MSSA v. Holder, Amicus Brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Michael Harless Firearms Law, U. S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Today our firm filed an amicus brief for Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation, and Virginia Citizens Defense League in the case ofMontana Shooting Sports Association, et al. v. Eric H. Holder, Jr. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of reversal. We previously filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana Missoula Division on April 12, 2010.

At issue in the case is whether Montana as a state may permit the intrastate manufacture, sale, and use of firearms without Montanans having to apply for federal firearms licenses.

Our brief argued that the federal licensure statutes are meant to “support … state and local law enforcement” in enforcing state laws. In fact, Congress specifically prohibited courts from construing federal laws to “occupy the field” of gun control, to the exclusion of state regulation, seeking to allow states maximum flexibility to address their unique set of problems in their own way.

Rather, before striking down a state law, a court must find a “direct and positive” conflict between the state and federal laws so that they “cannot be reconciled or consistently stand together.” This was not done. Instead, the district court below addressed whether Congress had the authority to preempt state law, without addressing whether Congress had even done so.

Link to brief