Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed a new bill into law on Friday that protects Montana residents from encroachment on the Second Amendment by the federal government.
What are the details?
The law — officially known as the "Montana Federal Firearm, Magazine, and Ammunition Ban Enforcement Prohibition Act" — prohibits state and local authorities in Montana from enforcing new regulations on firearms, magazines, and ammunition that come from Washington.
"Today, I proudly signed Rep. Hinkle's law prohibiting federal overreach into our Second Amendment-protected rights, including any federal ban on firearms. I will always protect our #2A right to keep and bear arms," Gianforte said on Twitter.
Interestingly, the bill stipulates the law retroactively applies to applicable regulations beginning on Jan. 1, 2021 — meaning any gun control measure enacted by the Biden White House.
Similar bills were vetoed by former Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Republicans gained control of every statewide office after the November election and held its existing majorities in the Montana House of Representatives and state Senate after the 2020 elections, wins that paved the way for this bill to be made into law.
What is the background?
Gianforte signed the law as President Joe Biden moves to enact new gun control measures.
Following massacres in Georgia and Colorado, Biden took executive action to address what the White House calls the "gun violence public health epidemic."
In the first round of action, Biden targeted so-called "ghost guns" — makeshift weapons that are often untraceable to law enforcement — and announced intentions to publish model "red flag" legislation for states to follow.
"Red flag laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. The president urges Congress to pass an appropriate national 'red flag' law, as well as legislation incentivizing states to pass 'red flag' laws of their own. In the interim, the Justice Department's published model legislation will make it easier for states that want to adopt red flag laws to do so," the White House said.
Although Biden called the measures important first steps, they are not as strict as he promised when campaigning for president.
As a candidate, Biden pledged to re-enact an assault weapons ban, close background check loopholes, and enact a voluntary gun buyback program.