Montana is trying to trigger a battle over gun control and perhaps make a larger point about what many Montanans regard as a meddlesome federal government, reports the Associated Press. The state legislature passed a bill asserting that guns manufactured in Montana and sold in Montana to people who intend to keep their weapons in Montana are exempt from federal gun registration, background check, and dealer-licensing rules because no state lines are crossed. The law is all but certain to be tested in court.
The immediate effect of the law could be limited, because Montana is home to just a few specialty gun makers, known for high-end hunting rifles and replicas of Old West weapons, and because their out-of-state sales would automatically trigger federal control. “It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” said Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who signed the bill. The federal government argues that it has authority under the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution to regulate guns because they can easily be transported across state lines