MSSA’s first bill introduced – SB 122

Dear MSSA Friends,MSSA’s flagship bill this session has been introduced as Senate Bill 122.  This bill, introduced by Senator Matt Rosendale, is to encourage the manufacture of ammunition components in Montana, to insure the availability of components so we will continue to have ammo, so our RKBA doesn’t evaporate for lack of ammo.  I can’t stress too much how important this bill is.

To get this bill passed will REQUIRE your active involvement.    SB 122 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee (good for us), but no public hearing on the bill has been set yet.  The chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee will try to bundle our bills before his committee so those of you who can travel to Helena to support them will be able to kill several birds with one stone – appear in support of multiple bills with one trip to Helena.

All of you must become familiar with the legislative process, and how you can interface with and affect that process.  That’s why I’ve written a careful explanation of all of that and have posted it for your use at:

Please study this page.

Folks, freedom is not free.  It requires your active participation!

You will be getting more frequent emails from me as the legislative session heats up.  Please do not blow them off, or get to inured to them.  Please commit time from your busy life to being involved, either electronically or with travel, in support of the pro-gun bills MSSA will push FOR YOU in the Montana Legislature this session.

Stay tuned for more.

Best wishes,

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


Getting ready for the legislative session – PLEASE READ

Dear MSSA Friends,

Montana’s once-every-two-years legislative session will begin on Monday, January 5th.  When the session convenes, things will happen quickly because the session only lasts 90 working days.  You need to be prepared to keep up and weigh in.  I will be coaching you throughout with emails.

However, there are things you can do in advance to get yourself and your friends ready to help MSSA get pro-gun bills passed.  MSSA CAN’T DO THE JOB WITHOUT YOUR ONGOING HELP.

1.  Become knowledgeable about the issues MSSA will have before the 2015 Legislature.  Most of these issues are described in MSSA’s 2014 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire, available HERE .  Check this out and study up on the issues.  These DO NOT have bill numbers yet, because they can’t be introduced and get bill numbers until the session starts.  As soon as bill numbers are assigned, I’ll get those numbers to you.

2.  Learn about the legislative process, how it works, and how you and your friends can be involved in support of MSSA bills.  I have provided informative and coaching information for you HERE.  BE SURE TO study this information.  It is important!

3.  Don’t forget the Legislative Reception hosted by MSSA and the NRA at the Colonial Inn in Helena on the afternoon and early evening of Wednesday, January 7th.  This will be a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with legislators about MSSA legislative issues in an informal setting.  Plan to attend if you can.

4.  Please recirculate this to all of your friends who are concerned about the RKBA in Montana.

Best wishes,

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


Dear MSSA Friends,

You may be aware that I’ve long been a fan of the organization Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.  JPFO has long been way out front in the gun rights fight with such efforts as their research leading to their publication of Lethal Laws, a documentation of the disarmament laws that led to all the many genocides of the 1900s.  JPFO has done some great work.  Since the death of JPFO founder, Aaron Zelman, JPFO has been struggling and floundering.

I’ve also long worked comfortably with the twin organizations of Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  Both were founded and have been operated successfully by Alan Gottlieb.

Now, there is talk about some association or partnership between JPFO and SAF.  Critics claim that SAF is trying to "take over" JPFO and will effectively neuter it.

In my view, SAF is offering to rescue JPFO from swirling down the drain, and to keep it active in the RKBA fight.  SAF is MUCH better at raising money than JPFO and would bring a lot of financial muscle to any partnership – a much-needed sugardaddy for JPFO.

Here’s a bit of insider info for you:  When MSSA was preparing to litigate the Montana Firearms Freedom Act through the federal courts, to validate the principles raised, Alan Gottlieb contacted me and asked if SAF could be named as a plaintiff.  In exchanged, he agreed to pay the costs of litigation.  I agreed, with an important condition that Alan agreed to.  The condition was that I (me, Gary) would make ALL tactical and strategic decisions, I would be the official contact for the attorney(s), and that I and only I would decide what issues would be argued and how to argue them.  Alan stuck to his word on that, and never interfered on the direction of the lawsuit.  Sometimes we would talk on the phone and he would suggest one direction or another.  Sometimes we agreed; sometimes we disagreed.  But, Alan always (ALWAYS) allowed me to make the final call.  He stuck to the letter and spirit of our verbal deal.

