Last Friday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit challenging the regulatory powers of the federal government with respect to firearms that stay within the state in which they were manufactured.
The case centers around the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA), which invokes states rights under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and declares that “any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitution to regulate commerce among states.” This means that any firearm manufactured or produced within a state is exempt from federal laws and regulations, including licensing fees, transaction records, and the scrupulous eye of federal inspectors so long as that firearm stays within its state of origin.
The FFA was conceived by Second Amendment advocate Gary Marbut and first passed in his home state of Montana. It has since been adopted and enacted in at least nine other states and introduced in approximately 20.
The Ninth Circuit essentially ruled that the FFA was trumped by federal law that requires gun manufacturers, gun shop owners and dealers to keep records, pay fees and make themselves available to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for inspection.
Though, for Marbut the ruling was not a setback. In fact, it was expected and part of his long-term strategy of taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. “This was about as good of a ruling as we could have expected from the Ninth Circuit. We must get to the U.S. Supreme Court to accomplish our goal of overturning 70 years of flawed Supreme Court rulings on the Interstate Commerce Clause,” Marbut, who is president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.