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Leave Our Guns Alone, Montanans Tell Feds

MISSOULA, Mont. (CN) - Montana gun-rights advocates demand the ability to make and sell guns and ammunition within their state without interference from the federal government. In a federal lawsuit, the Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Second Amendment Foundation say the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA) of 2009 gives them the right to make and sell small arms and small-arms ammunition within the state, free from federal regulation.

The associations say they actively lobbied the Montana Legislature to pass the gun law, which they describe as an "express exercise" of the power delegated to the state under the 10th Amendment.

Gary Marmut, president of the shooting sports association, wants the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow him and other members the freedom to act under the state law "without fear of criminal prosecution or civil sanction."

The plaintiffs cite the 10th Amendment, which states that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved for the states.

"Federal law therefore does not preempt the MFFA and cannot be invoked to regulate or prosecute Montana citizens acting in compliance with the MFFA, so long as they do so solely within the political borders of the State of Montana," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs demand a court order barring the U.S. government from prosecuting, civilly or criminally, any Montana whose actions comply with the state gun law.

They are represented by Quentin Rhoades of Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades in Missoula.

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