A growing number of states are aiming to keep federal hands off their weapons if Congress decides to stiffen gun-control laws in response to last month’s shooting in Newtown, Ct., says USA Today. Eight states — Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming — have adopted laws in recent years that would exempt guns made in the state from federal regulation as long as they remain in the state, says Jon Griffin of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-one other states have introduced similar legislation.
States have based their laws on the Montana Firearms Freedom Act of 2009, which is being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The federal government argues that, “it’s unrealistic to think that these guns won’t leave the state of Montana.” Allowing such laws to stand “would leave a gaping hole in federal firearms regulation,” a federal attorney argued. Jonathan Lowy of the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said courts have been clear that states can’t exempt themselves from federal regulation of guns because it would have ramifications across state lines.