So, if Gottlieb says he will allow JPFO to operate independently (which he does), but with SAF financial backing. I believe him.

If you read criticism about the proposed merger, partnership or association between SAF and JPFO, I urge you to see it as I do, an honorable effort by Alan Gottlieb to keep JPFO afloat and doing what it does so well, cutting edge information and activism in support of the RKBA.

Best wishes,

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

Senate hopeful Curtis and guns

Dear MSSA Friends,

A Missoulian story about aspirant for the Democrat nomination for U.S. Senate (to replace withdrawn Walsh), Amanda Curtis of Butte, has her portraying herself as a supporter of the Second Amendment.  The article says, “Curtis said she’s a strong supporter of the Second Amendment of the Constitution and that she and her husband own firearms.”

That’s not what her record says, not by a long shot.

MSSA tracked 24 gun-related votes cast by Curtis in the Montana House last session.  Curtis voted anti-gun on 23 of 24 opportunities.  For that, she scored a miserable 2.6%.  A 59% score would have earned her an “F” on gun issues.  She is well below F-, if there is such a thing.

Curtis  voted:

NO on a bill to encourage manufacturers to move to Montana and create new jobs if those manufacturers make firearms (HR5).

NO on two bills to protect hunters’ hearing by allowing sound reduction for hunting (HB205 & HB27).

NO on a bill to prohibit the university system from suspending the Montana Constitution (HB240).

NO on a bill to allow investigators working for public defenders to carry firearms for self defense (SB133).

NO on a bill to exempt from criminal “disorderly conduct” charges a hunter who fires a shot at a deer or elk (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB446).

NO on a bill to allow people located inside city limits the same ability for self defense as those outside city limits (HB304).

NO on a bill to allow a person eating at a restaurant that serves beer to provide for his or her self defense (HB358).

NO to medical privacy for gun owners (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB459).

NO to preventing newspapers from publishing the private information about people who have been issued a concealed weapon permit by the local sheriff (the Governor disagreed with her on this bill too) (SB145).

Curtis is virulently anti-gun.  Her claim to support the right to keep and bear arms sounds like the beginning of another Walsh thesis.

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

Declaration of Independence and “consent of the governed”

July 4, 2014

Dear MSSA Friends,

As we celebrate Independence Day and think about the Declaration of Independence, I believe that the four most consequential words in the Declaration may be “consent of the governed, …”

The full quote from the Declaration is:  “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

This concept, that government only exists with the “consent of the governed,” may be the most revolutionary philosophical concept in recorded human history.  The philosophical concept underpinning all other existing governments at the time of America’s founding was some form of divine right of kings.  Kings ruled, and people were little more than property of the king.

Indeed, up until the Declaration of Independence, the standard form of governance in the World (with a few minor exceptions in history) was tyranny – some form of an elite person, group or class holding all power.

The concept of “consent of the governed” was so important that it is the very first statement in the Montana Constitution, which says at Article II, Section 1, “All political power is vested in and derived from the people. All government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.”

Under this concept where all political power is inherent in the individual, when we engender and empower our government(s), we do that in a written contract that we call a “constitution.”  Actually, this document is more like a power of attorney than a contract.

By that contract, we delegate a limited amount of our individual political power to government to do for us in common things we cannot do well individually, such as provide for the common defense of the nation.  However, we are also wise enough to include in that contract strict limitations on government power, limitations on the existing power we have as individuals that we do NOT delegate to government.

In the U.S. Constitution we declare those limitations on delegation of power to government in the Bill of Rights.  In the Montana Constitution we declare those limitations in the Declaration of Rights.

