1 Sept 16
Comments on the latest 9th Circuit decision on marijuana and firearms purchases, paraphrased from several lawyer friends, and me:
I’ll preface comments by saying that I’ve personally never used marijuana, nor any other illegal drug, at any time in my life. In addition, I have never consumed ethyl alcohol.
Nor, do I have the benefit of a law-school education.
Accordingly, some may find fault with the following:
The notorious Federal Appeals Court, 9th Circuit, has just ruled that the mere possession of a medical marijuana authorization card, properly issued by a state government, can be used by ATF to disqualify an otherwise legal firearms purchase and thus disenfranchise an, in all other ways law-abiding citizen, denying him his Second Amendment rights. Actual marijuana use by the individual is not even the issue. Your Constitutional rights are now withdrawn, simply because you MIGHT use marijuana, legally (at least according to state law)!
When state permission to use any particular medication becomes a legal basis for denying a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, why not universally apply the same restriction to anyone who has in his possession a “normal” prescription for an opioid, diazepam, or any other potentially impairing, or consciousness-altering, drug?
What about ethyl alcohol? Its consciousness-altering/impairing properties are beyond dispute. Yet, every American over the age of twenty-one has an “implied prescription” to consume ethyl alcohol, in any amount, and for any reason. Should all potential ethyl-alcohol consumers (which includes nearly all adults) be automatically denied a driver’s license? The fact that you don’t drink doesn’t matter. It only matters that your are AUTHORIZED to drink!
“You may fill this prescription,” and
“You are in possession of a firearm while significantly chemically impaired,”
there is a chasm!
Let’s not lose track of the real issue. Let’s not open a can or worms by drawing “lines in the sand,” based solely on prejudice against a single substance.
Why would the mere possession of a prescription for any medicine, absent any other disqualifying evidence, in and of itself, represent a legitimate basis for denial of Second Amendment rights, or of any right? If that is Constitutional, it will predictably be used as a convenient pretext to permanently disarmed all of us!
On ATF forms, putting a check-mark in the box that asks if you are “addicted to a drug” has for decades represented an automatic veto for legal gun purchases.
However, “addiction” is a slippery term, with no universally-agreed-upon definition, and until now, no particular drug has ever been singled-put for presumed association with villainy . In fact, the form never even asks if the “drug” involved is legal or illegal!
A chronic pain patient may be on prescribed opiates for years, developing a tolerance that permits normal functioning. Unmedicated, he would be overcome with pain and thus “impaired.”
Should they all be automatically disenfranchised?
Technically, they are “addicted” to opiates, but not impaired.
Addiction? Yes. Impairment? Likely not for the chronic pain patient. Addiction is a “side-effect” of the drug which, while regrettable, cannot be avoided. Nor can it be ignored, but it has little bearing on whether or not the person can safely possess a firearm.
Some people, owing to demonstrated criminal behavior, are identifiable as unfit to possess firearms. No dispute there! However, the classification must have a credible factual bases.
This decision has no factual basis, and simply does not make sense.
Too much government? I’m shocked!
“Responsible, adult behavior is legal. Irresponsible, adult behavior is illegal?”
We need to rely upon logic, credible evidence, and our Constitution, not emotional hysteria, unsupportable fads, and agenda-driven politics.
Legally, there is a word for all this.
The Latin is “bullshit!”