's really about the power of the states to make their own rules for their own people," said attorney Quentin Rhoades, whose representing the MSSA in the case.

This debate is all centered around the Firearms Freedom Act, which tries to prevent federal gun laws from applying to guns kept in the state where they are manufactured. Soon after it passed in 2009, a district judge ruled against the act. Earlier this year, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. Now, the MSSA is asking congress to appeal, after similar laws passed in eight other states.

"It gets literally hundreds of those requests each year, and it grants about 5% of those requests," Rhoades said.

Rhoades said the chances the Supreme Court actually looks at the case are slim, but he's said the state is also filing a petition to the Supreme Court in favor of his side's request, giving him hope.

"That ups the percentage, the statistical chance of us getting heard by the Supreme Court to about one-third," Rhoades said.

Nancy de Pastino is the Montana chapter leader for the grassroots group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that started after the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut.

"We're literally trying to make our gun laws stronger and close loopholes that create such a dangerous environment for kids in our communities," de Pastino said.

She said while the MSSA's request goes against what her group stands for, she's not too worried the Supreme Court will even hear the case.

"I don't know what they're trying to pull off saying state law triumphs federal law, because time and time again it's been proven that federal law triumphs state law," de Pastino said.

The Supreme Court will decide sometime early in 2014 whether it will accept the case.

 

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