March 14, 2021

Dear Senator Tester,

Why is a national firearms registry unsuitable for Montana?

First, there is the constitutional issue.  There is no federal requirement that journalists or churches must be registered with the federal government in order to be legal doing what they do.  That is because freedom of the press and freedom of religion is protected from government interference by the First Amendment.  Ditto with firearms and the Second Amendment.

Second, the allegation that criminals will somehow register their firearms is false.  Actually, the courts have held that criminals cannot be required to register firearms because that would violate their right to freedom from self-incrimination.  Logically and axiomatically, a national firearms registry would only apply to people who don't violate laws - non-criminals.  It is specifically law-abiding people who are the target of a national firearms registry.

Third, it is nobody's business what firearms a Montana citizen possesses, including it is not the business of the federal government.  In addition to violating the Second Amendment, a national firearms registry would violate the right to privacy that is overtly declared in the Montana Constitution at Article II, Section 10, and inferred under the U.S. Constitution.

Fourth, the only logical reason the federal government could have for wanting a national registry of firearms is so that government officials would know where those firearms are.  This would make it easier for government agents to collect those firearms if so desired, or to criminalize otherwise law-abiding people who failed surrender such firearms upon government demand.  This has actually happened in Australia, Canada, and California.  It is almost certainly the unstated goal of a national firearms registry to prepare for some form of firearm confiscation, either sudden or gradual.  Montana people understand this.

The intent of the British military adventures at Lexington and Concord was to confiscate American arms and ammunition.  That's why Americans shot the British and created a new nation that would respect liberty and the right to keep and bear arms.  Creating and attempting to enforce a national firearms registry would be anti-liberty and an extremely provocative action.

Please oppose a national firearms registry and also oppose any incremental steps to achieve a national firearms registry, such as "universal background checks."


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