In MSSA v. Holder, the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) and the Second Amendment Foundation was a federal court case that reaffirmed that the interstate commerce clause allowed the Congress to pass laws regulating the manufacture and sale of firearms even if the individual transaction occurred within just one state. The courts invalidated the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA), which the Montana Legislature passed in 2009.
Legislation similar to the MFFA attempted to regulated intrastate sales of firearms in Tennessee, and has been introduced in Alaska, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
This is part of an effort to test a legal theory about states' rights in the context of federal regulation of firearms. The hope was that firearms could be manufactured in a state with subsequent sales confined to that state in a manner that would escape federal laws. The government claimed that such sales would have an impact on the interstate market for firearms. The MSSA lost in Federal District court on September 29, 2010, and the MSSA appealed to the Ninth Circuit which decided against them on on August 23, 2013. The 3 judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled that Montana could regulate the manufacture of firearms, but that the subsequent sale of those firearms is subject to federal regulation. The MFFA claimed to exempt the manufacture and intrastate sales of firearms from federal regulation, and the Ninth Circuit found that provision invalid on its face. The Supreme Court later denied certiorari leaving a clear precedent that would apply to subsequent laws of this type.
- McCulloch v. Maryland
- Tenth Amendment
- Second Amendment
- Commerce Clause
- Negative Commerce Clause
- Supremacy Clause
- Necessary and Proper Clause
- Local government
- Opinion (PDF). Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (August 23, 2013). Retrieved on April 22, 2016.