Not in my state: GOP Governor signs bill to protect citizens from federal gun restrictions

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After a 4-year hiatus during which they weren’t needed, “Second Amendment sanctuary” bills have begun returning thanks to the gun control push from President Joe Biden and his allies in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

Over in Montana, such a bill, H.B. 258, was signed into law Friday by Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican. The bill “prohibits state and local law enforcement in Montana from enforcing federal bans on firearms, ammunition and magazines,” according to the Associated Press.

The bill essentially nullifies the gun-grabbing powers of the federal government.

What makes the signing of H.B. 258 remarkable is that the state’s Republican-led legislature tried multiple times — in 2013, 2015 and 2017 — to pass such legislation, but was blocked every time by then-Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who was voted into office in 2013.

This all changed thanks to Gianforte’s victory, 328,548 votes to 250,860 votes, in the 2020 presidential election. He’s the first Republican to hold office in the state since former Republican Gov. Judy Martz’s term expired on Jan. 3, 2005.

Since taking office in January, the governor has been on a pro-Second Amendment tear. Only weeks into his term, he signed a bill that granted 18-year-old+ Montanans the right to carry concealed firearms in almost all public settings without a permit, including banks, bars and even college campuses, according to the Montana Free Press.

The only exceptions were reportedly “secure law enforcement facilities, federal buildings, courtrooms, and K-12 schools.”

During the signing of the bill, Gianforte reportedly defended it by citing situations where a good guy with a gun had helped to stop a bad guy with a gun.

“Our Second Amendment is very clear: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Every law-abiding Montanan should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones,” he said.

“Criminals don’t care about safe zones or gun free zones. Gun control measures don’t prevent criminals from perpetuating violence and other crime. Gun control measures step on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” he added.

Gianforte’s actions are a strong contrast to those of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who on Friday rejected a similar measure that had been proposed by his state’s legislature.

“Governor Asa Hutchinson notified the legislature Friday he vetoed the Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021. Senate Bill 298 states the federal government doesn’t have the authority to impose gun laws and regulations. The bill also noted the state would not adhere to the federal gun laws and regulations or help federal agencies enforce them,” Little Rock station KARK reported.

In a letter addressed to his state’s legislature, the governor reportedly complained that the bill would “break” the “partnership between state and federal law enforcement officers [that] is essential for the safety of Arkansas citizens.”

“I understand the intent of the bill is to provide citizens with confidence that law enforcement officers of this state will not participate in the enforcement of unconstitutional laws. I fully support that intention, but this bill does not accomplish that goal,” he added.

His rejection of the bill doesn’t necessarily make him an enemy to the Second Amendment. Only a month earlier, he did sign another bill into law that recognized every resident’s right to “Stand Your Ground” against an attacker.

“This NRA-backed legislation removes the legal need for a citizen to retreat in the face of an attacker. The previous legal standard in Arkansas required that a person under attack or threatened with attack must first attempt to flee or retreat before the person could use deadly force against his or her attacker,” the National Rifle Association, which was pleased by the bill’s signing, reported at the time.

All this comes as Biden is ramping up his calls for gun control, to the point that he’s now targeting “ghost guns” as well.

Ghost guns “are unregistered firearms that weren’t assembled by licensed gun manufacturers or sold in highly regulated gun shops,” according to Reason magazine. They’re mainly associated with guns “printed” by a 3D printer.

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This sort of rhetoric has most Republican-led states rushing to insulate themselves from any upcoming gun control legislation.

“Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns. We will NOT allow this in TX. It’s time to get legislation making TX a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State passed and to my desk for signing,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced earlier this month.

Look:

Republican-led localities have also been following suit, from Greenville County in South Carolina to Washington County in Ohio.

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Vivek Saxena

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