Dear Senator Tester,

MSSA has long resisted urges to stray outside of our focal mission area, the right to keep and bear arms (RKBA).  As an RKBA-related issue, we have supported hunting.  You will remember that you carried our bill, when you were in the Montana Senate, to require the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to make their game count results public.  This successful bill was because the Legislative Audit Committee, which you then chaired, directed the Legislative Auditor to conduct a performance audit of DFWP's game-counting methodology, an audit DFWP flunked miserably.

MSSA, as you will remember, also initiated and successfully pursued a change to protect the right to hunt, fish, and trap in the Montana Constitution.

MSSA also considers our RKBA mission to include privacy, which is a right the people have reserved to themselves in the Montana Constitution and which is an important aspect of the RKBA.  I can certainly explain that overlap in more detail if you wish.

Meanwhile, there are several issues likely to come before you in the U.S. Senate that can have a serious impact on the RKBA.  We want you to know that we see these RKBA-related issues as within our mission area, just as hunting and privacy are.  These issues are:

1.  Ending the Senate filibuster rule.  Any effort to eliminate the filibuster rule we consider hostile to the RKBA.  Eliminating the filibuster would allow passage of gun control bills with a simple majority vote of the Senate.  We ask you to oppose any effort or vote to reduce or eliminate the filibuster.

2.  Expanding the Supreme Court.  There is talk of a congressional effort to increase the number of justices serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.  This would allow appointment and confirmation of new justices who would be philosophically inclined to approve of gun control laws and efforts.  We consider any such expansion of the Court to also be hostile to Montana gun owners and the RKBA.

3.  Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico.  There are those who would like to grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, specifically to assure that there would be four more senators who would align with other senators who support gun control.  Because of that effect, we view statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico as hostile to the RKBA.

4.  Banking discrimination.  There is talk of allowing or encouraging banks, lenders, and transaction processors to discriminate against commerce in firearms, ammunition, and accessories.  Such discrimination is intended to throw a broomstick into the wheel spokes of commerce in firearms and related products.  We certainly find this idea hostile to the RKBA.

5.  Manufacturer product liability.  Those who manufacture firearms, ammunition, and accessories have been protected from liability for misuse of their products.  When a drunk driver kills someone, General Motors is not held liable for misuse of its product.  When someone is electrocuted in Montana, Northwestern Energy or a rural electric utility is not held liable just because they provided the electricity.  We see any effort to hold a firearm or ammunition manufacturer or vendor responsible for misuse of their products to be an attack on the RKBA.

Jon, other issues may arise that sufficiently impact the RKBA for MSSA to consider them within the MSSA mission area.  We want you to be informed about what we evaluate the position of Montana gun owners to be on these issues.  We ask you to both work and vote against all of the issues discussed above, and any others that affect the RKBA of Montana gun owners.


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