Court: Gun Ban for Marijuana Card Holders Is Constitutional

Medical Cannabis
AP/Brennan Linsley

On August 31, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the ban on gun sales to marijuana card holders is constitutional.

The lawsuit was filed by S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada resident who was denied a firearm purchase in 2011 “after obtaining a medical marijuana card.”

According to the Associated Press, the gun store told Wilson she could not purchase the gun because of a federal law barring marijuana card holders from purchasing firearms.

Although some states have legalized marijuana–whether for recreational use or as a medical aide–the drug remains illegal on the federal level. And “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has told gun sellers they can assume a person with a medical marijuana card uses the drug,” which means they cannot pass a federal background check for a gun purchase.

Form 4473 of the background check process asks if the would-be firearm purchaser is “an unlawful user of…marijuana.” No one who answers “yes” to that question can purchase a gun.

The Ninth Circuit panel ruled unanimously in favor of the gun ban. Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff said banning firearms sales to marijuana users is “reasonable” because using the drug “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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