Even though the 2nd Amendment offers no exceptions to the right to keep and bear arms, current federal regulations prohibit people who consume marijuana from owning, buying or even possessing firearms or ammunition. A new proposal in Colorado, if passed, would effectively nullify a significant portion of this unconstitutional federal gun control.
As reported by the Associated Press, the “Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights” is working to put a question on the November 2016 ballot to have Colorado ignore rules from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) about firearms and marijuana.
The measure would change state law to prevent sheriffs from denying concealed carry permits because of marijuana use. Doing so would be in direct defiance of federal regulations which attempt to strip marijuana users of their right to keep and bear arms.
In a widely-circulated Sept. 2011 letter, the ATF reminded federal firearms licensees of the federal position that marijuana users had no right to keep and bear arms, and implied punishments against any violation of this prohibition.
With marijuana legalized for recreational use in Colorado, strict adherence to this federal prohibition would mean that potentially millions of people in the state would have no right to keep and bear arms.
“It’s just ridiculous,” said Edgar Antillon, one of the campaign organizers, who argues that firearms aren’t kept from alcohol drinkers. “Somebody can get extremely drunk — Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and all week if they want — and they can still get a concealed carry permit.”
By removing the state-level ban authorizing concealed carry permits, the federal prohibition on possession would be effectively nullified since local sheriffs act as the primary roadblock on this issue for the federal government.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from an Oregon sheriff who had been prohibited from denying a concealed handgun license to a medical marijuana user. The decision meant the woman and other medical marijuana cardholders could obtain concealed handgun licenses.
Some misguided gun rights activists oppose the measure. “Federal law prohibits the possession and use of marijuana and its derivatives, and therefore its possession and use is incompatible with legal, responsible firearms ownership,” said Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association.
But, “The 2nd Amendment has no exceptions,” said Scott Landreth of ShallNot.org. “The federal government has no constitutional authority to restrict your right to keep and bear arms, and any federal regulation that says a person can’t buy or own a gun is wildly unconstitutional.”
Antillon, whose company provides the firearm training required for concealed carry applicants, said several students have told him they’ve been denied a permit because they use marijuana, either medically or recreationally. He said it’s unjust that marijuana users are being “punished and can’t defend their lives.”
Landreth agreed. “We cannot tolerate any federal gun control, and if the people of Colorado pass this measure, it will be powerful step forward.”
Colorado organizers need more than 86,100 signatures to send the question to voters.