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Some defense attorneys have challenged the controversial gun law [prohibiting gun ownership by illegal drug users], calling it unconstitutionally vague. Others have argued that it violates the Second Amendment. But federal appellate courts have so far upheld the convictions, including one that cited a “well-established link between chronic drug use and violence” in its opinion issued last year.

[South Texas College of Law-Houston professor Dru] Stevenson, an expert in regulatory law who wrote a paper last year on drug use and firearms, said the cases that have gone to trial typically involved people who used to be drug users but got clean. He said he agrees with critics that the law is vague about what constitutes an “unlawful” drug user.

Courts have interpreted that to mean drug use must be “reasonably contemporaneous” to the gun possession, he said. One doesn’t have to be caught with drugs and guns at the same time, he said. You just have to be an “ongoing drug user” who happens to have guns, he said.

The idea behind the law, he said, is that guns are dangerous and regular drug users are not always lucid and in control of their faculties, making it a potentially deadly mix. And it’s easier for politicians on both sides of the gun control debate to agree that keeping them away from drug users is a good idea, Stevenson said.

One could, however, make the same argument about alcoholics, who are equally dangerous with guns, he added.

Stevenson has argued that the nation’s federal drug laws have become “functionally speaking, our society’s primary mechanism of gun control.”

The big problem with that currently, he said, is the fact that many states have legalized marijuana use. This complication has led to more legal challenges, Stevenson said. And some states have passed laws preventing officials from sharing data on approved medical marijuana users with law enforcement, to avoid the conflict.

Still, for the average lawful marijuana user, it’s likely not a concern, Stevenson said, adding that one would have to be committing other crimes to draw the attention of law enforcement. As he put it: “How is anyone going to know?”

You could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said, if for example a friend gives you a joint and you are carrying a gun. But authorities try to be reasonable, Stevenson said. If you’re getting arrested again and again for drug use, authorities can reasonably “draw an inference,” he said.

— Kevin Krause in Do you use drugs? If you own a gun, the feds could put you in prison, which worries cannabis advocates



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  1. Who asked him? With society so polarized by those content to live a traditional life vs the drug underground he’s trying to attach two forms of illegal activity to create something more noteworthy.

    • What you’re overlooking is that there is considerable overlap between what you call “traditional life vs the drug underground”. Lots of respectable folks, probably some that are your neighbors, coworkers, relatives, using marijuana. The stereotypical sleazy druggie is the tip of the iceberg and is no more representative of the vast majority of recreational marijuana users than the psycho that shot up a business represents TTAG readers.

      • Everyone I know on welfare gets high, BUT everyone I know that gets high is not on welfare.

      • Ah yes the predictable attempt by potheads to “normalize” there dumbassedness. You left out the standard “wha about booze dat jus as bad”.

    • He is not trying to attach 2 diffrent anything. It has been existing.

      The issue is FEDERAL LAW still states possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal. State law does not matter because when you purchase a fire arm your filling out a FEDERAL form and signing under penalty of purgery that you are not an illegal user of illegal drugs (according to FEDERAL LAW)

      State law making it legal only means the State can’t prosecute you for possession of Marijuana. but most states that made it legal have more severe restrictions on firearms and at least some of those required reporting medical perscription/cards/ purchases to be reported to law enforcement so if there were registered firearms State law enforcement can then use the federal law to to size the firearms and some time persue pergery charges (except Bidens son)

      Even my doctor said that the reason that the feds are trying to remove any opiant prescription and getting all states to make medical Marijuana legal to replace that and require reporting to BATFE and state LE is as a back door to firearm confiscation.

      He is not saying that the feds are linking drug and gun laws, bit that FEDERAL ans some state Govts are using it as a back door because courts have set president that it’s legal to prohibit gun ownership by Illegal drug owners according to federal law.

      Note pretty much any thing except Marijuana can legally be prescribed and not be an issue, which is crap. It’s just the fundraisers favorite back door around the second amendment

  2. Freedom is messy and dangerous. What you choose to put into your body is no concern of anyone else so long as you are not hurting another and you are of legal age and self supporting.

    In keeping with the messy and dangerous theme nationwide constitutional carry should be the law of the land and if a druggie gets shot stealing a bike or an SSI check he should have no legal recourse as a ‘victim’.

    Unfortunately we have become a nation of ‘Karens’. Nobody wants to mind their own damn business.

    • I forget who it was, but a few weeks ago I read a great quote from someone on the great Interwebs:

      “The Leftist says, ‘The decisions of others is my business’.”

      The conservative says, ‘Mind your own business’.”

      • You have previously stated that you believe ‘the devils lettuce’ should be illegal. What a hypocrite and coward you are. Don’t you have some minimum wage workers to hassle?

