UPDATE- Friday, March 29, 2013 This report Filed by the Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited local and state police from enforcing any potential federal gun bans.

House Bill 302 was backed by gun advocates who argued the state should be ready in case Congress enacts a gun ban. They say the measure would also send a strong signal that Montana opposes gun bans.

Bullock said in his Thursday veto message that it does not appear that Congress will ban assault weapons. Bullock called the Legislature's bill "unnecessary political theater."

He added that if House Bill 302 were used as intended, it would turn police into criminals for not cooperating with federal officers, as they are required to do.

Bullock also vetoed a bill that would allow wolf hunters to use silencers on their rifles

HB 302 was passed by both houses of the legislature on Tuesday, March 26, and sent to Governor Steve Bullock's desk for his signature.

The bill, entitled "Montana Federal Semiautomatic Firearm and Large Magazine Ban Enforcement Prohibition Act", would prohibit any law enforcement officer in Montana from enforcing a federal law that  "prohibits, restricts, or requires individual licensure for ownership, possession, transfer, or use of any self-loading rifle, pistol, revolver, or shotgun, any manually loaded rifle, pistol, revolver, or shotgun, or any magazine or other ammunition feeding device"

Ravalli County Deputy Sheriff Perry Johnson said Wednesday he testified against the bill, because "if during the course of my work day I seize a banned weapon or a large capacity magazine, there's no device in this legislation that allows me to seize them, even in the course of my regular duties."  "My message to the legislature," Johnson said, "is to give me some device to seize these weapons if they are used against an officer."

Ravalli County Deputy Sheriff Perry Johnson

The bill's author, Montana Shooting Sports Association president Gary Marbut, said "there was an enforcement section in the bill that was taken out in the Senate, and then, the bill only relates to new federal gun controls enacted after January 1, 2013."

Both men referenced a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving former Ravalli County Sheriff Jay Printz, in which the court ruled that local law enforcement officials could not be compelled to carry out the Brady Act.

Montana Shooting Sports Association President Gary Marbut

A news report in the Washington Examiner on Wednesday claimed that a Democratic state legislator in Texas introduced a bill that would fire county sheriff's for defying any new federal gun control laws.


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