Gun Laws and Cannabis | PotSaver
Gun Laws and Cannabis
Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine and more! These states have legalized medical and/or recreational cannabis, and they’ve recognized the healing power of it. But with the rise of legal cannabis, we are seeing a decline in second amendment rights. As states legalized cannabis, the older laws that were put in place now result in cannabis consumers not legally being allowed to purchase a gun at a retail store. But when did these laws come into play?
History of the Gun Control Act
After the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy (1963), Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968, there was the Gun Control act that was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This act banned mail order rifle and shotgun sales. It also states that felons, drug users and mentally incompetent peoples are not allowed to purchase guns legally.
Taking a Closer Look
After this in 1999, there was an addition; the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. This Brady Act now required licensed gun sellers to check the customers criminal history and background before finalizing a gun purchase. There was now a working database, constantly being updated with those not allowed to purchase a firearm.
There was an additional section added to Form 4473 (the firearms transaction record). This is the form to fill out while purchasing a firearm… It now asks the buyer if they are a user of/or addicted to marijuana, depressants, stimulants or any other narcotic drugs. If the buyer checks yes, then they are not allowed to further their purchase. If they state no to that question and that answer is untrue, there is a possibility that it could be found under federal law as perjury and dealt with as such.
“It Violates My Second Amendment Rights!”
The Second Amendment right to bear arms is important in protecting thyself and others. For various reasons, the government may not see cannabis consumers are legal and docile people. There was a case in 2011 of a woman named S. Rowan Wilson who was a Nevada native. She had successfully achieved getting a medical cannabis card for herself. Not long after that, she went browsing at a gun store and tried to purchase a firearm. She was denied for being a medical cannabis consumer.
Making a Case
Wilson felt that her Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms was being violated and filed a lawsuit in Nevada against the federal government. Eventually in 2014, a district court judge dismissed the case with the decision from the federal attorneys. But in the Judges opinion of the case, Judge Jed Rakoff had agreed that her Second Amendment Right had been infringed upon a little… but that it was for the greater good. He felt this way because the government’s main interest was to prevent more gun violence. They felt they were doing so by preventing known drug users from accessing and purchasing firearms.
The Marijuana Policy project aptly stated that, “seriously ill patients who use medical cannabis should be treated the same as patients who use any other doctor approved medication.” Her case, after taking years to move through the process, was denied abruptly and nothing had changed. Wilson was still unable to purchase a firearm.
Hostile Takeover in Hawaii?
In 2000, Hawaii accepted legal cannabis into its life by legalizing medical use of cannabis. Strangely enough, it’s first dispensary did not open until August 2017. Only a few months later in November, Honolulu medical cannabis users were told they had 30 days to voluntarily surrender all firearms or transfer ownerships. With the Department of Health’s medical marijuana database, Honolulu’s police department was able to gain access and send all residing patients letters. The letter was intended to force them to voluntarily surrender their firearms.
So far, we don’t know if there were consequences to not surrendering their firearms, but time will tell. Honolulu police department remarked that they are making it a priority in retailers and sellers for them to check the medical marijuana database during the background check. This must occur before the purchase of any firearm.
If There’s a Will, There’s a Way
In every state there are different laws, even for buying handguns. Some states require a lengthy background check, while other states allow gun shows and the selling of guns in flea markets.
Did you know a ‘Gun Show Loophole’ existed? A gun show is much like a town fair or flea market, where a seller pays for a booth or section to be a vendor of items. They set up a presentation and display their items while attendees walk around from table to table, purchasing items or window shopping. These gun shows do the same, as the vendor just pays a price for an area and sets up show. Just about anyone can do this. These vendors are unlicensed sellers, which accounts for 22% of all firearm sales. They are not required to do any background checks or even ask any additional questions about the buyer at all. Just about anyone can go into a gun show and purchase a gun with literally no questions asked.
Though the gun show loophole is being closed with more awareness of gun control necessity and fear, some states have taken action against it. They are requiring a background check at the point of sale for any and all firearms.
States Practicing This:
- District of Columbia
- New York
- Rhode Island
We are seeing more and more regulations come with the legalization of cannabis. Hopefully, as more research continues to happen and more statistics come out, less will be unknown about cannabis. The more information the public has about its effects on the consumer and their abilities to be able to consume medicine and go on doing daily activities, the better off we will be.