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Gun rights measures that include a plan to push back against potential federal restrictions on assault rifles were endorsed Thursday in the Montana House, despite criticism they may thwart law enforcement or lead to constitutional showdowns with the federal government.

The Republican-led chamber endorsed the three gun-rights bills in an initial vote, which drew most of their opposition from Democrats.

Supporters said the state needs to ban police from enforcing any future federal assault-weapons ban in the state. They argue it would undermine what would be an unconstitutional infringement on gun rights, if the federal government were to restrict such weapons.

“When it is not constitutional it is our obligation to stand up and call them into question,” said Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel.

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