8 Feb 23
New Federal Court Ruling, in the wake of Bruen!
Last week, a federal judge in OK ruled that federal law prohibiting marijuana users from legally acquiring and owning guns is unconstitutional, insisting that this federal regulation is inconsistent with our nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation (relying on guidance from last year’s Supreme Court’s Bruen Decision)
Marijuana is heavily regulated under federal law, as are many other drugs that are deemed “harmful”
Yet, most states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a growing number of states have also legalized it for “recreational purposes.” This is all in direct contradiction with unchanged federal law on the same subject. In those permissive states, federal law is still ostensibly in place, but not enforced (although it could be, without warning).
This obvious contradiction has confused many.
“Which of these contradictory laws am I supposed to obey?” ask more than a few, including me!
However, this conspicuous contradiction has not confused ATF! In order to purchase a gun at retail, marijuana-users must lie on the federal form (4473). That is a federal offense, and ATF is there to investigate, and US Attorneys are there to prosecute. That’s what they get paid to do!
Accordingly, I’ve always advised students that when they use marijuana (in any form, in any amount, in any state, and for any purpose) to forget about being gun-owners, as they cannot acquire any gun without violating federal law and thus invite federal prosecution, even though the state in which they live, as well as the local prosecutor, may not care one way or the other.
In light of last week’s ruling, however, I’m now not sure what to tell students!
Last week’s decision will likely make its way before our Supreme Court, and they may have something to say about it. On the other hand, they may not! They may well let this ruling stand as it is, without comment.
Assuming this decision does stand, ATF will have to modify their 4473 form, and all previous versions will become instantly obsolete. In fact, they may all be obsolete now!
On the medical side, I’m far from an expert on the subject of marijuana. However, as a personal decision I don’t use it and never have, as I’m persuaded (at least from what little I do know) exposure is not in my best interest.
Most of my physician students are of the opinion that marijuana is harmful and has no health benefits. But, other doctors disagree, and being a non-expert I’m currently undecided, although, as noted, I have decided that I do not want any exposure to marijuana personally.
We could probably have a similar conversation about ethyl alcohol, although alcoholic beverages are legal to buy and consume (assuming you’re over twenty-one) in all fifty states (since 1933), and federal law has never declared alcohol consumption incompatible with legal gun ownership.
Currently, even a DUI conviction will not bounce a NICS check. Conversely, any use of marijuana will!
On the political side, it strikes me that gun-hating leftists have adopted a baneful strategy of progressively eliminating entire swaths of the US population from eligibility for gun ownership.
For example, we might agree that the “mentally ill” should be prevented from owning guns. Yet, as the “rule” is ultimately written, even talking with a marriage counselor suddenly sweeps you into the “prohibited category,” forever!
Their hope is, of course, to progressively reduce the percentage of the population that is (by their definition) “perfect enough” to legally own guns to such a small number, that their votes will be insignificant.
That “perfect-enough group” will, of course, exclude many police officers and most politicians, but less-than-honest politicians will quietly exempt themselves from having to comply with their own laws.
They always do!
I suspect this Federal Judge in OK plainly saw through this pernicious Marxist hypocrisy and decided that politicians shouldn’t be allowed to withhold Constitutional Rights from entire swaths of the population, while exempting themselves, simply because those particular citizens don’t endorse a specific (leftist) political agenda and thus cannot be counted upon for patronage.
For that reason, I believe this judge’s ruling was correct!
As we unhappily experienced during Prohibition (1920-1933), sometimes the “cure” is far worse than the “disease!”