MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS AND FIREARMS
Q: Can a gun dealer refuse to sell a firearm or ammunition to a medical marijuana card holder?
Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld federal guidance directing gun dealers to not sell ammunition or firearms to Medical Marijuana Patients. In Wilson v. Lynch, dated August 31, 2016, it was decided that the directive from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to all Federal Firearm Licensees (gun dealers) indicating that possession of a medical marijuana card was a sufficient basis to refuse to sell firearms or ammunition.
The case considered an open letter that the ATF sent in 2011 to all Federal Firearm Licensees (FFL’s). According to the letter:
[A]ny person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition. Such persons should answer "yes" to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473 . . . and you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them. Further, if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have "reasonable cause to believe" that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance. As such, you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered "no" to question 11.e. on ATF Form.
According to 18 USC §922(g)(3), it is a felony for a person “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” to possess a firearm. At least two circuits have upheld the statute against 2nd Amendment challenges.
The laws and policies regarding marijuana in Michigan and throughout the country are rapidly changing. If you have any legal questions as result of any of the above discussed issues, please call me, Attorney Steven Storrs, at 269-945-2242 or click here to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
*This blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney before making important decisions regarding your individual situation.