The Montana Supreme Court has unanimously overturned Missoula City Council’s resolution citing the state’s preemption law on gun legislation. The preemption law denies local officials the ability to pass gun-control legislation at local levels. The City Council had voted 8-4 in favor of an ordinance to enact background checks on all private firearm transfers within the county, disregarding Attorney General's advice.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox had declared the law void but the city decided to have the Supreme Court rule on the matter. The decision to overturn the law has taken a period of two years, and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Proponents of the bill indicated that the ruling had taken them by surprise.
This is not the first time that state preemption law has overturned such local gun control legislation. Despite state preemption laws being very clear on the matters regarding gun control, various local governments have tried to ignore those directives and pass gun control laws at city and county levels. It turns out that state preemption laws have been the last defense against the onslaught by anti-Second Amendment local legislators.
Some states have put in place various measures to prevent local officials from contravening the preemption laws. For example, Arizona and Florida impose fines of up to $5000 on cities that break this law. Kentucky, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida hold local officials personally responsible for breaking preemption laws. Such officials also personally bear the financial burden in terms of attorney fees and damages for their actions. Arizona and Florida require removal of local officials for breaking the preemption law while Kentucky holds the officials criminally responsible for the same action.
For states without such strong measures, however, local gun control officials still attempt to pass illegal gun control measures forcing gun rights groups to seek alternative paths for justice.
Texas' preemption law is actually rather vague, and merely states that the Attorney General "may bring action" to obtain an injunction against a municipality, and may "recover reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining an injunction," but that is the extent of it. Maybe it is time that we bring legislation making it a criminal offense for local government officials that vote in favor of ordinances that violate our preemption law.
Join LSGR today and help our push for Constitutional Carry! Sign our petition to help stop Dan Patrick's calls for universal background checks and other gun control! This is Texas, and we do not tolerate anyone messing with us! Join our fight, and together we will make Texas pro-gun again!