Michael Watson. 2021. “Social Justice Unionism: Pushing Gun Control in Montana.” July 15, 2021. https://capitalresearch.org/article/social-justice-unionism-part-2/.
Conservative jurisdictions in liberal states generally cannot enact policy more conservative than their state’s liberalism allows, but the structure of governments has allowed liberal jurisdictions in conservative states to enact more liberal local legislation than the state would prefer. This creates a power imbalance wherein the “red” minorities in “blue” states end up with less power to enact preferred policies than the “blue” minorities in “red” states.
In recent years, “pre-emption” legislation protecting conservative red-staters from the liberalism of blue municipalities have gained steam, with labor-law pre-emption prohibiting local wage ordinances or labor regulations being a favorite of Republican legislators. But pre-emption legislation outside the economic core has also been proposed.
In 2019, the Republican legislature in Montana proposed legislation to pre-empt local governments from placing stricter regulations on firearms carry than the state had enacted. Then-Governor Steve Bullock (D) vetoed it. The legislature then passed textually identical legislation as a legislatively referred state statute, which the governor cannot veto if passed by state voters.
Despite liberal assertions that only the financial power of single-issue groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) or gun-industry groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation keeps gun control from advancing, Montana’s LR-130 vote demonstrates the opposite conclusively. An NRA political committee contributed $52,632 to support the law. Opponents of the legislation outspent the gun-rights group 31 to 1.