In the upcoming case of D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether the Second Amendment grants the right of gun ownership to individuals or to the states for the purpose of arming their militias, the so-called "collective rights" theory.
Montana secretary of state Brad Johnson claims that a Supreme Court decision in favor of "collective rights" would violate Montana's contract of statehood with the United States.
"A collective rights decision by the court would violate the contract by which Montana entered into statehood, called the Compact With the United States and archived at Article I of the Montana Constitution," writes Johnson. "'When Montana and the United States entered into this bilateral contract in 1889, the U.S. approved the right to bear arms in the Montana Constitution, guaranteeing the right of 'any person' to bear arms, clearly an individual right.'"
Article II, Section 12 (Right to Bear Arms) of the Montana constitution reads, "The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons."
Noting that "numerous" Montana legislators agree with his position, Johnson concludes by telling the Supreme Court, "The United States would do well to keep its contractual promise to the states that the Second Amendment secures an individual right now as it did upon execution of the statehood contract."