U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy today threw out a lawsuit spearheaded by resident gun nut Gary Marbut that seeks to validate the 2009 Montana Firearms Freedom Act. Molloy's ruling takes the side of the U.S. Department of Justice, which refutes the act's claim that guns manufactured and sold within a state's borders are free from federal regulation. And it should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the issue that Marbut's overjoyed with the court decision.
"We've believed all along that the federal District Court cannot grant the relief we request," Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, said in a statement this afternoon. "We seek to overturn a half-century of bad precedent. Only the U.S. Supreme Court can do that. In that light the pending dismissal by the District Court means little except that we are now free to move to the next step of the process."
A number of parties have come out in support of Marbut's court case over the past year, including the Gun Owners of America, the Weapons Collectors Society of Montana and the state of Utah. The suit will now pass to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as Marbut continues to climb the legal ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. His goal, he's said, is to use the case to set a precedent for states rights by removing federal control of Montana-made guns.
"That the U.S. is so desperate to keep this matter from going to trial tells me that they are very afraid of any precedent that might be established," Marbut said.