U.S. Court upholds ban on Gun Sales to Medical Marijuana Card Holders

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on September 03, 2016.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers nine Western states including California, Washington and Oregon, ruled the federal ban is not in violation of the Second Amendment.

The rule came in a lawsuit filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who said she tried to buy a firearm for self-defense in 2011 after obtaining a medical marijuana card. However, she was declined by the gun store because of the federal rule regarding the sale of firearms to illegal drug users.

Wilson maintained that she was not a marijuana user, but obtained the card in part as an expression of support for marijuana legalization.

She challenged guidance issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2011 that said gun sellers should assume people with medical marijuana cards use the drug and not sell them firearms.

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision said it was reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder was more likely to use the drug. It also rejected other constitutional challenges to the ban that were raised by Wilson, including her argument that her gun rights were being stripped without due process.

Besides, the court said Congress had reasonably concluded that marijuana and other drug use "raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated."

Notably, marijuana use remains illegal under federal law in the United States, although the use of medical marijuana is legal in California, 24 other states and Washington D.C.

More importantly, Congress prohibited illegal-drug users and addicts from buying and possessing firearms in 1968.

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