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Context of 'February 2011: Montana State Legislature Introduces Number of Bills by Tea Party Republicans: Would Legalize Guns in Schools, Create Militias, Remove US from UN, Nullify Federal Laws, Remove Obama’s Name from 2012 Ballot'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event February 2011: Montana State Legislature Introduces Number of Bills by Tea Party Republicans: Would Legalize Guns in Schools, Create Militias, Remove US from UN, Nullify Federal Laws, Remove Obama’s Name from 2012 Ballot. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) signs into law House Bill 246. It exempts Montana-made guns from federal regulation. The law is the latest in a long list of legislative initiatives designed to strip power from the federal government and give it to the states. “It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” Schweitzer says. The impact is limited to Montana, which currently has only a small number of specialty gun makers who make mostly replica and recreation rifles from US history, and most of their customers are out of state. However, supporters of the new law hope it will trigger a court case testing the legal basis for federal rules governing gun sales. State Representative Joel Boniek (R-MT), who sponsored the bill, said during the House debate, “What we need here is for Montana to be able to handle Montana’s business and affairs.” Many legislators among the 50 states have introduced legislation designed to push back against what they see as unconstitutional federal intrusion, often in response to the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan. Some legislators consider themselves part of, or sympathetic to, the “tenther” movement, that construes the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution as vastly restrictive of the federal government’s powers. Another Montana representative, Michael More (R-MT), recently said of the gun bill and similar legislation, “The whole goal is to awaken the people so that we can return to a properly grounded republic.” Legislatures in 15 other states are considering resolutions that attempt to take back power from the federal government. “The balance has swung far to the extreme to the empowerment of the federal government, and to the harm of the individual states,” More says. However, critics warn that the “tenther” movement and the move to give power to the states is in line with anti-government militia ideals. “When you really actually get in and look at it there is a lot of what we feel is very dangerous, very anti-government language that reads very similar to posters for the militia movement in the 1990s,” says Travis McAdam of the Montana Human Rights Network. Montana Senator Christine Kaufmann (D-MT) says, “I do think that there is a kind of renewed vehemence to this kind of right-wing rhetoric being spewed by conservative talk show hosts to rile the troops and they are using the fact that we have a Democratic, black president as one of their rallying calls.” In Montana, the states’ rights bills are being sponsored by freshman legislators who were elected as part of an effort to oust more moderate Republicans and replace them with more conservative, “tea party-friendly” representatives. Supporters of House Bill 246 now intend to find someone to challenge a regulation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) that requires federal dealership licensing to build and sell firearms; they will use that pretext to file a lawsuit that they hope will end in the Supreme Court. The Montana Shooting Sports Association, which drafted House Bill 246, has said it will raise the money to pay for any legal costs. [Associated Press, 4/16/2009] Author and columnist David Neiwert later notes, in agreement with Kaufmann, that the Montana gun bill echoes the ideas of “state sovereignty” promoted by radical-right militia groups and “constitutionalists” in the 1990s. The idea behind the bill originated with Charles Duke (R-CO), a far-right Colorado legislator from the 1990s who had close ties to the Rocky Mountain-area militias (see May 15-21, 1996). Duke is considered one of the first “tenther” proponents, and is popular with white supremacists who espouse the “Christian Identity” belief system (see 1960s and After). Neiwert will also note that the gun legislation prompts a series of segments from Fox News host Glenn Beck on the bill and how he hopes it is the first of a larger number of legislative and court initiatives that will ultimately cripple the federal government. [Crooks and Liars, 5/15/2009]

Entity Tags: Montana Shooting Sports Association, David Neiwert, Christine Kaufmann, Charles Duke, Brian Schweitzer, Glenn Beck, Michael More, Obama administration, US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Joel Boniek, US Supreme Court, Travis McAdam

Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties

Montana Tea Party protesters stage a demonstration in front of the state capitol in Helena, Montana, in a photo from March 2010.Montana Tea Party protesters stage a demonstration in front of the state capitol in Helena, Montana, in a photo from March 2010. [Source: Bozeman Daily Chronicle]The Montana state legislature, now controlled by Republicans who claim affiliation with the Tea Party, introduces bills that would mandate the following:
bullet Legalize hunting with hand-thrown spears (Senate Bill 112).
bullet Create a fully-armed militia in every Montana town (House Bill 278).
bullet Allow legislators to carry weapons in the Capitol (Senate Bill 279).
bullet Create an 11-person panel that has the authority to nullify all federal laws (House Bill 382).
bullet Allow guns in schools (House Bill 558).
bullet Eliminate the educational requirements for persons seeking the job of state superintendent of schools (HB 154).
bullet Lift the state-mandated nuclear ban for the purpose of building a nuclear reactor in the Flathead Valley (House Bill 326).
bullet Withdraw the United States of America from the United Nations (Senate Joint Resolution 2).
bullet Eliminate all state incentives for developing wind power (House Bill 244).
bullet Omit President Barack Obama’s name from the 2012 state ballot because his father was born outside of America (House Bill 205).
bullet Mandate compulsory marriage counseling for people seeking a divorce (House Bill 438).
bullet Give local sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations (Senate Bill 114).
bullet Legalize hunting with silencers (House Bill 174).
bullet Lift the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in bars, churches, and banks (House Bill 384).
bullet Eliminate the law that requires landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors (House Bill 354).
bullet Require the federal government to prove in court that the national parks were lawfully aquired (House Bill 506).
bullet Officially designate the “Code of the West” as the “Code of Montana” (Senate Bill 216).
bullet Declare that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana,” and humans are not responsible for the phenonemon (House Bill 549). [Montana Cowgirl Blog, 2/17/2011]

Entity Tags: Montana House of Representatives, Montana Senate

Timeline Tags: Civil Liberties

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer uses a branding iron to ‘veto’ a number of tea party-sponsored bills passed by the Montana legislature.Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer uses a branding iron to ‘veto’ a number of tea party-sponsored bills passed by the Montana legislature. [Source: Montana Cowgirl (.com)]Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) vetoes seven Republican-passed bills, most sponsored by tea party-affiliated legislators. Schweitzer goes farther than merely signing his veto statements with a pen. He also indulges in what the local press calls “one of the most spectacular pieces of political theater in” his six-year history as governor, using a red-hot “VETO” branding iron on wooden plaques engraved with the bill’s Senate or House number. “These bills are either frivolous, unconstitutional, or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana,” he tells a cheering crowd and a throng of reporters and television cameras. Standing somewhat outside the crowd are a small number of the Republican legislators who ushered the bills through Montana’s legislature. Some of the bills, if signed, would have eliminated same-day voter registration, allowed open-pit gold and silver mining using the environmentally hostile “cyanide leach” process, given local sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations, rewritten the definition of renewable resources, downgraded energy efficiency and code adoption requirements in building codes, gutted human-sexuality courses in Montana public schools, cut legal damages that can be sought in motor vehicle accidents, stopped the creation of a health insurance exchange, scaled back consumer protection laws, and repealed a citizen-passed medical marijuana law. Schweitzer promises to veto more bills soon, saying, “When I swore to uphold the Constitution I meant it.” [Great Falls Tribune, 4/13/2011; KTVQ-TV, 4/13/2011; Montana Cowgirl, 4/13/2011]

Entity Tags: Brian Schweitzer

Timeline Tags: Domestic Propaganda

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