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EXCLUSIVE: Reefer Madness

By David Codrea

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received a number of inquiries regarding the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes’ and its applicability to Federal firearms laws,” Arthur Herbert, Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services wrote in a Sept. 21, 2011 “OPEN LETTER TO ALL FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEES.”

Why the inquiries?

“A number of States have passed legislation allowing under State law the use or possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes,” Herbert explained. “During a firearms transaction, a potential transferee may advise you that he or she is a user of medical marijuana, or present a medical marijuana card as identification or proof of residency.”

And if he or she does? That’s where Federal law comes in. US Code classifies anyone who is an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled…from shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition… and there are no exceptions in Federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by State law.”

Further, Herbert advises, it is “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.”

What this means is such persons are required to answer “yes” on ATF Form 4473 to the question “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” even if their state law says they are not. And if the dealer is aware that “a potential transferee” has a card “authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then [they] … may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered ‘no’.”

Which opens the door to questions such as what if a person is already a gun owner before obtaining a medical marijuana card? Will they automatically become felons if they don’t turn them in first? What if the person is a concealed carry permit holder?

It leads to other questions such as are there any studies showing state-sanctioned marijuana users pose a greater risk for violence, criminality or negligent gun use than non-users? Are they more or less dangerous than alcohol abusers? How about <I>legal<I> users of controlled substances that also impair patients?

And why the silence from the anti-defense lobby, always screaming about “home rule” when local gun laws are relaxed by higher authorities? Medical marijuana may be controversial, with some claiming it’s just a way for potheads to game the system and others swearing it’s indispensible in managing the agony of cancer, but regardless, affected states have lawfully enacted their statutes.

Which is why “gun lobby” silence on this is troubling. Friend, colleague and senior editor of Gun Week Dave Workman explained why to The Great Falls Tribune: “The media—and the gun prohibitionist lobby in particular—would say the gun lobby wants to arm drug addicts.”

He’s right. But they’re going to attack us whatever we do.

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  1. The goal is, was and always will be to totally disarm the average person, but especially the rational, independent person.

    None of this has any other purpose. It’s not about safety. It’s about control.

  2. GEORGEWBOAT says:

    THE ANTI GUN AGENDA IS TO REMOVE ALL GUBS FROM THE POPULATION
    EXCEPT THE ELITE
    THEN THAY CAN ELININATE!!!
    FREE SPEACH
    THE RITE TO VOTE, IF THEY ALLOW ELECTIONS
    THE SECOND ADMENNDMENT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADMENDMENT IN THE CONSTATUTION, WITHOUT IT WE CANNOT PROTECT THE 1ST AND ALL OTHER ADMENDMENTS
    GUN OWNERSHIP INSURES THE RITE TO VOTE AND TO DISCUSS WHAT AND WHO TO VOTE FOR!
    ANYONE ANTI GUN IS A MORAN, NOT WANTING ONE IN YOUR HOME IS FINE BUT NOT WANTING ONE IN YOUR NEIGHBORS IS JUST PLAIN STUPID

  3. “Which is why “gun lobby” silence on this is troubling. ”

    Their silence is because this is a no-win situation for them. Attempting to defend illegal drug usage in the current political climate is a battle that is impossible to win and they would have to spend money and political capitol to fight a fight that they could not win and could hurt their primary purpose by draining their limited resources.

    JMHO & as always ICBW

    NukemJim

  4. This is all about adding weapons charges to dispensary raids.

  5. W W Woodward says:

    Art VI sec 2: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; … shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”

    I challenge anyone to locate in the Constitution even a single phrase that was ratified AFTER the 2nd Amendment, with the exception of Amendment XVIII repealed by Amendment XXI, authorizing the restriction of the use of ANY substance or altering the wording of the 2nd Amendment.

