Sunday, 31 March 2013 14:00

Montana Governor Vetoes State Nullification of Federal Gun Grab

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On March 28, Montana Governor Steve Bullock (shown) vetoed a nullification bill protecting the Second Amendment rights of Montanans from infringement by the federal government.

As The New American reported at the time of its passage by the state legislature, the measure, House Bill 302, read in relevant part:

A peace officer, state employee, or employee of any political subdivision is prohibited from enforcing, assisting in the enforcement of, or otherwise cooperating in the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines and is also prohibited from participating in any federal enforcement action implementing a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines.

Another provision mandates that state officials may not use “public funds or allocate public resources for the enforcement of a federal ban on semiautomatic weapons or large magazines.”

Violation of this section of the bill would constitute misdemeanor theft.

Ironically, with his veto, Governor Bullock has committed theft of a more serious nature.

A story on Bullock’s rejection of the bill published by U.S. News proclaims the decision to be a move toward “modernity.”

They have a point, though likely not the one they intended to make.

Bullock’s ignorance of the role of the right to keep and bear arms, as well as the role of the states in checking federal overreaches of its constitutional powers, is typical of many modern lawmakers and executives.

For example, consider this excerpt from the veto message attached by Bullock to the bill when he sent it back to the state House of Representatives:

House Bill 302 puts law enforcement in the position of violating laws they have sworn to uphold. When public safety officers graduate from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy, they take an oath to "enforce or apply all laws and regulations appropriately, courteously, and responsibly" and also to "work in unison with all legally authorized agencies and their representatives in the pursuit of justice." HB 302 would subject our peace officers to criminal sanctions for upholding the oath we ask that they take.


The oath would be more faithfully executed by the recognition of the state’s retention of the authority to pass laws protecting citizens from the infringement of their rights by the federal government, which possesses only those (to quote Madison) "few and defined" powers enumerated in the Constitution. All other powers are reserved to the states or to the people, as is explicitly stated in the Tenth Amendment.

The first step in thwarting the federal government’s goal of consolidating all power in Washington is to remember that any federal act, regulation, or order that exceeds the constitutional limits on federal power has no legal effect.  States can — must — courageously refuse to enforce those acts using the historically, legally, and constitutionally sound principle of nullification.

Simply stated, nullification recognizes the right of states to invalidate any federal measure that a state deems unconstitutional. Nullification is founded on the fact that the sovereign states formed the union, and as creators of the compact, they hold ultimate authority as to the limits of the power of the federal government to enact laws that are applicable to states and their citizens.

For years, state representatives, governors, and wary citizens have sifted through the various legal methods available to combat economic enslavement and the federal government’s intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Many are embracing nullification, recognizing it as the preferred weapon in the fight against federal oppression.

As the United States of America is manipulated closer and closer to an economic and social abyss, the unavoidable consequences of this decline are becoming familiar to all of us. Sadly, many young people, whose future is being mortgaged by those determined to perpetuate never-ending war and ever-expanding national debt, are awakening to a sense of their dire situation. To their credit, many of them have turned to the history of our nation to locate a lever for braking the runaway train of federal abuses carrying states and citizens toward economic and political slavery.

Despite the governor’s decision to anoint himself the giver and taker of rights, there is yet hope that the political will of the people of Montana will be done. Bullock's veto sends the bill back to the state legislature where a two-thirds majority vote of each chamber could override his decision.

While the state House of Representatives likely has the numbers to override the veto, the vote in the state Senate is expected to be closer. On its first appearance in that body, the bill passed by a very narrow margin of 28-21.

Montanans are encouraged to contact their state representatives and senators and encourage them to stand up for state sovereignty and for the Second Amendment and override the Governor Bullock’s veto.

