Arkansas has passed cannabis gun rights legislation. It will not work.

Last week, Marijuana Moment reported on a new law in Arkansas that would protect the gun rights of medicinal cannabis users. This law is the latest in a series of state attempts to circumvent federal gun control laws that prohibit cannabis users from owning or purchasing guns. It will not work.

I have written extensively on the federal laws involved (see links to my posts below). Arkansas is trying to protect its medical cannabis users by prohibiting state agencies from considering marijuana use when deciding whether someone is authorized to carry a concealed handgun. Additionally, the state will not classify someone as a habitual user of controlled substances solely based on their status as a medical marijuana user. The new law also prohibits the state health department from reporting a person with a medical cannabis card to state police for covertly conducting handgun checks.

There’s more to the law than that, but as of this writing it probably doesn’t make much of a difference. The law is doomed and we have a precedent. As I’ve described here, the state of Missouri tried to protect the gun rights of cannabis users in a similar way and failed spectacularly. When the state law was passed, the federal government sued and easily defeated the similar Missouri law. I would be shocked if we didn’t see a similar result with this example of gun rights.

In addition, the fact remains that this will not and cannot change Federal Firearm Licensing (FFL) requirements. Specifically, FFL holders must require gun buyers to fill out Form ATF 4473 and answer “yes” or “no” to the following question:

Are you an illegal user of, or addicted to, marijuana or other tranquilizers, stimulants, narcotics, or other controlled substances?

Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under federal law, regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state in which you reside.

If an FFL owner sells a gun to someone who answered “yes” to this question, the FFL owner could lose their license AND potentially even face federal criminal liability. Would any law-abiding FFL owner in Arkansas really roll the dice here? I doubt it. Keep in mind that the federal government was quick to remind FFL owners of these requirements when, for example, Michigan and Minnesota legalized cannabis. The federal government doesn’t like cannabis, and some don’t like the idea of ​​gun rights for cannabis users.

So here are my predictions:

  1. ATF or other agency will issue a “reminder” memo to FFL licensees (like Michigan) or the general public (like Minnesota) in the coming weeks.
  2. The federal government is trying to intervene, possibly with a lawsuit, but
  3. In a few years, all of this will be debated as more and more courts, and possibly the US Supreme Court, rule current federal law unconstitutional. (That being said, please review the following points, which is why I believe the federal statutes in question are and will remain unconstitutional, as has been done in many lower courts.)

That’s not to say, however, that just because something is considered unconstitutional doesn’t mean the laws aren’t currently “enacting” and that the federal government will enforce them. This is happening today, and the government could find ways to keep it going even after courts have overturned the unconstitutional laws.

For some of my other posts on cannabis gun rights, check out this list:

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