Drinking, Drugs, Marijuana and Guns, Never the Twain Shall Meet

Opinion

Marijuana and Guns
When marijuana and guns are discovered in close proximity (in the same room), a charge of “Illegal Drugs with Guns Present” (a felony in most states) is extremely likely.

Ft Collins, CO –-(Ammoland.com)- Students ask:

“When I own guns, do I need to become a teetotaler?”

The companion question is:

“When I own guns, do I need to abstain from all contact with marijuana? For that matter, how about other consciousness-altering drugs, even ones I take by prescription?”

My reply:

Any time you’re involved in a shooting incident, accidental or intentional, even in a case of otherwise justifiable self-defense, responding police will probably at some point administer a breath-test.

When you blow anything but a 00, it is safe to say that evidence will not be “helpful” to your case.

However, I’ve never heard of anyone being charged with “Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated” (a misdemeanor in most states) when the event takes place in the gun-owner’s home, and all other behavior on the part of the gun-owner is lawful and reasonable.

In fact, I’ve rarely heard of a prosecution of any person who has been drinking and simultaneously in possession of a firearm, unless he was doing something else unlawful or stupid, like verbally threatening people, brandishing weapons absent good cause, driving erratically, etc.

The vast majority of people I know who consume alcoholic beverages are not “alcoholics,” nor “problem drinkers.” Most have never been arrested for DUI, nor are they ever likely to be.

People who occasionally consume alcoholic beverages, but are not alcoholics, are probably not going to radically change personal habits when they decide to buy a gun, any more than they will decide to stop driving.

In fact, a single DUI conviction will not automatically block gun purchases at NICS, at least in CO (multiple DUI convictions will). And, there is no question on Federal Form 4473 (required of all retail gun purchasers) that asks, “Are you an alcoholic?”

My advise is to minimize the likelihood that you will have significant levels of ethyl alcohol (ETOH) in your system any time you handle/carry guns, and of course do your best to be a “good and reasonable person,” whether you have ETOH in your system or not.

In this country, we enjoy the freedom to keep and bear arms, and we also enjoy the freedom to consume beverages containing ETOH.

My advise is:

Enjoy these two freedoms as you wish, just not at the same time. After the first drink, it’s time to lock-up the guns.

Don’t like it? Too bad! One simply cannot enjoy the exercise of all freedoms at the same time, as noted above.

Want to “go armed” every waking minute of the day? Then, you get to be a teetotaler. I don’t know another way.

With regard to marijuana, there IS a question on Form 4473 form that asks:

“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

BATF’s policy is:

“We believe it is illegal to purchase, and probably to even possess, any firearm when you use marijuana”

So at the federal level, “unlawful marijuana” is a redundancy. All marijuana is unlawful, and conflicts between state and federal law are of no interest to BATF. Lying on Form 4473 is a sure way to end-up in federal prison.

Some bona-fide authorities insist that marijuana is legitimately useful in treating serious pain. Others, every bit as authoritative, insist marijuana is of no use whatever in treatment of pain, and indeed has no legitimate medical application at all.

Frankly, I don’t know.

Those who use marijuana for non-serious, “recreational” purposes are well-advised to have nothing to do with firearms of any kind. Don’t try to buy them. Don’t own them. Don’t have them in your home. Stay away from them. .

Who use marijuana for what they believe to be legitimate pain therapy do so at great risk, but it is probably best to lock-up all guns in a separate room. Marijuana itself needs to be kept in a locked container.

When marijuana and guns are discovered in close proximity (in the same room), a charge of “Illegal Drugs with Guns Present” (a felony in most states) is extremely likely. In the experience of most lawyers I know, marijuana and guns (in close proximity) are not mixing well in charging decisions.

With regard to prescription drugs that are also consciousness-altering, we all have to apply common sense. When the bottle says, “Do not drive after taking this medicine,” most reasonable people would conclude that carrying a gun after taking this medicine is probably also a bad idea.

The foregoing is intended as “guidance.” I believe it represents sound advice, but adhering to it is no guarantee that nothing bad will happen to you.

Yet, of this you can be sure: Laws are duly voted-on and passed by legislative bodies in this country. They're then “on the books.” Heaven knows they're not perfect, and no law is fair to all people at all times.

But, when obedience to laws becomes “optional,” we descend, by a short route, into anarchy and chaos, and we can kiss our civilization, imperfect as it is, good-by.

/John


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: www.defense-training.com

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    Will FlattkeithBJIJames Russell BaileyA.x. Perez Recent comment authors
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    Will Flatt
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    Will Flatt

    People should do as Uncle Ted recommends, and only “get high on gunpowder”!

    It’s the ultimate buzz!

    BJI
    Guest
    BJI

    Once it is legal in all parts of the United States I wonder what will be lung cancer rates after 20 or 30 years? Do dope smokers REALLY THINK it’s healthier than tobacco cigarettes or, MAYBE THEYJUST DON’T THINK???!!!

    keith
    Guest
    keith

    Funny you should mention this.
    A study was done in Holland, you know, where it’s been legal for at least 30 years.
    Cancer rates in people who smoke weed and no tobacco was almost nil!
    Must be really dangerous stuff.

    James Russell Bailey
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    James Russell Bailey

    Sadly, the fact remains that federal law is screwing over millions of people who are in serious pain on a daily basis, and the jackbooted thug feds are conflating medical uses of weed with Firearms ownership. I have personally known dozens of people who both drank, and used weed, with guns laying on tables or in closets, or in gun racks, and you know what, not a single one of those people ever shot, much less killed anyone while they were loaded, that is the people, as well as the guns. Sadly, the whole phenomenon known as Mothers Against Drunk… Read more »

    A.x. Perez
    Guest
    A.x. Perez

    As marijuana laws change I expect question 11e will and should change. However, ethanol, tetrahydrocannabinol, or
    other drugs, if you are “Wasted,” “stoned,” and/or “buzzed” you have no business handling weapons until you are sober.

    keith
    Guest
    keith

    This topic comes up quite a bit with my mates, most of whom are getting a bit long in the tooth and suffer from arthritis, bad backs, etc. most don’t know what a good nights sleep is anymore and some have turned to the odd “choof” to help them sleep. And yes from experience I can say it works. These guys are more sane and stable than the cretins who write our laws and I dare say your laws. they are not out breaking laws, being a menace to society (that was our younger days). So really, if weed is… Read more »

    tomcat
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    tomcat

    For myself, I prefer a clear head if toting a gun. I use to ride a lot of miles on a snowmobile and I did not drink while operating on of them. Pot, drugs or liquor gives a person more courage than sense when it comes to life choices. I have nothing against having a drink but not during those times.

    Mike
    Guest
    Mike

    At the time of the founding of this nation, if a person had been held up on a road by a robber after leaving a tavern/inn and had shot said robber, the authorities would have taken pity on the victim for being accosted “in his state of social inebriation”. Any other drug consumption through the 19th century/early 20th century would NOT have come into play in a subsequent/similar scenario because DA’s hadn’t wholly become anti-gun jerks. What has changed is the zeal of local/state governments to crucify gun-owners on any pretext, and that pretext is the consumption of drugs/alcohol prior… Read more »

    The Green Watch Dog
    Guest
    The Green Watch Dog

    All gun owners should well know that left handed cigarettes and owning a gun together is illegal. It is their responsibility to know. When I read comments: “Current guns laws need to be enforced”, then take heed. The GWD.