    • “What you choose to put into your body is no concern of anyone else so long as you are not hurting another and you are of legal age and self supporting.” While I agree with you, the term “self-supporting” somehow seems to get lost once a person is hooked on something (drugs, booze, gambling, etc.), loses their employment status, et al, and society is then burdened with them. So long as I am not on the hook for someone else’s choices, I’m cool with them using crystal meth…

      BTW- wouldn’t it be a neat thing to make every elected official and bureaucrat have to pee in a bottle once per month and have it scrutinized by the government? Heck, I’d even go with once every 6 months, or once per year. It’d certainly be no more intrusive into their lives, or an affront to their rights and liberties than a NICS check is to mine.

  3. Yes, prohibition is stupid. Yes, drunks can be dangerous. No, life is not fair.
    Any problem you may have as a drug user can be avoided by following Wes Denhams simple suggestion of staying away from where cops are. Get drunk or high at home. Don’t go for a drive, don’t wander downtown, don’t go to where the cops are.

    I don’t know if it’s narcissism, posing or just plain stupidity that drives people to get high and be high right out in full view of the world. Do it at home.

    • Agree. I am probably an alcoholic, all drinks are between 5 and 9 PM in my living room. No problemo. And I am always armed.

  4. I am sure that many full blown drug and alcohol abusers are out of control and the drugs do affect their thinking. The people that I know know that only smoke pot and maybe have a couple of drinks, are not out of control. They are not violent or ready to fight because they are high, they have their butts on the couch, stuffing their faces with chips or ice cream. I am sure that some violent people are pot smokers, but it isn’t the pot, it is the person.

    • How many violent crimes involve people under the influence of alcohol? If pot’s listed, then alcohol should be as well. I’m not saying either should be btw.

      • I believe 1/2 of all homicides are committed under the influence of alcohol. At least that was a pertinent stat I remember from a sociology class I took 15 years back.

  5. Hunter Biden is above the law, and the “No one is above the law” crowd has zero interest in acknowledging that. It’s almost as if they’re hypocrites that are only interested in using the justice system against their political enemies.

  6. The question that comes up for me is:

    What’s the best angle to pursue here?

    One possible answer would be to complain about the drug laws. If we didn’t have so many drug laws we wouldn’t have the gun intersection. However, this is a really BAD idea.

    We really should re-examine our drug laws as we should re-examine gun and lots of other laws. But these are really independent issues. We should avoid mixing them up.

    A second answer is to argue against the drug dis-able-ing provisions of the Prohibited-Person laws. Unfortunately, this has the same problem. It puts us in the uncomfortable position of seeming to be advocating for drug (or alcohol) use by gun owners. That is a fish to fry; but, it’s no where near the top of our priority list.

    The answer that seems to be to have the most potential for progress is to push the 4A issue.

    So, the cops are patrolling for anyone they suspect can be arrested and prosecuted for a crime. Any crime will do. Robbing a bank, spitting on the sidewalk, DWI, drugs. Often the pretext is a trivial driving infraction; broken tail light.

    What’s the driving force? They probably are not driven by a motivation to discover a bank robber on the pretext of a broken tail light. Instead, they are looking for drugs, often pot.

    Is it really consistent with our conception of the 4A that the cops surveil for high probability drug busts based on broken tail-lights?

    Are such stops really for DWB or DW-w/o-CCP? The tail-light is just the pretext. The cop sees someone he thinks he can arrest, it’s just a question of the charge. He’s probably not looking for people chewing tobacco to bust for spitting on the sidewalk. Nor a banker in a suit for possessing cocaine. Instead, he’s looking out for someone who might be a member of the National African-American Gun Association.

    Our brothers in arms are not disproportionately likely to be possessing let alone consuming drugs. They are carrying often enough. And that might be in some GFZ such as a Post Office parking lot or within 1,000 feet of a school.

    The stated pretext is tail-light. The real pretext is DWB/drugs. The result is a felony gun charge. And here WE the PotG have a beef. A 4A beef.

    Here, we should join with our brothers (whether their NAAGA dues are paid up or not) in opposing such pretextual stops.

    What has always bothered me about stop-&-frisk is not the possibility that someone might be carrying a gun without a permit. Yes, that’s a Terry Stop which (like it or not) has a SCOTUS decision to justify it. But, in reality, it seems that most stop-&-frisks are unjustifiably invasive because WWB (walking while Black) does not suffice to imply that the suspect possesses drugs. And the real pretext is, often enough, the suspicion that the suspect has a joint in his pocket.

    • Possessing pot is being decriminalized in cities and states. Stopping someone looking for a joint doesn’t happen like it used to.

    • Stop and frisk was obviously unconstitutional from day one, especially obvious to those LE who had to lie about its execution in order to slip it past the courts. There was NEVER a cute white grandmother stopped, as there certainly would be if it were random, and claiming some special expertise without being able to explain it or how you obtained it, is simply silly. If you have a legitimate cause to suspect someone of something, get a damn warrant. That’s what it said 250 years ago, and that’s what it says now.

