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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Should this be the Montana Flag instead of what we have now?

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This flag is displayed on the Montana Shooting Sports Association Facebook page above the following article and asking for input on some wording being contemplated in the article.
Please comment here, in the comments section and at the original article.

The MTSSA facebook page is here:

Here is the article: Note this was written in December of 2016 just after the Trump upset victory.

Dear MSSA Friends,

Thank you so much for your many responses to my question about what "shall not be called in question" means. I was snowed in responses and I now have five pages of one-line definitions. They are all VERY helpful and will be more so later (stay tuned).

Meanwhile, let's have a bit of discussion about this.

Pretty much all of you agree that "shall not be called in question" is not that difficult to understand, it's in plain English, and is a very strong restraint on governmental entities and actors (and some think on persons and entities in the private sector, too).

This suggests the question, how strong is this restraint? Is it absolute?

I believe very few would argue that a prisoner, convicted of murder, on death row in the state prison in Deer Lodge, must be allowed to have an M-60 machine gun and ammunition for it in his cell. That example alone suggests three possible types of exception to a not-quite absolute right:

1. In certain locations such as prisons (and possibly others);

2. For certain classes of people, such as convicted felons (and possibly others such as aliens or people adjudicated by a court to be mentally incompetent); and

3. For certain types of arms (the classic exaggeration is atomic bombs).

We won't discuss concealed weapons here because of the archaic, peculiar, but existing wording in the Montana Constitution. Nor will we talk about federal laws or the U.S. Constitution. We're discussing only the Montana Constitution and how its wording affects public policy within Montana.

But what about the Montana law making it a crime to discharge a firearm inside the limits of a city or town except in self defense? That may sound somewhat reasonable, but does that law "call in question" the right to keep or bear arms? If so, should it be stricken as unconstitutional because of the "shall not be called in question" in the Montana Constitution?

What about the law that says that if a person is convicted of using a firearm in a crime of violence then that person does not ever get his or her right to keep or bear arms restored upon release from state supervision? Does that unconstitutionally "call in question" a person's right to keep or bear arms?

What about the state law against firing a firearm onto, from, or across a public roadway? Does that impermissibly "call in question" your RKBA?

Then there is the law prohibiting guns in schools, and the one allowing local governments to prohibit possession of firearms in public buildings, parks, and public assemblies (whatever those are). Called into question? Unconstitutional?

So, the problem becomes where and how a line should be drawn? And, what words should be used to define that line, words that have well-established and universally understood meaning, that are clear and unambiguous?

This is the problem I'm working on.

I'm interested in what thoughts any of you may have about where this line should be drawn, and about how it should be articulated.

Because this is so interesting and critical, and because so many of you are interested (as you should be), please try to keep your comments brief so I have time to absorb them all.

Best wishes,
Gary Marbut, President
Montana Shooting Sports Association
Author, Gun Laws of Montana

With 28 small arms manufacturers, or 2.83 per 100,000 people, Montana has 512% more small arms manufacturers per capita than the United States as a whole.

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