Should people who require certain medications lose the right to self-defense? According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) they should:
What has forged this quirky convergence of advocacy — tokers, meet shooters — is a September letter from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives saying it is illegal for medical-marijuana patients to own firearms.
Everybody who buys a gun must fill out ATF Form 4473, which asks: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
Answer yes, and you don’t get the gun. Falsely answer no, and you’ve just committed a crime.
The ATF’s letter, sent out Sept. 21, clarifies that the bureau includes medical-marijuana patients in that group of prohibited buyers because their marijuana use is inherently illegal federally.
The absurdity, of course, is that the 4473 form asks if you are an unlawful user. People who have a medical exemption card are lawfully using cannabis and therefore should not be prohibited by law.
More importantly though, the fact that somebody can lose the right to defend themselves because they need cannabis is ridiculous. Cannabis is far safer than most other drugs including alcohol (which you can use and still legally own a firearm), which is responsible for a great deal of poor life choices.
There’s no valid reason to prohibit somebody from owning firearms just because they use certain drugs. So long as people don’t use their firearms while under the influence of drugs there is no real danger. And many drugs have no side effects that make firearm usage dangerous to the users or bystanders.
This is yet another example of a policy put forth by the ATF that demonstrates the agency is interested in restricting firearm ownership.