These do not “give” us or “create” any rights whatsoever, but do declare, in writing, that we very specifically do NOT delegate power to government to operate in the areas of existing rights covered.  That is, government does NOT have the “consent of the governed” to operate in these areas.  Here government may not tread.  Here we delegate no authority to government to act.

Likening our constitutions to a power of attorney is a good analogy, I think.  Suppose before going on a vacation you authorize a car lot to sell a car you don’t want.  You sign a limited power of attorney giving the car lot authority to sell your car, but only that car.  Suppose upon return from vacation you learn that not only has the car lot sold your car, but it also sold your house, your other car, and all of your belongings.  The sales of all but your one car would be illegal because they would exceed the authority delegated to the car lot in your power of attorney.

Like the car lot that sold your house, and notwithstanding the limitations of “consent of the governed” written into our constitutions, our governments constantly seek to exceed the authority to which we have consented.  That is the nature of government.  Our Founders understood this nature, which is why they intended to bind government with the chains of the Constitution, and to diffuse power with separation of powers among three branches at the federal level, and between states and the national government.

The concept of “consent of the governed” is what makes our system unique, is what made our Nation great, and is important to remember as we celebrate this Independence Day.

Best wishes,

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

Target stores and customer guns


There’s been a lot of chatter in the media about Target’s recent announcement about armed customers.

Organizations supported by the $50 million former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged to pursue gun control had pressured Target to ban guns.

Target’s net response to gun owners was a request – please carry discretely (concealed) when you come to Target.  This must be a disappointment to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has recently de-emphasized his Illegal Mayors for Gun Control, in part since so many of the member mayors have gone to prison for one sort of corruption or another.  His money is now invested in Moms (for or against something) and Everytown (something or other).  It was Moms and Everytown that pressured Target, spurred by Bloomberg’s $ millions.  The result of that effort must have been a disappointment to Bloomberg, just like getting no traction with his Illegal Mayors.

When this issue was raised with Starbucks and employees asked, “What do we do if we see somebody with a gun,” Starbucks’ direction was, “Sell them coffee.”

The debate between open carry (OC) and discrete carry (concealed carry, DC) will continue.

Some argue that OC offends people so why OC?  Others respond that the ninnies who are offended by OC need to get a life or move back to New York (or wherever).  Some argue that DC allows a defender to inform an assailant that the defender is carrying at the time of the defender’s choosing – a tactical advantage, they say.  OC proponents say that a person OCing will likely be avoided by predators.  OC proponents also say the public needs to be desensitized to seeing law-abiding citizens wearing guns.

The OC/DC debate won’t be resolved here.  OC is legal in Montana, except in some federally-controlled places such as federal buildings, military installations, post offices, and behind security at airports, and except for places where prohibition of OC and DC is allowed under Montana law at 45-8-351, including schools, parks, publicly owned and occupied buildings, and “public assemblies.”

Some like Fords and some like Chevrolets.  Some like OC and some like DC.  Hey, that’s why we live in the Land of the Free.

Whatever you prefer, be polite and be safe.

Best wishes,

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

MSSA in the Primary Election

Dear MSSA Friends,

MSSA endorsed a total of 23 candidates in the Primary Election just held, and supported 18 of those by mailing 19,000 postcards to voters in contested districts.

Here’s how that turned out.

MSSA Endorsed Primary 2014 – 70% Success

Body/Name                District                  Win/Loss
Montana Senate
Mark Blasdel – Senate District 04                W
Kris Hansen – Senate District 14                 W
Tonya Shellnutt – Senate District 24             W
Cary Smith – Senate District 27          W
Joanne Blyton – Senate District 29               L
Jedediah Hinkle – Senate District 32             W
Marissa Stockton – Senate District 42   L
Scott Boulanger – Senate District 43             L (possible recount)