      • Terry v. Ohio. A pat down search for weapons and weapons only during a temporary police detention or interaction is 100% legal and well established.

        • OK, time to clarify.

          ‘Stop and Frisk’ is NOT a legitimate ‘Terry Stop.’ Stop and Frisk is unConstitutional, completely illegal, and based solely upon ‘hunches’ and random application of vague, flexible ‘rules’ that are made up on the spot. The other is completely legal, Constitutional, confirmed by Supreme Court decision, and based upon firm, inflexible rules.

          Do NOT, as they did in NYC, confuse the two.

    • NEVER allow a warrantless search, whether you have anything to hide or not. For some reason, people “riding dirty” think things will go better for them if they comply with a vehicle search request. They will not. Meanwhile, those with nothing to hide are far more likely to say “no”, partly at least because they don’t care if things escalate, they’re not doing anything illegal anyway. Cops know this, but drug carriers/etc. seem not to. I have refused at least ten search requests myself, all over the country, and it has never gone beyond that.
      Jusay say no!

  7. I have never had a cop with the guts to answer the following question. “How many DV calls do you roll up on where one or both parties have been boozing it up. How many where one or both have been smoking pot?”

    • 100% drunks are worse except for instances were people are using tainted Cannabis products or that bathsalts/spice/K2 artificial stuff that was so prevalent a few years ago. That artificial stuff will make people eat someone’s face.

  8. We have an 18th amendment that tells us just how legal the drug war is.
    We have a 2nd Amendment that tells us who is allowed to own firearms.
    We have a 4th Amendment that demands evidence of a crime – exercising the 5th amendment right to property, let alone the 2nd Amendment right to a specific class of property is not evidence of a crime.

    That we have so many citizens ready to reelect any politician promoting ANY constitutional violations tells us we are a nation of Karens. Respecting these “laws” in any way is what gives them any hint of legitimacy.

  9. I agree. Current ongoing ILLEGAL drug use is the issue.

    Let’s take HUNTER BIDEN for example. Chronic illegal drug user, lies about this on the holy 4473 and then proceeds to continue to use illegal drugs after unlawfully purchasing a weapon. Apparently there’s no issue with this … (???)

    However …

    An 18 year old gets busted for a bag of weed and a rock on his birthday in 1979 and to this day he’s banned from all but thinking about firearms and will be to the very end.

    Scales don’t balance on this one.

    The NFA has got to go once and for all as it serves nothing but a bargaining chip for votes. It never stopped gangsters it was meant to stop and the SBS, SBR, AND full autos just got better and more numerous after they were nearly totally banned from all law abiding citizens while those with drug convictions, et al, stay caught in the voting middle. Get caught lying on the 4473 once and you will lose everything in life (unless you’re politically connected to those that hate guns and constitutional rights).

    If our fearless lawmakers can’t enforce the laws they pass with the laws they pass they best rethink what gets them elected and keeps them elected. None of them really care about firearms or criminals but they never have to pass background investigations themselves before being granted top secret clearances nor undergo urinalysis to keep their jobs and of course their rights. They’ll sure as hell burn our Bill of Rights at the drop of a hat. But if our rehab corrections system(s) work for a few it’s still meaningless; you can’t have your rights back and become whole again because you won’t be as controlled anymore.

  10. The issue is this:
    Scenario 1: A law-abiding gun owner gets cancer.
    His doctor prescribes, among other cancer treatments, marijuana.
    The law-abiding gun owner cancer patient is now a “prohibited person” due to his doctor’s decision. And anti-gun states will happily share the list of medical marijuana patients with the police so they can arrest the cancer patient, seize his guns, and put the cancer patient in prison at the cost of $100,000 per year. Once in prison, the former taxpaying citizen becomes a drain on tax dollars, and taxpayers pay the cost of cancer treatments, even if they cost millions of dollars.
    Anti-gun liberals are happy because there is one less gun owner, one less taxpayer, one less hardworking citizen, one more person on government healthcare, and one more person dependent on the state!
    And I hate to tell you this, but many conservatives are also happy, because they now label the former law-abiding gun-owner, the cancer patient, as a “pothead” just because of what his doctor prescribed to him for his cancer, and many conservatives think all “potheads” belong in prison.

    Scenario 2: The same law-abiding gun owner gets cancer.
    His doctor prescribes a highly addictive opiate drug.
    This drug makes it unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery.
    It is also highly addictive, and an overdose would be toxic.
    However, even though it’s far more dangerous than marijuana, far more addictive than marijuana, toxic if there’s an overdose, and is often abused by street criminals, this dangerous drug does not make the gun owner a prohibited person.
    The cancer patient can keep his guns.
    But the drug is far more dangerous than marijuana, so the patient dies.
    Liberals are upset because the cancer patient got to keep his guns.
    Conservatives just shrug, because the dangerous prescription drug was not marijuana, so they don’t care that it killed the patient, as long as it wasn’t “the devil’s lettuce.”

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