Following a recent case in Oklahoma, a federal Judge has declared it unconstitutional to ban cannabis users from owning firearms, citing the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. Interestingly, neither one of these states offer residents the right to legal cannabis (medical is available in both states, but recreational is not), yet they’re making it a point to not infringe on the rights of gun owners, whether they smoke weed or not.
What’s the news?
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick declared the gun ownership ban for Oklahoma cannabis users “unconstitutional”, citing our 2nd amendment right to bear arms. This was following the arrest and indictment of Jared Michael Harrison, who received a federal firearms charge after being caught in possession of a cannabis along with a revolver.
These items were discovered by Lawton Police officers during a routine traffic stop. Harrison informed police that he did not have a state-issued medical card, however, he worked at a dispensary, and was on his way there when he was pulled over.
Harrison’s lawyers had argued that the “portion of federal firearms law focused on drug users or addicts was not consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation”, echoing what the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled last year in a case known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen; as well as another case in Florida in which the state’s agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried, filed a lawsuit alongside a number of medical cannabis patients on the grounds that it is unconstitutional to prevent them from owning firearms.
U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City agreed with Harrison and his legal team, ruling that “stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm … is not a constitutionally permissible means of disarming Harrison.” He added that, “the mere use of marijuana carries none of the characteristics that the Nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation supports.”
The 2nd amendment
The second amendment is one of the most fundamental yet polarizing of our constitutional rights as Americans. The verbatim text of the second amendment is as follows: “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.”
The bone of contention around this amendment stems from its various modern-day interpretations. What were our founding fathers referring to when they said, “a well-regulated militia”? Some believe that a “well-regulated militia” is a military group that is overseen by the government, but the definition of a militia is actually “any fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state.” As a matter of fact, militias are often formed in opposition to the government or ruling force of a nation.
When looking at all these parts of the whole, “well-regulated militia” with “free state” and “right of the people”, it seems clear that the right to bear arms was established in order to give citizens a fighting chance to protect themselves against a tyrannical and out of control governing body.
So, back to those modern-day interpretations of the second amendment. Many will argue that it’s no longer relevant, on the grounds that (A) it was written so long ago and during a much different period in our history, or (B) because the weapons we have today are far more technologically advanced and destructive than the weapons available when the constitution was written.
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The way I see it, neither one of those arguments hold any weight because when you get down to the core of it, the right to bear arms is less about the right to own any particular weapons, and more about the right for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from immediate danger, whether that danger comes from criminals or corrupt government forces. And if we’re assuming that all the other amendments are still our innate rights, it’s safe to conclude that the right to bear arms will remain one as well.
As both, firearm rights and cannabis use continue to be national hot-button topics, we’ll be seeing more stories like this until the latter is federally legalized. What are your thoughts on cannabis users owning guns? We’d love to hear what you think, so drop us a line in the comment section below!
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