Photo of Gov. Steve Bullock: AP Images

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, and the surveillance state. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


  • Comment Link william millerick Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:32 posted by william millerick

    I live in Mt. it's a shame that we have a Gov. that sides in with Obama not for the people we should have him impeached. he has sworn to up hold the constitution

  • Comment Link Jim Chambers Monday, 01 April 2013 20:23 posted by Jim Chambers

    Mr. Pelteson,
    Respectfully, I believe you know that before WWI Germany was a loose confederation of states with a weak central government that did pretty well. It was the Kaiser who brought them together under a stronger central social (for those times) government. That is when, I believe, their problems began. This, I also believe, is exactly what is happening in this country and has been since the civil war when Lincoln forced a war over low tariffs in the south and states rights. The trajectory of this lunge toward socialism needs to be brought to a halt as soon as is possible.
    I believe I know how you feel in regards to the above statement but look forward to your views on that subject.

  • Comment Link Jim Chambers Monday, 01 April 2013 19:39 posted by Jim Chambers

    Mr. Mickey,
    Respectfully, I would suggest that you read the constitution. You might find in it some of the rights that have been and are being taken away from you and me since the time of the civil war. While the loss of these rights may not alarm you, they do me and others in this country. Because of this loss we are trying everything we can peaceably do to counter this loss and regain those rights.
    At this time you are required to work until the month of May in order to pay for the government that is unconstitutionally taking care of so many who not only do not deserve benefits but are fraudulently getting them. Our government unconstitutionally sends billions of your hard earned tax dollars out of the country to buy the allegiance of those who hate us.
    I could go on with illustration after illustration but I think you get the idea. Your comment suggesting that each officer would, if allowed, enforce only those laws they personally agreed is facetious and a straw man.
    The issue is 'should the states allow the federal government continue unconstitutional behavior?' I would argue that they should not and have the means to stop it if they would exercise those means. The fact that this governor vetoed this bill presents an obstacle that needs to be either surmounted or removed. I will leave it to the citizens of that state to do what they should do and trust in them to do the right thing. But stopping the federal government needs to be a priority. The citizens of this state should remember what this governor did when the next election arises.

  • Comment Link MemphisMickey Monday, 01 April 2013 13:45 posted by MemphisMickey

    So I guess if the City cops or the county sheriff thinks that 18 is a good age for legal drinking or that 100$ or less is ok to steal, then they CAN stop enforcing that laws. The Legislature writes the laws, the executive enforces. If they choose which laws, then they have usurped the law of the land.
    Change the law if you don't like it, that is what should be done.

  • Comment Link Frank M. Pelteson Monday, 01 April 2013 12:58 posted by Frank M. Pelteson

    Governor Bullock must be a devotee of Adolf Hitler's Gleichschaltung. From :

    "Weimar Germany had strong states’ rights, which the Nazis quickly destroyed in order to create an all-powerful state. Hamilton Fish Armstrong, hardly a friend of local government, writes in his 1933 book Hitler’s Reich: 'Federal Germany is gone. The Gleichschaltung law disposes of the prerogatives of the separate States, and Nazi leaders have been named Statthalter, with power from Berlin to dismiss State governments should they not prove fully amenable.' Clarence K. Streit, also a globalist usually sympathetic to big government, wrote in his 1941 book Union Now With Britain: 'One of Hitler’s first acts was to abolish the German federal system. Once he had removed the powerful brake which state rights provide, totalitarianism sped on.' Of course, neither Armstrong (longtime editor of the Council on Foreign Relations journal Foreign Affairs) nor -Streit were political conservatives."

    Heil Hitler, Governor Bulock!

  • Comment Link MemphisMickey Monday, 01 April 2013 09:45 posted by MemphisMickey

    So counties can decide which state/federal laws to enforce?

  • Comment Link Mark Eaves Monday, 01 April 2013 09:01 posted by Mark Eaves

    Bullock isn't convinced yet that the american people hold the power in this United States. When the sows eat everything in their pen, they will even climb the fence to get what is not given to them. Aggression is their stance, uncaring is their attitude, and our last hope for a balance of power are our firearms. Otherwise how are we going to slaughter that sow for dinner?

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