Judge Accepts Biden Admin’s Dubious Argument for Banning Gun Possession by Pot Users

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Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- President Joe Biden, who recently issued a mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders, says cannabis consumption should not be treated as a crime. His administration nevertheless defends the federal ban on gun possession by marijuana users, arguing that Second Amendment rights are limited to “law-abiding citizens.”

Last week, a federal judge agreed, dismissing a challenge to that rule by medical marijuana patients in Florida. The reasoning underlying that decision shows that the constitutional right to armed self-defense, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, is still subject to legislators’ arbitrary whims and irrational prejudices.

Florida is one of 37 states that allow medical use of marijuana, most of which also have legalized recreational use — a policy supported by two-thirds of Americans. Under federal law, by contrast, marijuana remains illegal for all purposes except government-approved research, and simple possession is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or more and up to a year in jail.

For marijuana users who own guns, the potential penalties are much more severe.

They include up to 15 years in prison for illegal firearm possession, up to 15 years for “trafficking in firearms” by obtaining a gun and up to 10 years for failing to report cannabis consumption on the form required for gun purchases from federally licensed dealers.

The plaintiffs in the Florida lawsuit included Nikki Fried, a Democrat who runs the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, two patients who participate in Florida’s medical marijuana program, and a gun owner who says he would like to do so but does not want to surrender his right to arms. They argued that the ban on gun possession by cannabis consumers violates the Second Amendment.



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who does not agree with Fried about much, expressed support for that argument.

“The governor stands for protecting Floridians’ constitutional rights — including 2nd Amendment rights,” his office said after Fried filed her lawsuit in April. “Floridians should not be deprived of a constitutional right for using a medication lawfully.”

In his ruling last Friday, however, U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor agreed with the Biden administration that the deprivation DeSantis condemned was “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.” That is the constitutional test the Supreme Court has said gun control laws must pass.

Winsor noted a long history of banning gun ownership by people convicted of certain crimes. But as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett pointed out in a 2019 dissent as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, that history does not suggest that any crime, or even any felony, will do.

“Legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns,” Barrett wrote. “But that power extends only to people who are (SET ITAL) dangerous. (END ITAL) “

Are cannabis consumers dangerous? Winsor suggested that they are, accepting the Biden administration’s analogy between the gun ban for marijuana users and laws enacted in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that prohibited people from either carrying or firing guns “while intoxicated.”

That analogy fails, however, because those laws did not impose general bans on gun possession by drinkers. They applied only when gun owners were under the influence.

The implausibility of the Biden administration’s historical argument is compounded by the fact that the “crime” of consuming marijuana did not exist when the Second Amendment was ratified or when the 14th Amendment required that states respect the right to keep and bear arms. Throughout the 19th century, cannabis, opium, and other currently prohibited substances were legally available over the counter and widely consumed as ingredients in patent medicines.

It seems highly doubtful that Americans of that era would have thought eschewing such products should be a condition for exercising the rights protected by the Second Amendment and state analogs. Yet the Biden administration insists that it should, even as the president decries the injustice wrought by the war on weed.


About Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @JacobSullum. During two decades in journalism, he has relentlessly skewered authoritarians of the left and the right, making the case for shrinking the realm of politics and expanding the realm of individual choice. Jacobs’ work appears here at AmmoLand News through a license with Creators Syndicate.

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Montana454Casull

But yet Hunter can smoke crack and buy a gun and all we hear from Joe is crickets . FJB

Ram

It’s all we heard from the ATF, FBI, DOJ . . .
Maybe we can ask Soros to share his ATF files, if he has any.

Ope

I would bet money when Hunter bought that handgun and lied on the 4473 he was high on crack. Now Baldwin, the other moron who shot and killed that young women on that movie set, is blaming and suing three assistants for giving him a loaded handgun. This is the same POS that said he never pulled the trigger, but it just mysteriously when off by itself when he pointed it at the girls head. Both these son of a bitches need to pay hard for these crimes. I can guarantee you that if any of us would had committed… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Ope
chiefton

If you follow the overturning of the Roe v Wade ruling, the Federal Government has no authority in the Constitution to make gun rules. Therefore, only the States can make gun rules and those must fully integrate with the Constitutional law of “shall not infringe”. The genius of the abortion ruling set the groundwork for many future rulings where the Feds overstep their rights and dwell into areas in which they have no standing. Since that right defaults to being the right of the States and not the Feds, the Feds lack standing to rule who can and who cannot… Read more »

CourageousLion

James Dalton Bell may have created the solution. DuckDuckGo: James Dalton Bell.

Roland T. Gunner

I would argue not even in commerce.

J.galt

I don’t see how this survives scrutiny under Bruins Text and history requirement. The founders of the country, the writers of the constitution and the adopters of said constitution and bill of rights were growers without restriction of cannabis.

At the time of the adoption of the Bill of rights there was NO LAW or RESTRICTION on the use or possession of.marijuana. Even George Washington grew marijuana and shall not be infringed has always meant what any fourth grade student knows it to mean.

