Letters from the BATFE

April 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

9/29/09 Letter to Plaintiff Marbut

7/16/09 Letters from the BATFE to Federal Firearms License holders in Montana and Tennesse:



Response from the Montana Shooting Sports Association to the BATFE letters:


Dear MSSA Friends,

There’s been a lot of chatter on the Net about the “open” letters the BATFE has recently issued to Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in Montana and Tennessee claiming that the Firearms Freedom Acts passed in Montana and Tennessee are trumped by federal law.

Two primary news stories about this today are at CBS News and World Net Daily.

Such a response to the state-made guns bills by the BATFE has been expected, and is not particularly disturbing, for several reasons:

1)  The letters are addressed only to FFLs and purport to assert authority only over those licensees already under the federal thumb because of their licenses.  We’ve always assumed that people with existing FFLs would not be players in the state-made guns exercise because they will not wish to risk thwarting the earned reputation the BATFE has for vindictiveness.  The letters are not addressed to non-FFLs, those folks who are potential participants in the state-made guns business.

2)  The BATFE letters may lack any official import because they are not signed by the official who appears in the signature block, but by some unknown other person.  It’s difficult to place much credence in a missive upon which the purported issuing person is unwilling to put his signature, and for which the signer is unknown.

3)  The essence of the letter is a declaration that the laws that the BATFE enforces supercede the U.S. Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.  I understand that the BATFE hopes that is so, but that’s far from proven yet.  (We still recommend that nobody make these state-made guns until we can litigate and vet the principles involved.)

4)  The letters, if they are official even though unsigned by the issuer, will help us establish standing to get this issue squarely before the federal courts.  The feds have thrown down the gauntlet.

That’s why MSSA is asking for donations – so we can get this into court ASAP.  Our target date for filing our lawsuit is about a month away.  Please send whatever you can.

You can make your check payable to “MSSA”, and mark “MFFA” (for Montana Firearms Freedom Act) in the memo line.  Any such donations to MSSA are not tax deductible (hey, we don’t want the hassle or political limitations associated with becoming a tax exempt entity).

Mail your check to:

P.O. Box 4924
Missoula, Montana 59806

OR, you can use the PayPal button in the upper left of the MSSA Website front page to make a credit card donation.  Just go to:

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

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