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Marijuana Use Is One of the Few Restrictions For Buying a Gun in the United States

In light of the recent mass shooting in Texas, many Americans are once again calling on greater restrictions for gun ownership. Many people argue that current laws are far too lax and don't do enough to prevent dangerous or violent people from purchasing weapons. But apparently there's one group that the government has ensured isn't allowed to own firearms: marijuana users.

The federal government has a long history of preventing marijuana users from purchasing guns in the United States, saying they are at risk for "irrational or unpredictable behavior." Under federal law, people who use or are addicted to a controlled substance are not allowed to buy guns, and marijuana still remains on that list.

If you're wondering if that's different in states where marijuana is illegal, the answer is no. In fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms recently changed a form that people must fill out to purchase a gun to state that marijuana use is a restriction regardless of state. Form 4473 has always asked if the person buying a gun is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana...or any other controlled substance?" But the ATF has recently amended the question to include, "The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside." 

So that means even if you are a person who legally uses marijuana to treat a medical condition, you are barred from purchasing a gun in the United States.

And it's unlikely that this policy will change. The ATF was sued in federal court over the issue, and a court upheld their position saying that the policy did not violate the Second Amendment because marijuana "raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated." 

So apparently when Republicans and conservatives oppose background checks or requiring people to have mental health evaluation before purchasing a weapon, but if they use medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, they need to be treated like violent criminals when it comes to buying a gun. Yep, that's some solid logic.

(h/t The Cannabis Telegraph)


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