A controversial bill introduced to Congress earlier this year would seek to allow lawful medical marijuana users to legally purchase and possess firearms and ammunition in accordance with their Second Amendment rights guaranteed to them by the United States Constitution. H.R. 2071 was first introduced in April by Republican Congressman, Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia. 

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Previously, citizens enrolled in state-run medical marijuana programs were prohibited from legally purchasing and owning firearms and ammunition. On the other hand, opioid users retain all of their gun rights, so long as they have a valid prescription. 

The purpose of the proposed legislation is “to amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to the sale, purchase, shipment, receipt, or possession of a firearm or ammunition by a user of medical marijuana, and for other purposes.”

A shotgun backed by an American flag iStock / ShaneWThompson

What Does H.R. 2071 Do? 

The Second Amendment Protection Act would amend existing law to make medical cannabis patients exempt, inserting the wording “except that an individual shall not be treated as an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance based on the individual using marihuana for a medical purpose in accordance with state law.”

Don Murphy is the Federal Policy Director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-cannabis lobbying organization based out of Washington D.C., working to end marijuana prohibition nationwide Said Murphy in a recent interview with Marijuana Moment, “No patient should have to choose between their Second Amendment rights and following doctor’s orders.”

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

According to Chapter 61 Article 7 of the West Virginia Code, “Persons prohibited from possessing firearms…is an unlawful user of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance.” That includes cannabis, even if you’re a law-abiding, legally qualifying medical marijuana patient.

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In fact, if you want to legally buy a firearm, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) requires that one fill out Form 4473, which asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any controlled substance?” The form goes on, “Warning: the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whatever it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state you reside in.”

Rep. Thomas Massey, a Republican Congressman from Kentucky, proposed a similar idea last year, According to Massey, “We’ve created millions of felons with this question. You can’t imagine that everybody in Colorado, who under Colorado state law is legally using marijuana, has never purchased a firearm. That would be completely illogical.”