Gun Owners and the Legal Use of Marijuana
I just found and read this document, which was published in January of 2014 from the Congressional Research Service. I strongly urge gun owners who are contemplating the medical pot card read this document, particularly PAGES 28 AND 29!!! The ATFE has determined that IF you have the pot card you are determined to be in violation of federal law and ARE GOING TO BE CONSIDERED A PROHIBITED POSSESSOR. This means a) you cannot purchase firearms and b) you can no longer possess (that means merely holding) the guns you may own.
The other thing I found interesting is that it is being recommended that CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE will be the preferred method of dealing with this rather than expensive federal prosecutions (see page 26).
Until the pre-emption issues are solved in court (and that will be years away) this is the way the feds appear to be going, as the various databases combine through HIPPA modifications of rules, Obamacare, timeliness of court reporting, etc.
I get asked a lot about pot. If it is legal as a medicinal use with a state issued card, the argument goes, I should have no problem with the law, right? I don’t think so…
My stance. Anyone who knows me knows I am a gun rights kind of guy and on many issues make some of our most conservative polls look like downright commies. What many people do not know about me is that I really could not care any less about marijuana or cannabis and its myriad uses (hereafter, pot) and or whether you or anyone else uses it. I suppose the libertarian streak in me doesn’t really care about what you decide to do to yourself or with yourself as long as it doesn’t harm me or my loved ones. Of course, if you get high and do something stupid, sure, I believe there are appropriate consequences – I like to call it ‘taking responsibility for one’s actions.’
Current versus future record keeping. We live in interesting times. As much as we attempt to muddle along through our daily grind, I think we are mostly unaware of how pervasive the data stream collection really is in actively accumulating everything in the background noise of our daily lives.
I recently encountered this with a client who was stymied with an FBI background check for his CCW. Despite the fact that he had successfully passed numerous times previously for other applications, he was flagged for a ‘no charges filed’ misdemeanor in 1967 in Indiana as a teenager. Despite the fact that the modern and electronic check saw this non-transgression he was unable to acquire proof that he was not convicted of this accusation (the records were flooded and lost at the county records basement in the 90’s) and is in a limbo state of denial from the state of Arizona for his CCW.
The fact is that at all levels of government, just about every record has been made to be electronic and hence it exists in a database somewhere. Now they are all chatting with each other. Of course, most people agree that this is a good thing – who wants an escaped mental patient to be able to hide ‘ahead’ of his record by fleeing to another state, right?
The consequence now means two things. First, we need to be more diligent about the custodial care of our own record stream. Second, we need to recognize that the intensity and intrusiveness of this paradigm will only intensify.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]… we will hear our Congresscritters say things like, “Of course I support common sense gun laws just like anyone else. For example, we wouldn’t want convicted lawbreakers, drug users, or mentally messed up folks running around with guns in the streets now would we?” [/quote]
The states vs feds – Supremacy Clause. We also live in an era where many states are drawing legislative lines in the sand and telling the federal government to pound said sand. Several states are moving forward with their own version of deregulation as it pertains to pot. In many forums and Facebook I read the rants of libertarians who love guns and freedom – and pot. They tend to make fantastic proclamations about how state-legal it is to enjoy the ‘medicinal uses.’ All they had to do was tell the “prescribing doc” about “depression” or “anxiety to cope” and viola! He is a legal consumer. I often wonder how many of these folks understand that the federal government has an arrow in its quiver known as the Supremacy Clause. The feds have the ‘law of the land’ hierarchy on their side and as political times change, so does the desire to enforce various law(s). With the current regime in power, many examples are easy to demonstrate that the law is now and may forever be politically defined rather than legally as they pick and choose laws they want to enforce.
As it continues violations will be conflated. After watching what happened in the last federal back-and-forth over gun laws, I became convinced that in the future we will hear our Congresscritters say things like, “Of course I support common sense gun laws just like anyone else. For example, we wouldn’t want convicted lawbreakers, drug users, or mentally messed up folks running around with guns in the streets now would we?” In fact, that’s what they were saying and the law failed in the Senate by only 6 votes just last year. Is there any one among us who does not believe that ANY infraction would NOT be conflated to mean that you were to be labelled as a “convicted lawbreaker” to a legislator or bureaucrat who does not agree with you on your views? I suggest that someday in the not too distant future there will be many labels added to our entry in the BIG DATABASE.
What will your label be? With Obamacare coming online, the VA ‘mental evaluation’ interviews, etc., I can very easily see a day when state-legal pot users are labeled in a way that said politicians will exclude and strip away the right to own, possess, or even be in proximity to any and all firearms. I can hear the cries of them being hauled away from the shooting range and thrown in federal prison for flaunting the system and being a ‘danger to society’ or some such justification. The feds will have all those FB posts and even a copy of the docs’ written notes of your own admission that you were crazy and depressed and needed a “drug” like pot.
Bottom line – Is it worth it? I have never experienced pot, so I suppose (since I don’t know what I am missing) it’s easy for me to say no. I guess I just don’t want to have to try to defend my rights and freedoms in the future over something as silly as a joint in the past. It is my suggestion to not get put on any list that labels you as a pot user. I feel that in the future that may lumped into the same column as drug user, federal felon, anarchist, danger to society, etc. and it just doesn’t seem worth it.
And one last thing – Federal Form 4473. There is a last tidbit that would affect all pot users who purchase a firearm. When you do, you must fill out a Form 4473. Question 11e on it asks you if you are or ever have used illegal drugs such as pot. If you answer yes to this question, you will not be able to complete the sale with a federally licensed dealer. If you check no and someday the Big Database discovers that you are a med pot cardholder and have bought pot, you will have provided the feds plenty of evidence that you committed a federal crime, regardless of the state law – and committed perjury on a federal form.
And that is bad juju.
FOLLOW UP ON 6-24-14
This news story was just published about 1 month after I posted this article. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct2OJQkPvB0
Commentary by Jim Liesen