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Federal Government Bans the Sale of Guns to Medical Marijuana Card Holders

September 12, 2016

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  • The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over 9 states, decided earlier this month that the federal government can legally ban the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders. This decision will impact California, Washington, Oregon, among many other states. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, a federal agency, issued a statement in 2011 instructing firearm distributors to bar medical marijuana card holders from gun ownership due to their usage of the drug. In the same year, S. Rowan Wilson of Nevada appealed the Bureau’s reasoning after she was denied a firearm for self-defense, arguing that she does not use the drug and has a card in order to express support for medical marijuana legalization. The court decided in a 3-0 decision that it was reasonable for gun stores to assume medical marijuana card holders use the drug and not to sell them firearms as a result. Wilson’s attorney plans to appeal, believing that the decision falls into a continued pattern of the American judiciary applying the Second Amendment inconsistently. Another potential avenue of appeal left open by the appeals court judges is belief that medical marijuana users are not more violent than non-medical marijuana users and should not be denied the right to own a gun as a result.

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