missoula-mt-city-council

As with most states, Montana has a firearms preemption law to prevent a crazy quilt of firearms laws that would make it impossible to obey the law while traveling though the state. Many city and county boundaries aren’t marked. It would be practically impossible to track thousands of different firearms laws. Montana’s preemption statute is a good example. As a bonus, it’s simple to understand.

45-8-351. Restriction on local government regulation of firearms.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit may not prohibit, register, tax, license, or regulate the purchase, sale or other transfer (including delay in purchase, sale, or other transfer), ownership, possession, transportation, use, or unconcealed carrying of any weapon, including a rifle, shotgun, handgun, or concealed handgun.

(2) (a) For public safety purposes, a city or town may regulate the discharge of rifles, shotguns, and handguns. A county, city, town, consolidated local government, or other local government unit has power to prevent and suppress the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons to a public assembly, publicly owned building, park under its jurisdiction, or school, and the possession of firearms by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors.

(b) Nothing contained in this section allows any government to prohibit the legitimate display of firearms at shows or other public occasions by collectors and others or to prohibit the legitimate transportation of firearms through any jurisdiction, whether in airports or otherwise.

(c) A local ordinance enacted pursuant to this section may not prohibit a legislative security officer who has been issued a concealed weapon permit from carrying a concealed weapon in the state capitol as provided in 45-8-317.

From missoulian.com:

In an 8-4 vote, the Missoula City Council on Monday passed an ordinance requiring criminal background checks on all private gun sales within city limits, effective in 30 days.

Ward 4 representative Jon Wilkins abstained from the vote, but after hearing a 7-4 roll call from his fellow council members changed his vote to yes, prompting a round of applause from the audience even though the ordinance would have passed with seven in favor.

Last year the City Attorney claimed that a background check law was exempted under paragraph 2, that allows a city to prohibit possession “by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents, illegal aliens, and minors”.  

But the law does not prohibit possession.  It requires private purchasers to submit to a background check, directly regulating the sale of firearms. The ordinance claims it has the authority to “prevent and suppress” possession of firearms by prohibited possessors.

From the ordinance(pdf):

9.60.010 Purpose and Intent.

This ordinance is adopted pursuant to the statutorypowers explicitly granted to Montana local governments pursuant to subsection 45-8-351(2) MCA for public safety purposes to prevent and suppress the possession of firearms by convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents illegal aliens, and minors in order to ensure that background checks generally occur with respect to firearm ownership transfers as a prevention mechanism to serve as a deterrent to convicted felons, adjudicated mental incompetents illegal aliens and minors unlawfully obtaining possession of firearms.

I suspect the City Council was well aware that what they were doing was illegal. They simply did not care. If they do not care about violating the law, why do they think criminals will?

John Lott does an good job in showing the ineffectiveness and harm caused by the “instant” background check system. Most of the people who are prevented from obtaining firearms are not legally prohibited. They simply have names that are close to someone who is prohibited. The majority of those prevented are blacks and Hispanics, because the majority of felons are blacks and Hispanics with similar names. From newsmax.com:

“In reality, the ‘Brady Checks’ are quite ineffective in stopping criminals from getting guns,” wrote the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. “There are actually very few hard-core criminals that are stupid enough to even try to buy a gun from a dealer that does a background check.”

Lott explains that these 2 million “initial denials” are usually mishaps “because they have a similar name to a felon” a lot like what Americans might deal with if their name is similar to someone else’s who is on the “no fly” list.

This is political theater with a serious side.

“Progressives” believe that they may violate the law with impunity, because they believe their intentions are good. In this case they are likely correct. There does not seem to be any penalty for violating the preemption law. Several states have found that they need to put teeth in the law to gain compliance. Florida put in penalties that held individual officers and elected officials responsible. The taxpayers will pay the attorney fees used to defend the city from litigation.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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54 Responses to MT: Missoula City Council Violates Gun Preemption

    • I’d settle for a lifetime ban on holding elected office anywhere in the state, joint and several liability for court costs and attorney fees, and 30 days in jail.

      With any luck they’ll move to Commiefornia and run for office there.

      • They are Commiefornians. The large/yuppish cities in the NE are overrun with Ca transplants. Typically they bring their libtard BS with them and pollute their new home. Check out the bios of that council and I’ll bet you find Ca natives.

        • Cali resident here, speaking from experience you nice folks in other states should NEVER elect nor appoint any CA twat who seeks public office. There is LOTS of low hanging fruit in CA and if they are unable to get even that, then they pack up and move, run a slick campaign and you get shit like this.