PsychoUSMC

I keep hearing this argument from the pro marijuana people but it’s a little disingenuous. They did grow hemp but it was a different strain than the marijuana that you smoke. The hemp they grew was used for ropes, linens, things like that. It had a very low THC level. That’s like saying opium should be made legal because everybody grows poppies. But the poppy plants use for opium have a much higher opium content in the bulb than your average poppy plant does.

swmft

there is a difference in male and female plants too,they were looking for the strongest stem not the most oil

Tank

Breaking News:

Liberal burns down house then blames it on the matches.

Jonesy

Heels up Harris is still cackling.

Ram

I remember back in the early 80s there was an academic movement
guiding youth into being irresponsible, making it a part of their character.
Now the Marxocrats will rescind our rights for our safety. I once knew
a fellow who at age 50+ voted for the first time in his life. Pot had
finally gotten onto the ballot, and in the previous 25 years nothing
else had been as important.

Tank

At least there is some kinda of a dialogue being had about both. People already have a difficult enough time just driving a vehicle which can also be a weapon, add altered internal mental state & the numbers go up from there. One is a constitutional right the other isn’t. Anytime you have the elements/components such as drugs/money/guns your going to have issues. Certain drugs alter an individuals inner state. Alcohol is another example of a drug that impairs people’s judgement (aka alters inner state). Sociocultural interactions in urban cities cause numerous problems. Rural areas trend a lot less problems… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Tank
swmft

walking and chewing gum is beyond many peoples ability

Tank

Yes you are right thanks for reminding me.

“Even the best of the Goyim should be killed.”
– Talmud, Soferim 15, Rule 10

Cruiser

Guns and drugs. A bad mix.

Stag

What other infringement do you support?

Last edited 2 months ago by Stag
Cruiser

Taking drugs is not a right.
Might want to check your common sense file.

CourageousLion

True. Which is why we need to arrest Doctors who prescribe some of them.https://courageouslion380.substack.com/p/the-ssri-connection-to-suicides-spontaneous-2c0

Roland T. Gunner

Every time I get my dog’s phenobarbital Rx refilled, it’s a hassle, because of other people’s screwups.
Why not just let natural selection run it’s course?

Roland T. Gunner

I think a good bottle of bourbon or Islay scotch mixes really well with my guns. Sorry you cannot handle it.

Cruiser

Really?
You need a common sense check.
You,re the guy who says I can handle it just before being arrested for DWI..

Last edited 2 months ago by Cruiser
Stag

Adults absolutely have the right to put whatever they want into their own body. To believe otherwise is to believe one has no bodily autonomy and must first get permission from the state before consuming something. This essentially makes you a slave to the state. Why do you support slavery?

Ope

Stag, you’re right. We also have the right not to put what we want into our own bodies. I never got that Covid vac and I made the right choice too.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ope
Stag

Absolutely! People seem to forget that if the state can dictate what you can consume then it can also dictate what you must consume.

Last edited 2 months ago by Stag
Ope

Stag, you got that right.

Cruiser

I repeat.

grant

“Dubious’,
No, not ‘Dubious’ at all
MJ impairs judgement and motor function.
It is ILLEGAL for anyone to Drive under the influence of ANY substance that impairs judgement and motor function.
WHY are we going to allow a person who insists on partaking of a drug that impairs judgement and motor function to purchase a firearm?
THAT is beyond ‘Reason”

ridgeview

Then we should prohibit any one who drinks alcohol ,uses tobacco products and caffeine etc all are drugs.

Hazcat

Don’t know where your tobacco and caffeine arguments come from but alcohol has instant tests to see if you are impaired. MJ does not and if you are a user you should neither own a gun or have a drivers license.

gregs

what other rights do you want to take away from someone for not harming or threatening you? maybe, don’t let them comment in opposition to your comment? maybe you shouldn’t have a keyboard in front of you.

Finnky

Don’t forget anyone over some particular age. By 50 one’s senses are becoming less acute and one’s mind is becoming slower. By 80 or 90 dementia runs rampant (just look at potus). On the other hand maturity lends itself to calmness, judgment, empathy, better understanding (and willingness) to avoid getting into situations which can escalate, and finally less willingness to instigate violence. This last suggests that perhaps we should set a minimum age for firearms ownership… In the end, any arbitrary government regulation is repugnant to the freedom which is the foundation of our society. Any time we allow government… Read more »

gregs

agreed. what you do as an adult private citizen is your own business an NO ONE should want to tell you what you ingest into your body, although many do want to do that exact thing. i should be able to do anything i want unless it causes injury to another and then i am responsible for that injury. we don’t need more nanny state agents telling us what, where, when and how to do things.

Roland T. Gunner

Two thumbs up!

Last edited 2 months ago by Roland T. Gunner
gregs

do you have any research you want to cite for your comment?
according to your logic all motor vehicles should have a breathalyzer interface to prevent people who have had a drink from driving, forever. because even one drink can affect your judgement and motor function.
and i’m sure you yourself have never done such a thing correct?
sounds like common sense to me.

Stag

Sure are a lot of butters and fudds on this thread supporting infringement.