Medical Marijuana Users Now Banned from Buying or Owning Firearms

Earlier this week the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana card holders do not have a 2nd amendment right to buy or own a firearm. The ruling applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, and Alaska.

How the Anti-Gun Ruling came about:

In 2011, The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) sent out a letter to all federally licensed gun sellers that prohibited “any person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substances from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.” Because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, the ATF claimed medical marijuana patients in legal states were not exempted from the rule.

Shortly after that letter went out, S. Rowan Wilson attempted to purchase a gun for self-defense in Nevada – a state where medical marijuana is legal. According to Wilson, the sale was denied on the basis that she possessed a medical marijuana card. Wilson filed a lawsuit challenging the regulation issued by the ATF, which maintains that gun sellers should assume that medical marijuana cardholders use the federally illegal substance.

Wilson said she doesn’t even use marijuana and only obtained the card as an expression of support for marijuana legalization. She argued that not only was her second amendment right being wrongfully taken from her but her 5th amendment right to due process was being ignored as well.

On Wednesday, in a 3-0 decision, the 9th Circuit agreed that 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.” The court’s ruling applied to nine Western states within the appeals court’s jurisdiction, including six that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes: California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, and Alaska.

“The panel held that plaintiff’s Second Amendment claims did not fall within the direct scope of United States v. Dugan, which held that the Second Amendment does not protect the rights of unlawful drug users to bear arms,” said the court’s ruling summary.

“… Applying intermediate scrutiny, the panel nevertheless held that the fit between the challenged provisions and the Government’s substantial interest of violence prevention was reasonable, and therefore the district court did not err by dismissing the Second Amendment claim. The panel rejected plaintiff’s claims that the challenged laws and Open Letter (issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to federal firearms licensees, which prevented plaintiff from purchasing a firearm) violated the First Amendment.”

Chaz Rainey, the attorney representing Wilson, said there needs to be more consistency in the application of the Second Amendment.

Rainey plans to appeal the decision saying,  “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.” … “We are going to litigate this, exhaust whatever remedies we have,” Rainey said. “When this (ATF) letter was issued, it was issued as part of a deliberate attempt by the (U.S. Department of Justice) to quell a political movement.”


  • todd crawford


  • Randi

    But if you just buy retail, this law does not apply! STUPIDITY!

  • CMac

    Any drugs or alcohol just don’t mix with firearms, period. I will stand by this ruling although I feel it is harsh in the fact that one can still drink but not smoke and own a gun. Seems a double edged sword in play here with the Federal stand against the legality of pot.

    • fishydude

      Following that logic it should also be illegal for anyone who drinks alcohol to own or possess a firearm.

  • fishydude

    Prohibition must end at the federal level. The original ban had nothing to do with the intoxicating effect of pot.
    It was a move meant to help big cotton by banning all hemp production in the US. If it was about drugs, then the ban would not have included non thc producing hemp plants. Hemp oil is legally imported because it has no THC. But it costs 5 to 10 times as much as it would if it was not imported.
    Hemp fiber makes very strong and durable clothing and much cheaper than cotton. Big cotton didn’t like this. They wanted cotton used in military uniforms.
    The components of MJ do indeed had medical use as well, contrary to what big guv says. Government is bought by corporate interests.

    • Teresa Banks

      People don’t know their history and believe anything that they are told instead of finding the facts out on their own. It wasn’t only the cotton/hemp issue but it is also the paper mills too. People have no idea how good of a renewable source of fiber among so many other things that hemp is. I’ve had people who refuse to accept this fact because they had family members who were addicted to marijuana and can’t comprehend that a person can be addicted to just about anything, and then that person also is an alcoholic. Yet there is nothing wrong in his opinion but a drug that has been known to help relieve many things and has been credited with curing certains cancers. Also hemp used to be a form of currency and it was mandatory to grow hemp on your property for the US government. Its disgusting how it has been so stimatized by people.

      • fishydude

        Cotton was part of it. But yes, many corporate interests were involved. One could probably write a 1000+ page book on that whole process and who benefited.
        Organized crime grew substantially from the wealth they gained through alcohol prohibition. MA got raped, and continues to be raped by the Kennedy Klan due to alcohol prohibition.
        Pot prohibition benefits many corporations, organized crime, corrupt public officials, Corrections Officers unions, police unions.. the list goes on.

        • Teee

          Isn’t that the truth. It is sad that this an cure cancer and I bet that is the most important thing of all as to why they kept it banned. the pharma’s and hospitals made so much money off of cancer and also it kept the population down too. I saw a vid where Bill Gates was saying that vaccinations would keep the population down. I just thought, realy , you seriously just said that, ffs man.I was so disgusted, and I know that in Africa, that the people I believe in Kenya threw out the Red Cross , doctors w/o boarders and one other group, because they had been pushing vaccines when the Ebola outbreak happened. and that was horrible I couldn’t believe that Obama had the nerve to state that you couldn’t catch it if someone coughed. he was so clueless as to how Ebola was spread, seriously, it was also being transmitted a good 6-9 months before they notified the US about it. A boat load of illegals that had been trying to get into Italy from new guinea i believe had been stopped and had a few patients that were positive, and actively in the advance stages of the virus. If you were to delve deeper, turns out there is an US Army post not far from Sierra Leone I think it was, and there were so many other “coincidental ” things related to the spread and stuff you know. so yeah, i couldn’t believe it when I’d seen Gates state that vaccines would be useful for population control. oh man.. but yeah, the fact that the NIH and a few others have finally admitted and said that it will kill certain types of cancer. MMJ makes the cancer turn on itself and attack the cancerous cells instead of healthy ones, which then causes the cancer to”go away”. so yeah… go figure. the best kept secret of the millennium and they try to hide it. It doesn’t work for all strains of cancer but it does work, so that is a big deal i feel. thanks for the positive comment in response to mine. 🙂 hagd!!!

        • Teee

          oh and Gates does have a patent on a strain of Ebola, i am not sure if it was the last one or another strain, but gates and WHO/CDC (not positive which one it was, one of the two n gates. go figure…)
          have a patent on it.

        • Teee

          very true. i think any and all people who have been charged and are in prison as of today, should be released, since in so many states it’s either allowed recreational or medically. you’re right though, there could be many books written and still not the full scope of the profit made off of people lives is seen.

  • Teresa Banks

    This is nothing new and has been the case for a very long time. I’d always been under the belief , that any question that is a yes on the front page of the application for a firearm, is an automatic rejection /refusal/ disqualification to making a firearm purchase. What is the difference now , compared to this being the case in Washington state for a while now? I personally do not approve of this and think that marijuana is no different from alcohol.