No New Guns for Dope Smokers, Court Rules

Do you smoke dope, perhaps even with a medical prescription? No new guns for you if you reside in their jurisdiction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit says, upholding a dismissal from the lower courts.

No New Guns for Dope Smokers, Court Rules

It all started with an “Open Letter” the ATF distributed in July 2011 stating that it was still illegal for FFLs to sell guns or ammunition to known users of marijuana, regardless of state laws decriminalizing the drug.

The ATF’s letter states:

“[A]ny person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Such persons should answer ‘yes’ to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473 . . . and you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them. Further, if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance. As such, you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered ‘no’ to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473.”

The lawsuit that spawned this ruling came from a Nevada woman, Rowan Wilson, who was denied a gun sale because she was known to possess a medical marijuana card. Wilson argued that the prohibition violated her Second Amendment right, and  also stated that she was not a user of marijuana, only a registry card owner, and therefore not an unlawful drug user.

The court disagreed, stating that the “Plaintiff did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in simultaneously holding a registry card and purchasing a firearm….”

The court goes on to say that “The burden on Wilson’s core Second Amendment right is not severe” with current law and the ATF’s letter barring “only the sale of firearms to Wilson–not her possession of firearms. Wilson could have amassed legal firearms before acquiring a registry card… and the Open Letter would not impede her right to keep her firearms or to use them to protect herself and her home. In addition, Wilson could acquire firearms and exercise her right to self-defense at any time by surrendering her registry card, thereby demonstrating to a firearms dealer that there is no reasonable cause to believe she is an unlawful drug user.”

So, the court says, it’s one or the other: you can buy guns or marijuana, and Ms. Wilson’s rights were not impeded because she could give up her registry card and buy guns, or stock up on guns before she got the card in the first place.

Isn’t it a shame the Olympics are over, because that demonstrates some amazing logical gymnastics.

What do you think about the ruling? Should federal law supersede state laws like this? Let us know in the comments.

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  • I’d wager many many more people have shot themselves/others (or other grievous negligence) while drunk than those who were stoned.

    Use of either doesn’t automatically mean anything.

    You are inherently less safe while under the influence, but that doesn’t mean you do so much you’re stupid or completely lose control.

    With that as a guideline, you shouldn’t simultaneously have a driver’s license and med-card.

    As soon as the Feds drop pot as an evil trip from the 60s, this issue will dissolve to local regs.

  • ImOffendedTreatMeSpecial

    Drugs and guns don’t mix. You make the choice, one or the other.

    • Matt Seey

      or this lady just goes to another gun store where they don’t know her and she gets what she wants.

      • ImOffendedTreatMeSpecial

        Only if she commits perjury on the 4473 and drug users are not in the prohibited database.

        • Matt Seey

          Like I said…

    • USAF_PlaneGuy

      So, anyone on prescription medication loses their rights??? You are an ass hat.

  • Mark

    No different than proclaiming a shot of Jack precludes you from owning a gun. This is big brother at his (her) worst.

    • Kevin J. Reidy

      Correct. The number one abused addictive drug is alcohol, and yes, it is a drug.

      Far worse than marijuana in multiple ways.

      The Ninth District is so anti Second Amendment they will vote against owning guns every chance they get, for any reason or no reason at all.

      Now think if that unindicted criminal Clinton gets to appoint some of the Ninth Circuit judges from that court to the USSC.

      NO ONE will have any rights under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 10th or 14th Amendments anymore. Your home will be open to search at any time, your right to defend yourself in your own home will be lost, your right to privacy (already mostly gone) will cease to exist.

      Hillary didn’t want anyone reading her official business done on government time, but she sure wants the right to know what every citizen says in private.

      Decriminalize marijuana at the state level, let people decide what to do with their own bodies and nullify federal regs over marijuana, states should then tell the feds and their armed thugs in the DEA to fuck off and actually go after those selling dangerous drugs…but that means busting some of their friends in the cartels

      • Dan

        The “war on drugs” has been one of the most expensive ways to defraud taxpayers in US history. Obama wants to assassinate the character of Deturte for stricter policies concerning the drug problem in the Philippines. In the meantime there is an opiate epidemic here in the US of epic proportions, to the point of enacting legislation to combat overdoses.

