Thursday, February 21, 2008

Montana to Secede? Montana Legislators Warn Supreme Court Not to Violate Compact over Gun Rights

Montana Legislators Fire a Shot Across the Supreme Court's bow over Second Amendment case

We may move to Montana.

Members of the Montana legislature are hinting that if the Supreme Court rules against and individual's gun rights as protected by the Second Amendment, it would invalidate Montana's agreement it signed with U.S. when it became a state in 1889.

From Reason:
An interesting wrinkle in the gun-rights controversy: Various Montana politicians have signed a resolution arguing that anything other than an individual-right interpretation of the Second Amendment (at issue in the forthcoming Supreme Court case Heller v. D.C.) would violate the compact between Montana and the U.S.

Excerpts from the resolution:

WHEREAS, when the Court determines in Heller whether or not the Second Amendment secures an individual right, the Court will establish precedent that will affect the State of Montana and the political rights of the citizens of Montana;

WHEREAS, when Montana entered into statehood in 1889, that entrance was accomplished by a contract between Montana and the several states, a contract known as The Compact With The United States (Compact), found today as Article I of the Montana Constitution;

WHEREAS, with authority from Congress acting as agent for the several states, President Benjamin Harrison approved the Montana Constitution in 1889, which secured the right of "any person" to bear arms, clearly intended as an individual right and an individual right deemed consistent then with the Second Amendment by the parties to the contract;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the undersigned members of the 60th Montana Legislature as follows:

1. That any form of "collective rights" holding by the Court in Heller will offend the Compact; and.........4. Montana reserves all usual rights and remedies under historic contract law if its Compact should be violated by any "collective rights" holding in Heller.

Some Montana legislators have big ones

A more detailed explanation: "Does a "collective rights" view of the Second Amendment breach Montana's contract for statehood?"
The only difference between a compact and a contract in any reasonable usage of the terms as they apply here is that a compact is more generally an agreement between or among states.

UPDATE: 9:10 pm EST Thursday February 21, 2008
Just saw this at the AR-15 forums
Secy of State Brad Johnson of Montana delivered a letter to the Washington Times about possible outcomes of the Heller decision.

Second Amendment an individual right

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide D.C. v. Heller, the first case in more than 60 years in which the court will confront the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although Heller is about the constitutionality of the D.C. handgun ban, the court's decision will have an impact far beyond the District ("Promises breached," Op-Ed, Thursday).

The court must decide in Heller whether the Second Amendment secures a right for individuals to keep and bear arms or merely grants states the power to arm their militias, the National Guard. This latter view is called the "collective rights" theory.

A collective rights decision by the court would violate the contract by which Montana entered into statehood, called the Compact With the United States and archived at Article I of the Montana Constitution. When Montana and the United States entered into this bilateral contract in 1889, the U.S. approved the right to bear arms in the Montana Constitution, guaranteeing the right of "any person" to bear arms, clearly an individual right.

There was no assertion in 1889 that the Second Amendment was susceptible to a collective rights interpretation, and the parties to the contract understood the Second Amendment to be consistent with the declared Montana constitutional right of "any person" to bear arms.

As a bedrock principle of law, a contract must be honored so as to give effect to the intent of the contracting parties. A collective rights decision by the court in Heller would invoke an era of unilaterally revisable contracts by violating the statehood contract between the United States and Montana, and many other states.

Numerous Montana lawmakers have concurred in a resolution raising this contract-violation issue. It's posted at The United States would do well to keep its contractual promise to the states that the Second Amendment secures an individual right now as it did upon execution of the statehood contract.

BRAD JOHNSON Montana secretary of state Helena, Mont. Montana, the Second Amendment and D.C. v. Heller

A massive, spirited discussion followed. A few of the comments:

Mxpatriot51: "Now that's a kick ass state."

Voodoo3dfx: "I can see this happening a lot more in the future as the BOR is being ripped to shreds."'

Echoing our thoughts, CM Johnson: "I'm SURE that Sarah Brady, Diane Feinstein, and a fwe other anti-gunners would find this to be rather frighening.
I believe Heller will go in our favor. But if not...I'm moving to Montana!"

discoJon1975: "I'd become a citizen of Montanastan even if it meant losing my military pension in 9 years!"
There are 21 pages of comments, some revealing, many funny.

UPDATE #2: This is from last week's AP:
Montana has joined 30 other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling, affirming the individual's right to bear arms.

Attorney General Mike McGrath says the states signed a "friend-of-the-court" brief, that supports a federal appeals court ruling that the District of Columbia's ban on handguns violates the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It's about time that political figures--any political figures--stood up against the ever-encroaching power of the federal government.

Montana's legislators are to be applauded.

As Frank Zappa once sang, "Moving to Montana soon..."

by Mondoreb
* strangesports
* Montana t-shirt
Source: Montana: Wrong Heller Decision Would Violate Its Compact with the United States


Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.

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