Federal regulations to blame for Nevada gun denial over pot license

The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to deny a Nevada woman’s right to choose which gun to buy because of her status as a medical marijuana card holder is just ridiculous. Jazz looked at this yesterday and admitted he didn’t have an answer. I do…the FDA needs to get rid of the “Schedule I” classification for marijuana today. It’s not going to happen, obviously, but it’s something the federal government is eventually going to have to consider. It’s completely possible the FDA will reconsider their ruling in the next few years, but it’s no guarantee. The federal government seems hellbent on making sure marijuana stays illegal, and damn any state which wants to legalize it. Even if President Barack Obama (and whichever president follows him) keeps commuting the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders, the rest of the bureaucracy stays in place.

There’s an even crazier part to this case: Rowan Wilson didn’t even use marijuana. That’s right, she may have had a card, but she never smoked the drug (major hat tip to Reason’s Jacob Sullum and Brian Doherty for that nugget of information). But the main reason why the gun dealer said, “No,” to the weapon itself has to do with a 2011 letter by the ATF (emphasis original).

As you know, Federal law, 18 U.S. C 922(g)(3), prohibits any person who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined by section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802))” from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition. Marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I controlled substance, and there are no exceptions in Federal la, 18 U.S. C. 922(d)(3), makes it unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. As provided by 27 C.F.R. 479.11, “an inference of current use may be drawn from evidence of a recent use or possession of a controlled substance or a pattern of use or possession that reasonably covers the present time.”

Therefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana used for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a control substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

The ATF’s letter also says if someone holds a medical marijuana card they are to be considered an unlawful user of a controlled substance, and gun shops are prohibited from selling any weapons to them. Way to violate due process and the right to bear arms, federal government! This regulation put in place by the ATF shows why unelected bureaucrats are a massive problem because they can do this rule without anyone really questioning them. It also shows the powerful sway federal agencies have on a variety of industries, including gun dealerships, with all their various forms and hoops to jump through. The regulation also blasts Democrat claims regarding “enhanced background checks,” out of the water because it shows how hard it is to “legally” buy a gun. I’m pretty sure most medical marijuana users aren’t going down to the corner of a seedy neighborhood to get a cheap 9mm and some ammo.

Final thought/conspiracy theory idea: If the federal government really wanted to keep people from buying guns, they’d tell gun shop owners they couldn’t sell to anyone in states where marijuana is legal. The aforementioned Jacob Sullum appears to agree at Reason:

Still, dodging the government’s arbitrary restrictions on Second Amendment rights is legally perilous. A prohibited person commits a felony by owning a gun, buying a gun, or lying on Form 4473. So does anyone who sells or lends him a gun if he has reason to know the recipient is not allowed to have one. The likelihood that your average pot smoker will be arrested for committing these felonies is currently remote, since there is no central database of illegal drug users and it is impossible to monitor transactions that don’t go through licensed dealers. But if politicians like Hillary Clinton have their way, the database of people who are legally disqualified from owning guns will be “improved” (e.g., by adding the names of federal employees or job applicants who fail drug tests), and every transaction will require a form and a background check. So even though Clinton says pot smokers don’t belong in prison, that is where she wants to send them if they dare to exercise their constitutional rights.

I’m curious if this will become an issue in one of the debates, and how all candidates will address this. Whichever ones say, “Oh this ruling was correct because pot is awful, blah blah blah,” should be written off as not fit for the White House.

via Richmond, CA Police
Image via Richmond, CA Police
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