Judge: Gun ban for marijuana users unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma federal judge has ruled that a federal law barring marijuana users from owning firearms is unconstitutional. .

Attorneys for Jared Michael Harrison argued that their client’s Second Amendment right to bear arms is violated by a federal law that makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to possess firearms.

Harrison was charged after police arrested him following a traffic stop in Lawton, Oklahoma, in May 2022. During a search of his car, police found a loaded revolver and marijuana. Harrison told police that he was on his way to work at a medical marijuana dispensary, but that he did not have a state-issued medical marijuana card.

His attorneys argued that the part of the federal firearms law that focuses on drug users or drug addicts is inconsistent with the country’s historic tradition of regulating firearms, echoing a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year. In a case known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. This case set new standards for interpreting the Second Amendment.

Federal prosecutors argued that the part of the law that focuses on drug users “is consistent with a long-standing historical tradition in America of disarming those who are considered to be at risk, namely criminals, the mentally ill and drunks.”

U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City agreed with Harrison’s attorneys, ruling Friday that federal prosecutors’ arguments that Harrison’s status as a marijuana user “justifies the deprivation of his fundamental right to own firearms … is not a constitutionally permissible remedy.” Disarming Harrison.”

“But the simple use of marijuana contains none of the characteristics that the nation’s history and tradition of gun regulation supports,” said Wyrick, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump. In his ruling, Wyrick noted that under Oklahoma law, marijuana can be legally purchased at more than 2,000 stores in the state.

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Attorneys for Harrison, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma, which prosecuted the case, did not immediately return an email seeking comment Sunday.

The decision came Thursday after a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the government cannot stop people who have domestic violence restraining orders. from possessing arms against them. The panel referred to Bruen’s decision in its decision. Two of the panel’s three judges are Trump appointees.

The Department of Justice said it would seek a further review of the appeals court’s decision.

In September, a federal judge in Midland, Texas, ruled that a firearms law that prohibits felons from buying guns is unconstitutional. In that case, U.S. District Judge David Counts, also a Trump appointee, echoed the Supreme Court’s language in the Bruen case, saying there is “little evidence” that the ban on the charge “is consistent with this nation’s historic tradition.”

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