NRA, Where Art Thou? Gun Rights of Medical Marijuana Patients Trampled

The issue of 2nd Amendment and guns can be a touchy subject in many circles, it certainly is in mine. I tend to hang out with progressive liberals and libertarian-minded folks in both my personal and professional lives, and I am somewhere in-between the political debate around guns. Personally, I believe that almost everyone has the right to own handguns, shotguns and hunting rifles, but that a few more regulations are needed to protect public safety.

Regardless of where you fit in on the gun debate, I hope that you agree that medical cannabis patients should have the same gun rights as other citizens. Unfortunately, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that firearms dealers could refuse to sell to patients, deeming them “unlawful drug users” under federal law. Will the National Rifle Association use their political muscle to stand up for the rights of medical marijuana users?

From ABC News:

A federal government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction, including California, Washington and Oregon.

It came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who tried to buy a firearm in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card.

The Consumerist reports:

The appeals court acknowledged that this law — along with the ATF’s interpretation in the notice it sent to gun sellers about medical marijuana — does indeed restrict the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights, but that the burden is “not severe” because it limits only her ability to acquire new firearms, not her right to possess any she might already have.

The Ninth Circuit noted that the plaintiff “could have amassed legal firearms before acquiring a registry card,” and the laws she’s challenging “would not impede her right to keep her firearms or to use them to protect herself and her home.”

Additionally, explains the court, she could have purchased firearms “at any time by surrendering her registry card, thereby demonstrating to a firearms dealer that there is no reasonable cause to believe she is an unlawful drug user.”

A few years back, a couple of Oregon sheriffs tried to deny concealed handgun permits from medical cannabis patients, and attorneys Leland Berger and John Lucy successful defended Oregon’s patients’ rights before the Oregon Supreme Court. The sheriffs appealed to the United States Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear the appeal, allowing patients’ rights to prevail in the Beaver State. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case and rule that medical cannabis patients acting legally under state law, should not be considered “unlawful gun users” and denied their 2nd Amendment rights. NRA, where art thou?

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 132 Articles
Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon's laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony's blogs on are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at Weed News as well as