The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most recent court to find federal legislation controlling cannabis guns unconstitutional. The case, United States vs. Danielswas released on August 9, 2023. The court joins a growing list of courts that have found all of these restrictions unconstitutional.
Federal law prohibits cannabis users from purchasing or owning guns. A 2022 US Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. vs. Bruennoted that the test for determining whether a gun control law is constitutional is (1) whether the subject has Second Amendment rights and (2) whether the restriction is “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition in regulation.” of firearms”.
All, or virtually all, courts that have dealt with the federal Cannabis Weapons Control Act agree that cannabis users have Second Amendment rights. And almost all courts agree that the state’s cannabis restriction is “not consistent with the country’s historical tradition of regulating firearms.” Now we can add the Fifth Circuit to this list:
(Our history and tradition) may support certain limitations on an intoxicated person’s right to bear a gun, but they do not justify disarming a sober citizen solely on the basis of his or her past drug use. Nor do broader traditions of disarming dangerous individuals support this restriction on nonviolent drug users. Thus, as applied to Daniels, Section 922(g)(3) violates the Second Amendment.
I will keep this post very short and not analyze every aspect Daniels Decision as I have written about many of the other state cannabis gun control cases (see below) and the analysis here is very similar. After that, there are three things to keep in mind Daniels Decision:
- The decision is an “as applied” decision, meaning that the statute was found unconstitutional as it applied to the defendant. So the verdict is tighter than it could have been. This is similar to what happened in the Third Circuit Court decision Range against the Attorney General of the United States of America, which was also true in the applied form. For what it’s worth Range This was not a cannabis case – it was a case based on gun control restrictions from a previous disqualifying conviction for a misdemeanor (which is one of the many other gun control restrictions).
- Earlier this year, a Texas federal court ruled on a case on similar grounds United States vs. Connelly. I wrote about this case here. The federal district courts in Texas are part of the Fifth Circuit, meaning that if Connelly If appealed against, the result is likely to be the same or similar Daniels.
- This is the first case in the Fifth Circuit to use it Brno Test for federal cannabis gun control laws, it’s not the first case to use this Brno Test other state gun control laws. Earlier this year, the Fifth District decided United States vs. Rahimihold unconstitutional (under Brno) Federal restrictions on gun ownership by persons subject to a civil domestic violence restraining order. Rahimi was recently appealed to the US Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case in the upcoming term. Rahimi This is not a cannabis case, but it’s entirely possible that the US Supreme Court ruling could have an impact on the spate of cannabis gun control cases currently pending in federal court.
In total, Daniels is just one of many federal cases lifting gun control restrictions. This further increases the likelihood that people will not be stripped of their constitutional rights simply because they use cannabis to treat debilitating illnesses or even recreationally.
For some of my other posts on cannabis gun rights, check out this list: