Mont. Shooting Sports Ass'n v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 08-23-2013
  • Case #: 10-36094
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Judge Clifton for the Court; Circuit Judges Tashima and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

A state firearm law which allows citizens to manufacture firearms, so long as they remain within the boundaries of the state, is subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause by the federal government because Congress may rationally conclude that the law would affect interstate commerce.

Plaintiffs Gary Marbut, the Montana Shooting Sports Association, and the Second Amendment Foundation challenged federal laws inhibiting Marbut’s ability to manufacture a firearm, the “Montana Buckaroo,” given the passage of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (“MFFA”). The MFFA “. . . declares that a firearm or ammunition ‘manufactured . . . in Montana and that remains within the borders of Montana is not subject to federal law or regulation. . .’” if the firearm or ammunition abide by certain requirements. The Ninth Circuit found Marbut had standing because it was imminent that he would suffer from an injury. Since the challenged law would ultimately prohibit a business activity Marbut would conduct, Marbut had a “significant possibility of future harm.” Further, the panel held that a preexisting business practice is not necessary to demonstrate future injury, but the claimant must provide evidence that he or she would and could conduct such activity if the challenged law passed. Second, the panel found, based on the holding from Gonzales v. Raich, Congress may rationally conclude that the Montana Buckaroo would affect interstate commerce. To solidify its holding, the panel cited United States v. Stewart, which stated that the principles of Raich “apply to the market of firearms.” Therefore, because the Montana Buckaroo could be found to affect interstate commerce, it is “within reach of the long arm of federal law” and was ruled preempted and invalid. AFFIRMED.

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