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  Comments (10) Total Sunday Apr. 20, 2014
Second Amendment, Up in Smoke
Gun Rights
The federal government says it will deny Second Amendment rights to about 26,000 Montanans. Some people are upset about it, but that probably won’t last long. After all, these lost freedoms only apply to medical marijuana cardholders.

Last week, one of our readers, a volunteer on several local boards, stopped by our office in Kalispell. He was on his way to renew his concealed weapons permit but was afraid he would be denied, or worse. He has a medical marijuana card.

You see, a day earlier news broke that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives clarified for gun dealers that it is illegal to sell any guns to medical marijuana users, regardless of its legality in states like Montana.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law,” Arthur Herbert, the ATF’s assistant director for enforcement programs and services, wrote in a letter.

Our reader, who declined to give his name for obvious reasons (he owns a lot of guns and successfully renewed his concealed weapons permit later in the day), is a veteran and ingests a liquid form of marijuana to ease chronic back pain.

He acknowledged, and I would agree, that Montana’s original medical marijuana law created a freewheeling market that was abused by many users who simply wanted to smoke pot.

But the new law passed by the Montana Legislature, a so-called “grow-your-own” system aimed at eliminating anyone from making a profit in the industry and parts of which are tied up in court, has done little to clarify the rules. And the hypocrisy surrounding this issue would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Earlier this year there were federal raids. Agents seized marijuana plants across the state, froze bank accounts and took computers. No one said much about it as the feds simply said that the suspects – licensed caregivers – were part of an investigation.

Many politicians, even those who complained the loudest about federal meddling and state sovereignty, collectively shrugged. Meanwhile, in Helena they proposed bills to allow hunters to use silencers, permit concealed weapons in bars and prohibit federal firearm law enforcement – yes, those same feds.

Now the worlds of guns and grass have collided. And it will be interesting to see who points out that making it illegal for medical marijuana cardholders abiding by state law to own a gun is at once unjust and absurd.

To his credit, Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association and a conservative who supported a number of bills last Legislature that raised a few eyebrows (such as one that would allow the state to form armed paramilitary groups), has expressed outrage.

“It is egregious that people may be sentenced to years in federal prison only because they possessed a firearm while using state-approved medicine,” Marbut said in a statement.

Montana’s congressional delegation has also raised concerns over the memo.

While the ATF has stripped Montana medical marijuana users of their Second Amendment rights, those who use and abuse alcohol or prescription drugs are still free to buy guns with a clear conscience.

Our reader previously used morphine for his pain. Now he uses marijuana. The next time he buys a gun he will be presented with a Firearms Transaction Record form that asks if he is “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” And according to the ATF, he should mark “yes” and be denied the right to buy a firearm.

If he doesn’t, chances are no one will find out. But he will be a criminal, as will thousands of other medical marijuana cardholders. And, whether you support the state’s medical marijuana law or not, that’s a real assault on the Second Amendment.
On 10-11-11, ICallB.S. commented....
...and Al Capone ended up being THE man in power for many years.  The point being with over 4500 federal statutes on the books, all of us are guilty of some kind of federal crime (Ever ridden a snowmobile on federal land that was not open to access??).  So it…
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