Nevada woman fighting federal ban on medicinal pot users owning guns

Medical marijuana is shown in a home in this 2010 file photo.

A Nevada woman sued the federal government Tuesday in hopes of overturning its ban on medical marijuana users buying and possessing firearms.

Represented by Henderson attorney Charles Rainey, S. Rowan Wilson of Carson City filed suit in U.S. District Court for Nevada against Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Wilson, who works as a medical technician and plans to attend medical school, said in the suit that she tried to buy a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum pistol on Oct. 4, but the firearms dealer refused to sell her the weapon because she has a medical marijuana registry card from the state of Nevada.

Wilson said she obtained the medical marijuana card in hopes cannabis would ease her severe cramps, which she said are sometimes debilitating and cause painful side effects.

"I sought to purchase a firearm for personal protection, but discovered, in my attempt to make the purchase, that my mere possession of a medical marijuana registry card prohibits any federal firearms licensee from selling me any firearm or ammunition,’’ Wilson said in a court declaration.

"The defendants have prohibited a certain class of law-abiding, responsible citizens from exercising their right to keep and bear arms; the defendants have enacted policies, procedures and customs with the specific intent of denying the Second Amendment rights of persons who have registered to use medical marijuana pursuant to and in accordance with state law,’’ Wilson’s lawsuit charges.

The gun ban also violates Wilson's Fifth Amendment right to due process as it automatically defines people possessing medical marijuana cards as unlawful users of controlled substances, the lawsuit charges.

The government hasn’t responded to the lawsuit, but in a Sept. 21 open letter to all federal firearms licensees, the ATF reminded gun sellers that federal law prohibits any person who is an "unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance’’ from possessing, receiving, shipping or transporting firearms and ammunition.

"There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law,’’ the ATF letter said. "Therefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.’’

The ATF’s September letter on its ban on the sale of firearms and ammunition to medical marijuana users has already generated protests in some circles, with Montana’s attorney general saying earlier this month it raises constitutional concerns.

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  1. "Gun ownership is a constitution right..."

    doubledown -- actually it's not, in the sense any constitution creates the right. The Second Amendment, like Nevada's counterpart, promises protection of liberties in existence long before our country was a country. Good post!

    This woman is on solid ground in every sense of the word -- morally and legally especially. Sadly, the police state we now live in will fight her tooth and nail all the way to the Supremes, the attorneys violating their oaths doing it and getting paid by her tax dollars as well as ours. It's a sure thing she'll run out of money, and her rights, long before then.

    I recall at the beginning of his presidency Obama said no more federal raids and prosecutions of medical marijuana users. That must have got lost along with Holder's memos about ATF's "Fast and Furious"

    "...the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table." District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S., at __ (slip op., at 64) (2008)

  2. For a minute there Hawk25 I thought you had a valid point then I reread the article.

    "from possessing, receiving, shipping or transporting firearms and ammunition.:

    They covered the 'possessing" part in that statement.

    I really did think you were on to something though. ;)

  3. This has been one of my biggest disappointments in Pres. Obama. It is not like he doesn't have enough problems now, but to alienate yet another constituency seems to be the height of foolishness, especially since the people he seems to be trying to please with this bit of stupidity would NEVER have voted for him in the first place.

    Or maybe the people he is REALLY trying to please is the Big Pharma groups who are deadset against legalization since it would knock their business into the dirt. Either way though, it doesn't matter since people will NEVER stop doing it. If we have to grow it in our own houses and take it all the way to the Supreme Court to prove that our homes are our castles, then that is what we will do.