Friday, March 4, 2011

Does A Medical Marijuana Card Prevent The Issuance Of A Concealed Handgun Permit For Self Defense?

That's the question in Oregon this week. The Supreme Court of Oregon is deciding whether having a medical marijuana card that allows medicinal use of marijuana bars that card holder from obtaining a concealed handgun permit.

Although some states issue cards making it legal to possess and use medical marijuana in those states, Federal law has stiff penalties for possession. However, the Feds generally seem to be leaving individual medical marijuana users alone, they have been targeting dispensaries in states such as Michigan as traffickers.

A recent administrative opinion by Federal agents who administer the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has said that having a medical marijuana card is prima facie evidence that the holder is a marijuana user; therefore, the holder is barred from passing the NICS check to buy a gun under federal law.

A Medford woman with a medical marijuana card applied for a concealed handgun permit, and was turned down by the local sheriff because of her medical marijuana card. The seven Justices are focusing on whether the sheriff had the right to do so. The woman appealed his decision, and a lower appeals court ordered that the permit be issued, and the sheriff did so. That sheriff of her county and another sheriff appealed the lower court decision. The Justices are determining if the Oregon Law is contrary to the intent of the Gun Control Act of 1968. It is apparent that the Oregon Concealed permit law is silent on the issue. It doesn’t exclude someone who uses drugs.

The card holder was represented by an attorney. A local State’s Attorney represented the Sheriffs. He claimed that the state law stands in the way of enforcement of the 1968 GCA. He argued that if the sheriff issued a concealed permit, then he would be violating federal Law. The state's attorney argued that the state statute is an obstacle to enforcement of the Gun Control Act. He said if the Sheriff issued a card, he would be violating Federal law.

 During the arguments, some Justices voiced opinions that both the marijuana card and the concealed permit legalize something that would be illegal without them. It will be several months before a decision is given. 

If you missed our blog yesterday on, Connecticut lawmakers are working on a bill that would confiscate all magazines in the state that hold more than 10 rounds.

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