Last year, the City Council of Missoula, Montana voted to pass an ordinance that required that anyone wishing to transfer a privately owned firearm to do so through a Federal Firearms dealer. There were a couple of exceptions for family members and at shooting ranges, but this was their local version of “universal” background checks.

Many said at the time that the ordinance was a violation of Montana law. The city attorney claimed otherwise. Montana Attorney General Tim Fox expressed skepticism at the time the law passed. But now AG Fox has issued an official opinion on the matter.

From crossroadstoday:

Fox had maintained all along Montana law didn’t grant the city that authority — and he confirmed that position in the new opinion.

Fox noted Missoula does have certain powers as a charter city, saying it does have the authority to regulate the use and carrying of firearms under state law. However, Fox says state law doesn’t allow Missoula to have an ordinance “enforcing a local regulation or ordinance requiring background checks on firearm sales or transfers within its borders.”

Montana passed a state preemption law thirty years ago to prevent a patchwork of contradictory firearms laws from being enacted across the state.

From the missoulian.com:

The state previously allowed cities to make their own laws regarding firearms sales, Fox wrote in his opinion, but a 1985 House bill repealed that section of the MCA and replaced it with new language that still is in place.

“The purpose of HB 643 was clear – only the state should decide how firearm purchases, sales and transfers should be regulated, if at all.”

Many people predicted the AG would come to this official conclusion. It seems unlikely that the City of Missoula would attempt to take this decision to court, but regulators gotta regulate.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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24 Responses to Montana AG: Missoula Gun Control Unenforceable

  1. University of Montana, Missoula. It’s a college town. Even in the heart of the “Wild West” the big cities are more liberal, especially when there’s a university as a major cultural influence.

  2. Yep, Missoula is a college town. I was born there. There was an interesting story fairly recently on how a guy got tired of his garage getting burgled. So he set a trap. Eventually the perp shows up and the guy shoots his ass dead.
    Big trial and the guy is convicted.
    The homeowners name was Markus Hendrick Kaarma and Diren Dede, was the dead 17-year-old exchange student from Hamburg, Germany.

  3. Having been the victim of both I understand that theft and burglary are incredibly obnoxious, and a serious cause for concern if you stumble across the people engaged in it. However, I can’t really get behind the idea of laying a trap for the people that involves the intended use of lethal force.

    If they end up in your garage hanging upside down by their ankles waiting for the cops to come and get them, that’s one thing. Laying a trap that involves you intending to go out and blast them with a shotgun is a whole other kettle of fish.

    • Plus the prior burglaries were kids stealing Kaarmas dope stash hidden in his garage, and not the kid he shot. Kaarma was a fruitcake from day one. He wanted to shot someone, and did his best to attract some kids. And he told his hairdresser that he was going to get one soon.

      The local nutballs came out in force to support karrma saying we have the right to shoot anyone who steps out of line. Teenagers can be trying, but imagine if we shot all of them for every legal transgression. Hell, none of us would be here either. We’d of been shot long ago. And many times over.

      • Well he got like…840 months in prison! He’s up north at Crossroads in Shelby.
        840 months should give him time to think about what he did.
        I never heard about the UPS incident or threatening neighbors. Threatening neighbors wouldn’t have gone over real well with me.

    • I can’t support something like that, either. If the facts of the case are substantially as have been reported, then I would have voted to convict, too. The guy sounds like a nut whose objective was to kill someone, under whatever pretext he could.

      That said, thieves are pests and I’m not going to lose any sleep over the loss of this one, even as I send his killer to prison.

  4. I thank god everyday I live a half mile outside Missoula county. That place is a pestilent cesspool in an otherwise fine state.

  5. Now Montana needs to pass a law that puts heavy fines on local government that violates gun civil rights.
    Or let a law abiding gun owner sue the city and garnish the mayor and city council pay checks.
    That will put a stop to this silliness.

  6. Thank you Tim Fox, I’m glad I voted for you.

    Now the legislature just needs to approve the bill that would allow residents to carry a concealed handgun with out a concealed weapon permit. The only thing I don’t know is if Bullock would sign it since he vetoed a similar bill before.

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