Twelve Attorneys General Take Up 10 Amendment, Gun Control Fight

A dozen attorney generals believe the 10th Amendment has essentially be overturned by more than a decade of "incorrect court rulings," and are calling on the US Supreme Court to address the damage to the Constitutional protection of states' rights.

The state officials pushing the highest court in the land to protect 10th Amendment rights hail from Utah, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.

A brief by the 12 attorneys general filed with the US Supreme Court reads:

"By abandoning any meaningful standard for the substantiality of an intrastate activity's effects on interstate commerce, this court has enabled the Congress to 'draw the circle broadly enough to cover' activity, that when viewed in isolation, would have no substantial effect on interstate commerce at al."
The debate about damage done to states' rights largely stems from a Second Amendment legal battle which has been brewing over the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The legislation states that firearms made and kept in Montana are exempt from regulation by the federal government courtesy of the Commerce Clause. The clause states that the government only has the power to regulate commerce among the states.

Montana Shooting Sports Association want the federal government to "butt out" of gun sales which take place within the state, and they've sued the US Justice Department in an attempt to do just that. The lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to uphold the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which was enacted in 2009 and which says the federal government does not have authority over firearms that are made and sold within the state of Montana. For firearms to not be subject to federal laws, each gun must be labeled "Made In Montana," according to the '09 law. Other states have implemented similar laws, although their future is uncertain. A lower court and appeals court ruled against Montana's law.

The 9th Amendment says:

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
The 10th Amendment reads:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, actually wrote the Supreme Court justices a personal letter in November, explaining the rationale behind the law. Such a letter is unique and was separate from the legal briefs.

Marbut told local media that he wants to make a bolt-action, small, youth-model rifle he calls the Montana Buckaroo. The gun would be sold within the state. Marbut's plan to manufacture the youth rifle has been thwarted by federal officials and courts who say the gun would be illegal.

Marbut told the Supreme Court Justices:

"The natives are beyond restless. They are at the stage of collecting torches and pitchforks and preparing to head for the castle gates en masse."
An excerpt from the Montana Shooting Sports Association lawsuit reads:
"The wholesale stripping of independent sovereignty from the states has destroyed the balance of power, and given the federal government advantages it demonstrably tends to abuse. The outrage that is our $17 trillion national debt [which amounts to more than $149,000 per taxpayer] may be the worst example. By borrowing more money than the current generation can repay in our lifetimes, Congress leaves a legacy of debt for future generations. Our progeny did not consent to the monumental hole their parents are digging for them. Still, they will certainly be saddled with the duty to make good. This is tyranny."
The Montana Shooting Sports Association lawsuit also argues that "dual sovereignty" should be restored within the US. Marbut staunchly feels that the lawsuit and the 10th Amendment protections extend far beyond the issue of gun rights.

How do you feel about the Firearms Freedom Act?

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