Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Moving to Montana?

Courtesy of Instapundit, a story about the State of Montana's letter asserting an individual right under the Second Amendment as a condition of the Montana Compact.

The dispute goes back more than a century. Back in 1889, the settlers of the Montana territory struck a deal with the federal government: They agreed to join the union, and the government agreed that individuals had the right to bear arms.

That has worked fine for the past 118 years, but the Supreme Court is expected next month to hear oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller, the appeal of a federal court decision striking down the District's gun-ownership ban on Second Amendment grounds.

The high court has not issued a broad ruling on Second Amendment law in almost 70 years, including the key question of whether it provides an individual right, like speech and jury trial, or a "collective right" held by state governments. Many constitutional scholars, both liberal and conservative, say this case gives the justices an opportunity to rule on that matter.

The Montana statehood contract, which was preserved as Article I of the state constitution, specifies gun ownership as an individual right: "The right of any person to keep or bear arms ... shall not be called in question."

There's no threat to secede, but it certainly makes Montana an appealing refuge if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against an individual right.

1 comment:

Mark Jones said...

Montana won't secede. Even if the Supremes utterly gut the 2nd Amendment it won't happen. At best they'll try. But the principle in play was established over a century ago at a great cost in blood and treasure. The Union is like the mafia; you can join--but you can't quit.