          Anyone with half a brain that was born in CA knows that public office is a massive PITA, only the crooks and attention whores go for it. For the future of your country, PLEASE, do not let these displaced snake oil salesmen get into public employ.

    • Just make them personally accountable for any and all monetary penalties handed down when their violation of the law is challenged in court. I have a feeling not many politicians are willing to go bankrupt to further the gun control cause.

    • Most gun infractions are felonies so make violating preemptive laws a felony for all who voted yes and abused their office.

  1. ‘“Progressives” believe that they may violate the law with impunity, because they believe their intentions are good.’

    Run of the mill criminal thugs usually have similar logic. The ‘man’ is keeping them down so it’s okay to just take from the man, etc. Look at the attitudes coming out of the Black Lives Matter riots. They’ll twist themselves in knots rationalizing why their behavior is acceptable. The biggest difference is that the progressive politicians do a lot more damage with their votes than the non-political criminals do with their guns.

    • I’ve told this story before, but I’ll keep telling it because it’s illustrative of this as well. I was forced to attend a grad student orientation when starting school, and immediately following a long boring talk on ethics a guy got up to give a talk and told a story about how someone did something illegal to help him out and basically insinuated that doing the right thing is more important than following the law. Granted his story was about some secretary forging some documents to get him a paycheck a few weeks earlier, so no one was hurt, but telling a room full of future researchers and bosses and leaders that your feeling of what is right is more important than actual ethics is terrifying to me.

      • Food for thought: nullification is a both a moral and legal concept.

        From the moral perspective and for argument sake, let’s use the self ownership, nonaggression principle, and victimless crime as a litmus. In other words: you own yourself and decide how to treat your self and what is best for you; no victim, no crime; defense against violence or uninitiated conflict is moral, while inciting or initiating violence is not. All within the context of bill of rights.

        If one can get their head around those ideas and at least somewhat agree, then actions such as Jury Nulification — where a jury finds some one innocent based on facts prevented prove an unjust law or victimless crime — may make some sense.

        At the state and federal levels the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution provides a legal and justmethod for the States to ignore or nullify Federal regulations and laws that are not specifically spelled out in the Constitution as federal mandates. Of course the Feds use the Commerce clause for controlling anything relating to crossing a State border, but worse they bribe and blackmail states using both federal funding carrot/stick and violence enacted by armed federal thugs from one of an alphabet soup of departments.

        If local municipal legislation results in regulations and laws that step out side of the boundary of a States constitution, then either the State AG or the people themselves have a duty to nullify by either publicly striking down the law or ignoring it.

        So, while not defending anyone who arbitrarily breaks the law, some laws may be meant to be broken in this context.

      • No one was hurt? Peter… where did the paycheck come from? Thin air? There is most definitely a “victim” of any theft, small or large. Someone lost that money at some point, whether they knew it or not. Theft hurts everyone…

    • Hey Gov, apply your theory to anybody, not just politicians and thugs (I know the similarities). Anybody that does something not right finds a way to justify internally. This is how people live with themselves. Anybody.

      • Yes, it’s called ‘human nature’. Ever since Adam blamed it on the woman. Just some people go to greater lengths than others to rationalize their bad behavior, and hardened criminals and progressive politicians go to the greatest lengths of anybody.

  2. I understand that you guys have to pay the bills and put food on the table, but the site is damn nigh unuseable on my phone, and as a result i am coming here less and less. Takes forever to load, and then i get interrupted half a dozen times with unresponsive scripts…

    • Firefox with uBlock Origin installed here, few / no issues even with an older phone (with thr occasional exception of losing the prev/next article arrows).

      I occasionally disable the latter to help with revenue, but I don’t bother to read like that….

  3. If the city council refuses to obey the law, what makes them think anyone will obey their ordinance? The symbolic bullshit that comes out of these prog dbags is so easy to get around, it’s laughable.

    • If the Progs keep trying this, then the legislature needs to add some bite to the bark to hurt them so they stop repeating the offense. You know, like we treat other scofflaws such as thieves and robbers. I’d argue that any public official who knowingly contravene a state law is one of the worst kinds of non-violent criminals and should be dealt with seriously. Abuse of power and putting oneself above the law is a high crime and misdemeanor.

      • The Dems and Republicans both benefit from this kind of theater. Both gets to publicly prance around on TV to “show their constituency how they are fighting for them.” And that’s any government, and any legislature, will ever go towards giving a toot about anything but their own reelection and attendant privilege.

  4. Does Missoula have a crime problem? I haven’t heard that Montana is a high crime state, perhaps part of the reason is that many folks are armed and criminals know that.

