Right to Bear Arms Not Part of the Restoration of Rights for Montana Felons

It began in 1983 when Frank Van der hule, faced with charges of sex assault and 4 separate counts of intercourse with no consent, was convicted and became a felon. His sentence was 25 years, but he attained release in 1996. Then, in 2003, he submitted for a concealed carry permit, but was denied when a background check revealed his felonious past, which precludes his attaining of a concealed permit in Montana and disallows his ownership of a firearm according to federal law.

He went on to file a complaint at the Federal level alleging that his denial was erroneous. He posited that a law in Montana should have reinstated his full rights of citizenship after he completed his sentence. The judgment in that case, in 2007, upheld the prohibition, though the judge did request of the Supreme Court of Montana to provide clarification of the firearm issue with regards to the state law to restores rights to felons. In 2009, the Montana SC affirmed the prohibition.

While the SC was arriving at the decision, Van der hule had altered his complaint and the courts once again upheld the prohibition.

Overwhelmingly, it has been decided and stated that felonious convictions do constitute a fair exception to the restoration of rights in Montana and that regardless of state law, federal law prevents ownership of a firearm by felons and state law does not supersede that.