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Montana Politics

Legal Scholar Gary Marbut Defends His Terrible Gun Law.

Gary Marbut couldn’t be more wrong about guns. His advocacy for unfettered access to dangerous weapons in almost every conceivable location across the state, from kindgergarten classrooms to bars, has helped lead the Montana Legislature to pass laws that have dramatically reduced the safety of Montanans and helped him turn a profit by exploiting the fears of craven legislators who lack the courage to stand up to the extremism of the gun nut lobby.

And that’s why the media loves interviewing him.

In a story from Montana Public Radio about the tragic Markus Karma shooting in Missoula, Missoula Representative Ellie Boldman-Hill discussed the need to repeal the ill-conceived revision to the state’s Castle Doctrine law in 2009.

In response, Marbut offered a rebuttal that reflects his condescension for legislators who disagree with his absolutist views.

“I would say she needs to learn about the law,” said Marbut. “The comments that I have seen her make indicate to me that she’s doing the same thing that Mr. Kaarma did. She’s shooting in the dark and has no clue what she wants to accomplish.”

Of course, Marbut’s is the one who needs a bit more understanding of the law, as evidenced by the fact that his expansion of the Castle Doctrine was opposed by law enforcement across the board in Montana, including the

  • Montana Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Montana Police Protective Association
  • Montana County Attorney’s Association
  • Montana Sheriff’s and Peace Officers Association.

Their reasoning? That the expansion would encourage gun violence and make prosecution of offenders more difficult. And their fears have absolutely been proven correct, as people have become more willing to use guns to resolve disputes and even kill enemies, knowing that county prosecutors will face a difficult challenge convicting those who claim self-defense.

And when discussing knowledge of the law, let’s not forget Marbut’s laughable efforts to oveturn federal gun laws to him to sell his little Buckaroo rifle to children here in Montana. The most pro-gun Supreme Court in American history refused to hear his appeal, despite a letter warning that failure to do so could lead to a second Civil War. No, really.

From Marbut’s letter to Chief Justice Roberts  a letter that must have amused the good people of the Court to no end:

President John F. Kennedy informed us, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” MSSA v. Holder is our best, and could be the last or near last, attempt at the peaceful revolution we’d all emphatically prefer to the alternative Kennedy asserted. It could well be thatMSSA v. Holder marks an historical cusp similar to that served up to SCOTUS in Scott v. Sandford. For any non-attorneys reading this, Scott v. Sandford is often known as the “Dred Scott decision,” a Supreme Court decision thought by many historians to have been the spark that set off the Civil War, a decision that effectively upheld the institution of slavery…. The time will come very soon when the Kennedy equation is likely to tip decisively in one direction or the other. I dearly hope that SCOTUS will avail itself of MSSA v. Holder to shepherd in the much preferred peaceful revolution in President Kennedy’s equation. The alternative is too dire to contemplate, but remains clearly potential.

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Mr. Marbut, in an inspired fit of rhetoric, compared his laughable lawsuit to one of the most important Court decisions in American history, and warned the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court that ruling against Marbut could lead to a violent revolution.

Despite my mockery of Mr. Marbut, I do understand that the Montana media does need to report his views on gun ownership, given that he functionally owns most of the Republicans in the Legislature. But the same media should probably provide some context when citing Mr. Marbut, who’s not just the gun law expert he proclaims himself to be; he’s also a loon who smears law enforcement officers  a callous thug who exploits gun tragedies, and the victim of delusions of grandeur so powerful that he believes the Supreme Court might have caused a second American Civil War when it failed to hear his laughable case.

Despite the danger of armed insurrection, led by General Yosemite Marbut, Representative Boldman-Hill is correct: it’s time to change Montana’s laws and stop giving the presumption of innocence to those who use guns to resolve conflicts where no gun was, or could have been, necessary.


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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Hmm. Sumthin’ real WRONG with a dude like Gayr Marsbutt when guns become the ONLY thing in his life! Methinks ol’ Marsbutt doth protest too much! And fondle his gun too much! Ol’ Gayr, with his bizarre fascination/fixation with guns, is obviously overcompensating for sumthin’! Far be it from me to ejaculate just what that might be!!! But this Marsbutt dude is one very, very strange indeeevidual!

    I like guns probably more than the next guy. I’m a collector, hunter, and shooter. Grew up that way. But this Marbutt dude fixates on playin’ with his gun to see how many times it shoots! Weird, just real weird. His fifteen minutes of fame vanished looong ago. Now, he’s just livin’ on NRA Viagra! He gives all us gun nuts a bad name! And that gets real old. Ol’ Gayr needs to get a life, a REAL life! HEY, I won’t ask, and he don’t need to tell. But by GOD a woman now and then sure makes a dude realize what his GUN’S for!

    I grew up with guns, and as an educated person, I love to read the historical account and perspective of guns. Give me a time period in this country, and I’ll explain to you just how and what guns were being used at that time and to what effect. Guns played an important role in the formation of our country. But ferrchrissakes, Marsbutt seems MARRIED to them! And that’s just real sad. Dude needs to get hisself a woman! HEY, try it. You just might like it, Gayr!

  • and for the rest of the story,
    Listen to Gary Marbut on KUFM.
    Listen carefuly to his “shot in the dark” critique of Markus Kaarma.

    Watch Kaarma’s five attorneys and two from Germany.

  • You have to give Marbut credit for one thing: keeping his name in front of the media time-after-time after-time … He just filed another complaint with the commissioner of political practices concerning his loss to Kimberly Dudik in the House District 94 race; this on the heels of a complaint saying Dudick’s Democratic donkey on her literature looked more like a bucking horse (thrown out by the commissioner) and also a lawsuit demanding a recount (pending).

    Yup, Marbut knows how to generate headlines. The irony today is the Missoulian’s front page trial coverage of Markus Kaarma and his shooting of foreign exchange student Diren Dede. Kaarma is using the Castle Doctrine as a defense. The story below the the fold is about Gary Marbut’s complaint against Dudik.

    Marbut wrote (borrowed?) the Castle Doctrine language adopted by the legislature.

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