    • Matt Seey

      agreed

  • Jeff

    As it should be! Idiots that smoke for recreational use should not be allowed to drive much less own guns. I have known many habitual users in my time and they were all constantly high and not safe to drive. But put a gun in their hands?! I agree with the court. And if you use for a medical issue you should not have a gun anyway. If you are smoking for a medical issue then you are equally impaired. As for those that say it is the same as owning and using alcohol………..wrong. Responsible use of alcohol does not result in being drunk, but it takes very little weed to make you high which is impaired. It is not big brother at it’s worst, but one of the few situations Uncle Sam has to protect the masses from the morons.

    • Matt Seey

      oh yeah I forgot when the founding fathers said “right to bear arms shall not be infringed unless you smoke a plant”

      • Kenneth Aaron

        And all the prescription drugs that ‘Murkans are addicted to.

        • Matt Seey

          ya , getting blasted on oxycotins and being an alcoholic is cool because it’s state sanctioned, but smoke a plant the government didnt give you permission too and lets take your rights away LOL what a world

    • Michael

      You’re full of shit. You’re too stupid to own a gun. BTW, asshole. I am a retired military policeman, and retired civilian cop. I carry a gun every day, and I smoke pot every day. It eases the pain in my back from the bulging discs and damaged vertebrae that were a direct result of damage during my service. Pot is benign as a morning coffee, and a hell of a lot less dangerous that either alcohol or those fucking cell phones.

      • cardo47

        Vulgar language makes u look stupid….ya there are some people that need grass….as aggressive as u sound and with your health issues and you are not in the military or still a cop anymore u can put the gun away….a little xtra pot and who knows what u will do

    • Kenneth Aaron

      Silly Dinosaur. Your preconceived notions are getting in the way, and they smell bad. no drinks for you or anyone else. Alcohol has killed more people than any drug ever could. But, the dominant paradigm stays in place. My guess is that you know NOTHING about Cannabis or it’s effects.

    • Michael

      You’re full of shit. You’re too stupid to own a gun. BTW, asshole. I am a retired military policeman, and retired civilian cop. I carry a gun every day, and I smoke pot every day. It eases the pain in my back from the bulging discs and damaged vertebrae that were a direct result of damage during my service. Pot is benign as a morning coffee, and a hell of a lot less dangerous that either alcohol or those fucking cell phones.

      • Mark Maddock

        This guy is the MORON that the masses need to be protected from.

        • Michael

          Scared, shit for brains? You’re an idiot.

          • Mark Maddock

            Sorry Michael, I think you took my comment the wrong way. I wasnt talking about you, I was commenting on Jeff . He is the MORON! See my comment to him below. I agree with everything you said. I guess I wasnt to clear.

      • RVJohnMD

        Well, Just like alcohol, pot also works differently on different people. Unfortunately, my fiance` was killed on her way to my home by a stoner on 4th of July. I really wish that the stoner died as miserably as my wonderful lady had to. but, the worthless fuck is still alive….BUMMER!

      • USAF_PlaneGuy

        Jeff… you are a self-righteous and incredibly IGNORANT jerk. You say “if you use for a medical issue you should not have a gun anyway.” So, in your mind, only a person in PERFECT HEALTH can own a firearm.

        What about people who take prescription drugs, such as pain med, SSRI antidepressants, etc? All of these medications are MUCH more dangerous than cannabis. Why punish somebody for choosing a natural product that has far fewer side-effects (not to mention non-addictive)?

        Additionally NOT ALL MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS PSYCHOACTIVE! Growers have been developing strains that are high in Cannabidiol (CBD) and very low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that makes a person “high” (although it DOES have medical uses), CBD does NOT make you high. In fact, CBD counteracts the high of THC, so it is not desirable for stoners. CBD has extremely powerful anti-inflammatory qualities and is an extremely powerful pain killer.

        Why should a person be denied their CONSTITUTIONAL rights because they are trying to treat an injury or illness? PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS!

    • Jerry Harmon

      Ya know its stupid to say you cant have a gun if you smoke but its ok if you drink , the laws should be the same for pot and drinks , if your carring a fire arm you cant smoke or drink easy as that . and yes thats already a law DAAAAAA . And jeff it depends on the person if its the same between smoking and drinking , some have a single drink and there drunk , And since you want Uncle Sam to protect you from morons , maybe most people shouldnt be allowed to drive because there not safe drivers or maybe I think there unsafe so they cant drive any more .
      Any way Jeff its already against the law to be under the influence and carry a fire arm

    • “And if you use for a medical issue you should not have a gun anyway. If
      you are smoking for a medical issue then you are equally impaired.”

