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Brady Center, Police Groups Urge Court to Strike Down Montana Gun Law
WASHINGTON - July 28 - The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, joined by a coalition of law enforcement, and domestic violence and gun violence prevention groups, filed a “friend of the court” brief late yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit urging the Court to strike down the Montana “Firearms Freedom Act” as unconstitutional and a dangerous threat to our communities and our nation’s security.
“This law is dangerous and unconstitutional. There is no sane reason to allow felons and stalkers to buy ‘Made in Montana’ guns without Brady background checks,” said Brady Center Acting President Dennis Henigan. “This law shows that the gun lobby is willing to place its extremist agenda above public safety and our constitutional system."
On September 29, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy ruled that the law is unconstitutional and dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and other “gun rights” groups in support of Montana’s “Firearms Freedom Act.” The plaintiffs have now appealed this case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The Montana “Firearms Freedom Act” purports to exempt Montana-made firearms from federal laws requiring background checks to keep guns away from criminals and serial numbers on guns that allow law enforcement to trace crime guns. It would allow the sale of guns, illegal under federal law, that can evade metal detectors and would allow the manufacture of armor-piercing ammunition banned by federal law.
The Montana law could exempt Montana-made guns from the federal Gun Free School Zones law and the ban on guns in federal facilities and courthouses located in Montana. It would allow teenagers to possess handguns despite a federal law prohibiting handgun possession by anyone under 18. All told, it would allow unlimited sales of virtually untraceable firearms without background checks or records of sale, endangering public safety and national security.
The law firm Proskauer and Montana attorney Cynthia Wolken are representing, on a pro bono basis, the Brady Center and other groups filing the brief.
Joining the Brady Center’s brief are Montana Human Rights Network, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, National Black Police Association, Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.