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US Court to Uphold Ban on Gun Sales to Marijuana Card Holders

gavel, court, marijuana
Photo by Getty Images

BY SUDHIN THANAWALA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.

It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. The gun store refused, citing the federal rule banning the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Wilson said she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.

She challenged guidance issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2011 that said gun sellers should assume people with medical marijuana cards use the drug and not sell them firearms.

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug.

The court also said Congress had reasonably concluded that marijuana and other drug use “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, said there needs to be more consistency in the application of the Second Amendment. He planned to appeal the decision and his options include submitting the appeal to the same panel of judges that issued the ruling, a larger panel of the circuit court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We live in a world where having a medical marijuana card is enough to say you don’t get a gun, but if you’re on the no fly list your constitutional right is still protected,” he said.

The 9th Circuit also rejected other constitutional challenges to the ban that were raised by Wilson, including her argument that her gun rights were being stripped without due process.

Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the idea that marijuana users were more prone to violence is a fallacy.

“Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as other citizens,” he said.

Alex Kreit, a marijuana law expert at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, said the ruling was significant – but may not be the last time the 9th Circuit addresses medical marijuana and gun rights.

“It seems like the court did not foreclose the possibility of a challenge by actual medical marijuana users that they shouldn’t be lumped with other drug users in terms of concerns about violence,” he said.

4 Comments

4 Comments

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    September 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

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    JC Ballenger

    September 2, 2016 at 6:35 am

    This is just one more method that the government is trying to use to sidestep the constitution and disarm Americans.

  3. Avatar

    Travis1989

    September 3, 2016 at 12:09 am

    My question then is all the states whom legalized this not legally able to purchase a gun? it would fall under the same principle.. and if that happens.. u will see a lot of pissed off patriots.

  4. Avatar

    Travis1989

    September 3, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I myself, Do not have my card but I do legally purchase marijuana so under these principles it would bar me from being able to purchase a fire arm.. and yes my state is one that has legalized it.

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