    [W3]

  6. My wife and I have a lot of discussions while in our vehicle going somewhere. It’s the best time for discussions. The other day, after having been saturated with all the Fast&Furious and Gunwalker and other news items about the cartels and the guns and the drugs, we were wondering if this country, and the world for that matter, has lost sight of the original reasons for banning all these “controlled substances”. Watching Ken Burns’ “Prohibition” on PBS pointed out to us that banning something like alcohol, drugs, guns, coal burning plants, or whatever, IS ALWAYS DONE FOR OUR OWN GOOD. The cops will be virtually merciless when they arrest somebody for drugs or guns, even to the point of killing them. I believe the fact that all the things that have become contraband are merely for the purpose of having a means to control us, and to severely punish us for crossing some line or other. There is nothing that anyone can do to force somebody to do something “for their own good”. When will the sheeple and our masters in government wake up to the futility of these policies. We can only hope soon. It’s tearing at our fabric and making cowards and fearful people out of us.

  7. So now they’ve figured out a way to stop 100% law abiding citizens from buying guns. The worst part is that by definition medical marijuana users A) Own a controlled, highly valuable, and difficult to track substance, making them prime targets for mugging and burglary, and B) are generally too ill or weak to defend themselves and their property without the use of firearms. Good job government… you’ve effectively disarmed the people that need the most protection. Whats next? How about no guns for single mothers, or maybe no guns for people who live in high crime neighborhoods.

  8. Just because the Doctor wrote me a Prescription, does not mean that I’m taking the drug.

    Having a “Get-Out-of-Gaol-Free” Concealed Marijuana Card, does not prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I’m using Marijuana.

    I may have been eligible for the card, applied for and Received my Marijuana Prescription, in anticipation, that at some point that I’d “need” it.–Just one for instance.

    That is like saying that because I have a Carry permit that I’m Armed–its a fair bet, but not a sure thing.

    I tire of the never ending arguments over whether Guns have a Net Social Utility or Not.

    Rights do not stand hostage to Net Social Utility.

    If a Moderate increase in Gun Laws would somehow Stop all Violence on Earth, it still would not Morally justify Gun Control.

    As for “For your own Good”

    Come Judgement Day, no motive will be considered as base as “But it was for his own Good.”

    And those who forced people to do things that absolutely were in their best interest should get a trifle worse Punishment than those who forced Folks to do things that they mistakenly thought was for their own good.

    …..RVM45

  9. In my state the voters voted to modify the state constitution to give people the right to access of medical marijuana. We also have the protection of the second amendment. It would seem to me that if the atf tried to actually take guns they would have lawsuits on their hands for violating state and federal constitutional guarantees.
    On a second note I studied violence and controlled substances in collage. During this I found gun owning marijuana users are the last thing society needs to worry about. They have the lowest rates of domestic violence, murder, sex crimes, ect compared to the worst: alcohol, which also happens to be perfectly legal.

  10. Gotta tell you, folks, that you are all correct. Having been fighting this trend in Canada since 1969 and watching how long it took for firearms owners to realize that, no matter how the ‘restriction,’ or whatever it might be called, is worded, the intent is the same — absoloute banning of all privately ownerd firearms. I have never attempted to argue the issue on that point, but rather challenged anyone who purported that position as ‘reasonable’ to demonstrate beyond a REASONED argument that my position was socially/morally/ethically or historically incorrect. That never happened because, to do so, they would eventually have to admit they simply wanted no one but the military and the police to have access to firearms and, by definition, they are admitting they support a police state society. I used to toss out the point that there are two types of societies, ‘orderly’ and ‘ordered.’ Two letters different, but two worlds apart. Best of luck in your endeavours.

  11. It all hinges on this line:
    “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled”

    Well, if your State ALLOWS medical marijuana use then it is neither “unlawful” nor are you “addicted to” any controlled substance any more than you are an “unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled” substance if you are prescribed morphine by your doctor.

    Both are controlled substances. Both are legal for your doctor to prescribe in your State. As long as you are within your State the Feds have no right to say different.

  12. Paul Davidson says:

    Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out an ATF form 4473, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/A2C9Cn. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related ATF forms that you might find useful.

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