Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, along with Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today to reverse U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy's decision to restore federal protection for the fully recovered and thriving gray wolf populations in Idaho and Montana.
Idaho joins the state of Montana and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in appealing the ruling by Molloy, who expressed his disdain for states' 10th Amendment protections again on Thursday by finding a Montana gun rights law unconstitutional. Idaho also was involved on the side of Montana in that case, which argued for state freedom from federal gun control laws.
"We're seeing a troubling pattern of behavior here, with Judge Molloy consistently ruling in support of federal control over our land, our resources and our way of life in the West," Governor Otter said. "First he rules that our proven state management plan isn't enough to free us from the carnage that wolves are doing to our ungulate herds and livestock. Now he rejects our freedom to regulate ourselves when it comes exercising our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Enough is enough."
The Idaho Legislature passed, and Governor Otter signed, the Idaho Firearms Freedom Act last winter. It exempted from federal regulatory control any guns and gun-related paraphernalia manufactured, bought and used exclusively within Idaho's borders.
Molloy found on Thursday that Congress has the authority to control firearms under its power to regulate interstate commerce. Governor Otter said that decision is consistent with Molloy's wolf ruling, and together they highlight the lack of regard that the judge has for states' rights under the 10th Amendment.
"We're hopeful that we'll find some relief from the appellate court," he said. "But if not, we'll keep fighting to protect our right to self-determination."