Montana House
Ronalee Skees – House District 07                L
Mike Hebert – House District 11          L
Ann Morren – House District 18           L
Ryan Osmundson – House District 30               W
Sarah Laszloffy – House District 53              W
Jeff Essmann – House District 54                 W
Seth Berglee – House District 58                 W
Debra Lamm – House District 60           W
Mike More – House District 65            W
Matthew Monforton – House District 69   W
Bob Wagner – House District 71           L
Mike Miller – House District 80          W
Theresa Manzella – House District 85    W
Edward Greef – House District 88                 W
Dan Salomon – House District 93          W

Best wishes,

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

Interesting announcement – House District 94

Dear MSSA Friends,

Two years ago, I ponied up to be the Republican candidate for the Montana House of Representatives in House District 99 (where I live), even though I knew it would be a long shot because it was about a 70% Democrat district.  The election results were about what you’d expect for an R running in a 70% D district.

In this current election cycle, the redistricting commission has redrawn the district, as all Montana districts have been redrawn.  Where I live used to be in HD 99; the district is now HD 94.  It has gone from 70% D to about 55% D.  The incumbent elected last time, liberal lady lawyer Kimberly Dudik, filed to run in HD 94.  A Republican nobody had heard of filed to run against her.

Then, the Republican either withdrew or was taken off the ballot, depending on whose story you hear.  In any case, that left a free ride for Dudik – nobody else on the ballot in November.

Some people contacted me to seek my permission for them to collect signatures on petitions to place me on the November ballot as an Independent candidate.  I agreed to allow that, but warned them that I would probably not have the time and energy (too busy; too many birthdays) to run as aggressive a campaign as I did last time.

The signatures were collected and verified by the Missoula County Elections Office and the Secretary of State.  I’ve submitted the necessary paperwork and filing fee to the Secretary of State, and required initial forms to the Commissioner of Political Practices.

The Secretary of State’s office called me late this afternoon to inform me that all the “i”s were dotted and “t”s crossed and I WILL be on the ballot for HD 94 this November as an Independent candidate for HD 94.  (My mother as said that I need to have my head examined.  She may be right.)

Sooner or later, voters and the media will ask why I’m running as an Independent candidate.  My answer will be that in my long political experience I’ve seen far too many examples of where the existing major political parties put the welfare of the party ahead of the welfare of the people.  For example, I saw that when I ran as a Democrat in the early 1980s and the Democrat party informed me that if I was elected I’d be expected to vote in the Legislature how the Party told me to vote.  We agreed to disagree and the next week all of my campaign signs were destroyed.  I saw that when I was a delegate to the Montana Republican presidential nominating convention and the Republican insiders enforced a very unfair process to make sure candidate Ron Paul was shut out and did not get Montana delegates to the national nominating convention.

My chief interest is individual liberty, not the welfare or power of political parties.

I think an Independent candidate will play well in HD 94 in November.  The Republican voters won’t vote for a Dem, so they’ll vote for me.  By November, the unaligned voters, and even many traditional Democrats, should be sick of Obama and the Democrat Party.  They’ll be glad to see an independent on the ballot.  We’ll see.  It should be interesting.

So, there you have it.  I’ll get back to you when the dust settles from the Primary about fundraising for the campaign, and what you can do to help.  (For any of you absolutely champing at the bit to donate [campaigns cost money], I’ll include some info below.)

Best wishes,

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


I have opened a campaign account.  If you’re eager to get in on this, you could send a check made payable to “Marbut for House”, and mailed to:

Gary Marbut
P.O. Box 16106
Missoula, Montana 59808

The max any individual may contribute is $170.  A husband and wife may contribute $170 each, but it should be in two checks, just to keep it clean.

No checks drawn on the account of a corporation, please.  Business checks are okay, as long as the business is not a corporation.

For any checks of $35 or more, I am obligated to report the Name, Address, Occupation and Employer of the donor to the Commissioner of Political Practices.  If your name and address are on your check and your donation is $35 or more, please also write your occupation and employer in the Memo line or an included piece of paper.