Can You Own a Gun and Use Marijuana

The federal justice system in Oklahoma has declared that a law in the federal government that prohibits marijuana users from possessing firearms is not constitutional. This is the latest decision to eliminate gun restrictions following the reasoning of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.

The case of Bruen The court decided that for regulations to be constitutional, they cannot infringe upon conduct covered under the Second Amendment’s language, and any codes must be “consistent with this nation’s historical tradition.” To remain in line with this tradition, the rules must resemble those in place before the Constitution’s creation.

Is Marijuana a Risk for Gun Owners? 

Jared Michael Harrison was detained in May 2022 following an arrest for the Oklahoma case. When they searched his car, police discovered an unloaded gun and marijuana. Harrison told police they were driving him to work at a medical marijuana dispensary. He also said that he didn’t have an official medical marijuana card issued by the state. Recreational marijuana isn’t legal in Oklahoma; however, residents are expected to vote on the issue in the next couple of weeks.

Lawyers representing Mr. Harrison argued that a federal law making possessing firearms unlawful for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” violated their client’s Second Amendment rights. Similar to the arguments made in Bruen, Harrison’s lawyers insisted that the “drug users or addicts” part of the federal law wasn’t in line with the U.S.’s history of firearm regulations.

On the other hand, prosecutors from the federal government maintained they were conforming to a long-standing tradition in America in that disarming the most likely risky people, like felons, the mentally ill, or who drink, is in the public’s best interest.

Regulations Too Broad for a Widely Accepted Substance 

Judge Patrick Wyrick of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma sided with Harrison’s legal team and ruled that the status of marijuana users doesn’t justify removing them from their right to carry firearms as a fundamental right. The judge noted that over 2,000 stores within the state offer marijuana for sale legally.

In his statement, Wyrick noted that the country’s “historical tradition” gives Congress reasons to regulate firearm ownership of people with a history of engaging in violent crimes. “The consumption of marijuana … doesn’t, in and of its own a bloody, threatening or dangerous or threatening act. It’s not a ‘crime of violence. It does not require ‘the actual or threat of using force in any way,'” he wrote.

The decision is the latest in a series of similar cases. For instance, the federal judge in Midland, Texas, last year decided that a law banning the possession of firearms by people who are with felony convictions but have not yet been found guilty violated the Constitution. In addition, a panel from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled this month that the federal government cannot restrict people subject to domestic violent restraining orders from having firearms.

What Do These Decisions Mean for You? 

The state and federal level determines who is allowed to have firearms. The laws in question often interplay and may confuse. The number of cases passing through courts can only increase the confusion. At present, the Oklahoma ruling will not impact the way that law enforcement is conducted across the nation. There is a chance that you could be charged similarly to Harrison. Federal courts in other jurisdictions may not interpret the laws as Wyrick did in Oklahoma.

But, based on other rulings that favor expanding the rights of gun owners, federal laws that are at issue, in this case, might be thrown out in the hands of the Supreme Court.

The consequences of breaking laws governing guns can be severe. You should consult with an experienced attorney in your local area regarding your rights and obligations. The rules regarding firearms are constantly changing, and an attorney licensed can guide you through this constantly changing world.

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