      How is using marijuana for medicinal purposes any different from using oxycodone, percoset, or any other narcotic, when prescribed/recommended by a doctor? Are you saying that anybody who takes muscle relaxants or pain-killers should also be prohibited from owning or purchasing firearms?

      • Michael

        If you have a medical issue, you should be denied your constitutional rights? You’re an idiot.

        • *I* didn’t say that. “Jeff” (to whom I was replying) did.

          No sense calling me an idiot; it adds nothing to the discussion.

    • Mark Maddock

      It must be easy to maintain a mind so small. You really are an idiot Jeff. I hope Uncle Sam Protects The masses (2/3 the population think medical marijauna should be legal, and that is probably a low number) from Morons like you.! You are obviously uninformed of the medical benefits this plant has to offer. And if you think someone who drinks alcohol (I am assuming you) is more responsible with a gun, then I just think you just know nothing at all, and your opinion or anything you say is VALUELESS. Alcohol is much more inebriating than marijauna, especially to those who use it often. Since you either have a very small mind or there is nothing there at all. I just wanted to tell you that INEBRIATED means BUZZED……. You poor thing .

    • Jeremy Reynolds

      Wrong. Someone who has smoked for 50 years is going to need considerably more dope to become impaired. To a lesser extent this applies to alcohol as well. So saying that just because someone took one pull off a joint means they are impaired is just ignorant.

      • Just because someone can handle more doesn’t mean that aren’t impaired. We really don’t need dopers or alkies behind the wheel. Lots of people have mowed people down that thought they were perfectly ok to drive.

  • Michael

    This is why medical marijuana cards are a violation of your rights. Marijuana should be treated like any other prescription drug. When a state issues a card, it becomes a public record. Your medical issues are supposed to be private. Of course, being honest of the form is what screwed this woman. I know it’s illegal to lie on the form, but the chances of being caught are zero.

    • Glen Schlitz

      You’ve absolutely nailed it, but neither the alcohol or marijuana industry want anything to do with being regulated as prescription drugs as they rightly should.

  • Henry Simpson

    No guns for Cigarette smokers or those that inbibe. How about sex addicts, avid bird watchers and classic car owners. Especially the classic car owners. They are the most dangerous of all. All those old cars spewing carbon emissions.
    It is time for states to really read the 10th Amendment and get together and tell the Federal government that they are not authorized to control hemp.

    • Kenneth Aaron

      You conveniently left out the worst drug of all. The Poison Alcohol.

      • G50AE

        I believe the term you are looking for is “the demon rum”.

    • Chris

      No Guns for anybody who has been into a Bar the last 3 days either. How about No Guns for Mormons because some people consider them ‘Weird’?

  • cia1984

    Alcohol is much worse than Cannabis. If a person can’t smoke Cannabis and own firearms, then neither should anyone who drinks alcohol, or takes any type of mind-effecting drug, whether prescribed or not. Frankly, a perfson should be barred from ever being President if they have ever used Cannabis in any form.

  • Bdpenn

    Again, your debateing the wrong issue. What the court is doing is picking and choosing who to apply the law against. Marijuana is illegal according to federal law. In this case the court chose an individual( create precedence) to apply the law to instead of the state who is actually the larger offender.
    This telling evidence shows that our judicial system is corrupt and discriminatory!
    It’s not about marijuana vs alcohol. It’s about our judicial system run amuck off the rails using the system to the lefts advantage to destroy our second amendment rights!!
    VOTE WISELY!!
    The only way to fix the problem is to seat pro second amendment judges to the Supreme Court.

  • Kenneth Aaron

    Silly as Sh*t….

    Alcohol loosens inhibitions like nothing else. Pot not really at all. This idea is just more Legislative work against Marijuana Users. Not at all based on fact, or reasonable premises. That’s America. Punitive Abusive parenting for the masses. Like a bad father that we ALL have.

    • Sure pot loosens inhibition.

  • Lot of questions and issues in this article, and the comments….

    First off – and I know I’m going to take some flak for this – the ruling is correct. Federal law prohibits marijuana users from purchasing firearms. It’s right there on the form 4473, too. This is a case that never should have been brought because the outcome was 100% certain.

    That said, I don’t believe that casual marijuana use poses any greater risk to the population than casual alcohol use. We can debate on whether the law *should* prohibit casual users from purchasing firearms and work to change the law, but as it stands right now, marijuana users are “prohibited persons.”

