Utah May Join Firearms Rights Battle; Browning Affected?
While Montana gun-rights advocates prepare to battle the federal government's domain over regulating firearms manufactured and sold within the state's boundaries, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, is sponsoring a bill that could put Utah in the same fight.
Dayton's SB11 proposes changes nearly identical to the new Montana statute, pursuing the matter via interpretation of state sovereignty protections under the 10th Amendment.
In Montana Rep. Joel Boniek, R-Livingston, was the lead sponsor of HB246, which went into effect last October and has come to be known as the "Montana Firearms Freedom Act." He has said it was his intent from the beginning to mount a challenge to how the federal government views states' rights.
"It is time to revisit the argument," Boniek said Friday. "Many of us believe that states' rights have not just been neglected, but overrun."
While the fate of Boniek's bill now falls within the purview of the federal court system, Dayton's version has already raised a red flag with Utah's own Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. The office's legal review notes that while Dayton's proposal limits itself to addressing commerce that occurs wholly within state boundaries, because it "purports to limit the reach of federal law and is inconsistent with the federal firearms provisions, this legislation is highly likely to be held to be unconstitutional under the United States Constitution Supremacy Clause."
There are a handful of Utah-based gun manufacturers, including one of the largest in the industry, Browning Firearms.