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Montana: Senator Tester Refuses to Commit to Protecting Your Gun Rights

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

Montana – -(AmmoLand.com)- I have received no direct response from Senator Tester about any one of the series of letters I sent to him explaining the Montana take on gun control likely to come before the U.S. Senate.

I did receive a form email that a lot of you may have also received, wherein Tester was carefully unclear about his position concerning Universal Background Checks (UBC).

UBCs, you may know, are a strategy to sweep private transfers of firearms into a national gun registration scheme by requiring that private transfers must have a federal background check to record the transaction. (If you believe it when they claim every transaction involving a background check is not recorded, I have some lovely beachfront property to sell you just outside of Malta, Montana.)

I was visiting with my friend John about Tester’s weak and flexible statement about UBCs. John asked if that statement should be interpreted as for UBCs or against UBCs. I told John I would compose a careful response to that question and email it to him. I thought you might be interested in my comment to John.



I have been thinking about Senator Tester’s email in which he is unclear about his position on Universal Background Check legislation heading towards the Senate. Three things come to mind:

  1. Tester claims to support the Second Amendment. Heck, EVERY politician claims that, no matter how anti-gun they are. That claim has become so trite, abused, and worthless that the claim may be entirely disregarded. It means nothing anymore.
  2. Tester’s posture needs to be taken in Montana political context. A UBC was attempted in Montana (the Missoula SNAFU). That effort was successfully opposed by an Attorney General’s Opinion, a Montana Supreme Court decision (Missoula v. Fox), a bill before the Legislature (HB 357), and a ballot issue that the people approved (LR-130). Add to that political climate HB 102 and HB 258 that were passed by the recent session of the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Gianforte.  Against this current political background in Montana, Tester’s tepid comment about a UBC is so far estranged from the political realities in Montana that it is tantamount to an open declaration in favor of a UBC. To be anything like consistent with the current political intolerance for gun control in Montana, any statement from Tester about a UBC should be ringing opposition, not the squishy language he uses that could be interpreted any way the reader wishes.
  3. I have made five separate attempts to reach out to Senator Tester both to convey what I understand to be broad sentiment in Montana about the gun control issues likely to come before him in D.C., and to initiate some dialog with Jon about these issues. I’d hoped he would be willing to engage in such a dialog. Jon and I know each other. We worked together when he was in the Montana Senate. He actually carried a bill for us then, one to require that DFWP publish their game counting methodology and results. Jon knows that I am the leader of the organization that is the primary political advocate for gun owners in Montana – that I speak for a lot of concerned Montana gun owners.

However, as a U.S. Senator, Tester has declined to respond to any of my letters to him. It appears that he wants to avoid any serious discussion about gun control with Montana.

That Tester has elected to avoid any such dialog, is not willing to even discuss it, does not argue for his openness on this issue. That, in turn, does not generate much confidence in the hope that he will actively oppose gun control in the Senate.

FYI, my series of letters to Tester, to which he has declined to respond, may be viewed at: progunleaders.org/Tester_Letters/

I assume that Tester is under heavy pressure by Senator Schumer and many others to go along with the gun control agenda. I assume he is also concerned about what Montana voters may think about that gun control agenda and how his votes may influence his reelection chances. I also assume that those in D.C. who want his vote for gun control have promised boatloads of money for his reelection campaign to overcome any animosity created among voters by his possible swing vote for gun control (ala Baucus, 1994). These conflicting pressures must surely dictate the nature of his tepid and flexible comments about the UBC headed to the Senate.

The right thing for Tester to do would be to clearly represent the recently demonstrated will of the people of Montana on the subject of gun control – vigorously oppose and be clear about that. However, there is also the seductive siren song of party, power, and money that Schumer and others are singing in his ears. I guess we’ll see how that works out.

Best wishes,

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


About Montana Shooting Sports Association:

Montana Shooting Sports Association is the primary political advocate for Montana gun owners. Visit: www.mtssa.org

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