    Should federal law override state law? Irrelevant in this case. As long as the background checks on firearm purchases go through the federal NICS system, federal law applies, and marijuana is still illegal under federal law. We can’t reasonably expect to fall back on state law when we’re using a federal system created under federal law. The feds have jurisdiction; claiming state law where federal law applies is like an Idaho driver getting ticketed for speeding in Oregon (where the highway limit is 65 mph), and arguing that the ticket should be tossed because the highway limit is 75 in Idaho. That’s not how this works – you’re responsible for following the laws in the jurisdiction you’re in, and background checks on gun purchases are run by the feds.

    We basically have two solutions: disband the federal NICS system and make states independently responsible for background checks on firearm purchases (IOW, remove the feds’ jurisdiction so that state laws on marijuana and firearms are the only laws that apply), or de-list marijuana and marijuana-derived products as prohibiting drugs under federal law. Either one works, but I predict the latter will be much easier than the former.

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  • Dr Duke (not David)

    Yet another example of why we need to repeal the Harrison act and all the anti drug BS that followed it.
    I know it will never happen but that is what should happen.
    I would rather see everything legalized and taxed. If you want to regulate it, set up labeling and purity standards. In the 1800s you could order cocaine from the Sears catalog and yet the streets were not full of drug crazed Zombies. I would venture to say Baltimore was much safer.

  • DGiles

    Contrary to popular belief and to some of the comments here, marijuana obviously does inhibit both judgement and the decision- making process, especially destroying the user’s ability to make and stick by any kind of decisions, especially moral ones. I have observed that it is constantly being used by unscrupulous men to erode women’s will-power, for example. Potheads are well- known for their inability to make any kind of decision or remain committed to showing up on time for work, or snything else.
    All of this clearly demonstrates that both the federal law and the 9th circuit’s decision in this case are both justified and necessary.
    The fact that the ridiculous 9th circuit has found one more group of people to target for the loss of their second-amendment rights is a separate issue.

  • Chris

    It’s a bunch of crap and I urge the NRA (of which I’m a member) to stand up for ALL Gun Owners, as long as they aren’t Dangerous, Violent or Felons (Convicted). The Federal Government is OUT OF CONTROL and the Federal War on Marijuana has nearly Bankrupted this Nation and has made Criminals of those who are otherwise Law Abiding and Productive Citizens of our Society.

    Also, please point where in Our Founding Documents it specifically points to either Marijuana being prohibited by our Constitution or more specifically, the portion of the 2nd Amendment which states that a Citizen will be denied this Constitutional Right through either possession of Marijuana, smoking of Marijuana or the Use Marijuana for Medical Purposes. Sorry but it’s time for some SERIOUS Citizen Push-Back against this nearly Unstoppable Tide of Federal Government Tyranny. In other words, it’s time to Shrink the Federal Government and put it back into it’s Box.

    The Feds are wasting too much time and money Meddling in and trying to Circumvent the Laws of the Individual States. It’s time for the States which have Legalized Marijuana in one form or another, to pass a State Law Criminalizing any attempts by Federal Officers to Detain, Arrest or Interfere with the Natural or Constitutional Rights of any Citizen living within those State Borders and who is engaged in an Activity made Legal by their State of Residence…in this case, Legalized Marijuana.

  • charles_1

    I don’t want anyone using mind altering drugs to have firearms.

  • Gary Lancaster

    It’s always about control and nothing else

  • This one is worse than that one, that one is worse than this one, mary jane is as harmless as water, etc. You’re all missing a point and that is addiction is the real problem and laws don’t and can’t address it, correct it or make it better in any way. Cheech and Chong had a bit that was funny yet true: “I used to be messed up on drugs, now I am messed up on the lord”. People that are addicts will always be addicts, at least with how we deal with it now. Should someone that smokes pot be prohibited from owning firearms? No more than anyone else, as long as their behavior doesn’t warrant it, meaning they act irresponsibly when using. FWIW, I can’t carry legally and drink alcohol. Should the same apply there with marijuana? Probably, yes. Should they be proscribed from gun ownership? No, not unless they’ve demonstrated behavior that makes them a danger to others directly.

  • Mr Porter

    I don’t smoke. But so many people are on prescription drugs, alcohol, etc and they have no issue allowing them to have firearms. Marijuana should be no different. I’d MUCH rather deal with a pot smoker than an alcoholic any day! Just ask Mothers against drug driving, etc!

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