Cannabis or Firearms?
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives otherwise known as the “ATF” indicted two Maine men earlier this month on federal firearms charges due to cannabis consumption. This topic has always been a concern of mine, as both a veteran and a legal medical patient. I know I share this sediment with a lot of other veterans and other supporters of the second amendment. Cannabis consumption does not mean you are not morally or mentally incapable of being responsible enough to own a firearm, there is not factual proof justifying a restriction.
These cases could be the start of a much needed monumental societal shift. Whether you agree or not with the 2nd Amendment, the federal government should not be able to make outlandish claims without factual proof and must be held accountable to its citizens.
How can the federal government justify a blanket ban on its citizens, like U.S Veterans, access to firearms because they choose to treat diagnoses, like combat related issues, holistically? Where is the justice? How can you take the fundamental rights away from those that defended our right to freedom? For many veterans, the first time they touch a firearm, let alone fire one, is on a military firing range. Is this the next way for cannabis prohibition to be used as a political tool? It clearly would not be the first.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives prohibits the sale of firearms and ammunition to those who use marijuana because it remains illegal under federal law, even if state laws such as Maine’s permit medical and recreational marijuana.
Donald “Donny” Henderson, 33, of Winthrop, Maine is set for arraignment May 4. He was issued a summons to appear in court and is represented by attorney James Nixon.
Henderson’s indictment says he made false statements on Feb. 28, 2017, while buying a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380-caliber pistol from Audette’s Inc., located in Winthrop. It alleges he checked a box indicating he was not an unlawful user of marijuana when, in fact, he was. The allegation is repeated in the second count, which says Henderson purchased an SCCY model CPX-1, 9 mm pistol on March 2, 2017, also from Audette’s.
Richard Quattrone, 48, of Augusta, is charged with two counts of lying to a federal firearms licensee on March 10, 2017. The indictment says he purchased a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380-caliber pistol from Audette’s and indicated that he is an not an unlawful user of marijuana or other controlled substances. It says that Quattrone “was an unlawful user of marijuana” at the time and that he intentionally wrote down an address that was not his current one. Quattrone is represented by attorney Christopher McLean.
The question remains did they falsify a federal document? According to the ATF, these individuals did since cannabis is illegal federally. However, individual states issue and control firearm permits and licensing, which makes this topic murky and convoluted. If the state does not stipulate that you cannot have both, then what are you expected to believe is the truth? In Connecticut, you can even use your state-issued firearms license as a form of identification for your annual medical license.
What is one to do?
At this point, it would be smarter to air on the side of caution. If you don’t purchase a firearm after becoming a patient, then you will not be forced to make a decision to “check the box” or not. Convictions on charges of making false statements to firearms dealers carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison. That’s a long sentence to serve for an act of civil disobedience.
H/T: Press Herald