    There should be some sort of way that small towns like this that blatantly ignore state & federal legislation can be punished. And any punishment should be directed at the council members, not some sort of fine that the taxpayers will be on the hook for.

    Let’s hope that by passing this illegal legislation, they have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ (metaphorically speaking although in the case of the guy at the back, perhaps literally……) and will get their asses handed to them legally & politically at re-election time.

      • Looks like some small towns in the North East part of Montana had some rapid population growth due to workers coming in when the Bakken oil fields were developed. As the populations grew, the crime rate grew commensurately but the infrastructure (such as jail space) did not grow, leading to overcrowding. Mind you, a lot of the jobs for oil workers were very highly paid, so I’m sure there were some economic benefits for local business owners etc.

        Anyway, Missoula is to the West of Montana in the mountainous regions, I’m sure they weren’t affected by the influx of oil workers. It seems they just want to jump on the ‘progressive bandwagon’ to ensure their place at the trough if Hilary gets elected.

        • Granted, but with the large influx of oil workers and other industry-associate growth, larger, more complex criminal groups have moved into the area to provide drugs and other illegal pleasures. One could figure that they would then spread out among the state as a whole and not stay confined to boom towns.

      • Not in Missoula: Missoula is the biggest university town in Montana and so has the highest concentration of Progs in the state.
        Wikipedia:
        “as of 2009, the city’s largest employers were the University of Montana, Missoula County Public Schools, and Missoula’s two hospitals.”
        “Having thirteen Democrats and two Republicans in its state legislative delegation, Missoula is known as a more liberal area than the rest of the state.”

    • No, there is very little crime in Missoula, it is just a bright blue spot in the middle of the western half of the state. The rule is clearly illegal and unenforceable, and even if someone feels the need to comply, it only takes about 20 minutes to get from any point in the city to the city limits. As far as small town, on a national level yes, in the state I believe it is our 3rd largest city.

    • Missoula and Bozman are both really crunchy. Missoula has a large college population and most of the blue collar jobs in the area have been shuttered. Bozman has a big art community and a lot of Hollywood types have their ranches around there.

  5. It would be great to see some folks practice Irish Democracy or civil disobedience in public, like in front of some members of city council. Two guys, where legal to possess a firearm, complete a transaction in full view of a council member or two. Seeing as how they would not have violated a legitimate law, as far as the state is concerned, and have in fact flouted an illegal law would be a great “call” on the council members.

    I’m no lawyer, and understand there are many intricacies to this sort of thing. I just think it would be cool if someone tried it.

  6. Evil (D) can be found anywhere. They like to move in, run for school board, then city council, dog-catcher/community organizer, then mayors and governors, etc. then they pull this crap. Even in MT.

    Beware the evil (D).

  7. How is grandstanding and passing an obviously illegal ordinance not itselfva crime? Sounds like Official Misconduct to my non-lawyer ears. From section 45-7-401 of the Montana penal code:

    (1) A public servant commits the offense of official misconduct when in an official capacity the public servant commits any of the following acts:

    (b) knowingly performs an act in an official capacity that the public official knows is forbidden by law;

    Conviction gets you a $500 fine and/or six months in the county jail.

    Of course, the county D.A. isn’t going to get off his butt and prosecute such a case. Then again, neither are the people going to get off theirs and vote these [alleged] criminals out of office. So I guess they’re just getting the government they deserve. A lot like America.

    • The Montana State DOJ could arrest them and the AG could in fact indict them for this. I suggest if they don’t, this cancer will spread.

  8. Preemption laws that do not carry civil penalties for violating them are kind of toothless, aren’t they?

    Violations like this should be mandatory to prosecute. All 8 councilmembers who voted for this should be spending half a year in jail.

  9. My laptop died, and I’m using my wife’s Samsung pad. I’ve got pop ups blocked and i’m still getting mobbed by them. Es thpecially annoying is the Brownell upper ad at the bottom that refusesto go away. As I type this I can hardly see the typing area. So for now it’s – The Truth About Pop-ups – and bimbos, hillary, failed plastic surgery, click bait,etc. I don’t like it, but it pays the owner(s) so we are stuck with it because of $$$.

  10. Ward 4 representative Jon Wilkins abstained from the vote, but after hearing a 7-4 roll call from his fellow council members changed his vote to yes, prompting a round of applause from the audience even though the ordinance would have passed with seven in favor.

    A round of applause from the audience? Things are montana are changing. MONTANA… the blue state. Spreading to a county near you.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Montana,_2012

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