Can I Own a Gun if I’m a Marijuana User?

August 28, 2017 by Mikel Rastegar in Rights   Leave a Comment
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Federal Law

When purchasing a gun, you are required to fill out Federal “Firearms Transactions Record” Form (ATF Form 4473), where question 11e specifically inquires about your current drug usage. If you take marijuana medically or recreationally, and answer this question honestly, you will be disqualified from purchasing the gun.

“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? the use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medical or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has even sent letters to gun dealers stating, “There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law.” So the Feds have made it clear. You can’t possess a firearm because you’re a criminal in the eyes of the Federal government. This makes you a prohibited person.

California Law

California law does not prohibit marijuana users from having guns, however using a gun in connection with an offense such as cultivation or possession with sale can result in additional criminal gun charges at the state level.

Users are advised to keep guns in a location that is separate from their marijuana, and locked up.

Background Checks for Firearm Sales

Americans set a record in 2016 for the number of “National Instant Criminal Background Checks” for firearms purchases processed. It is the most accurate indicator of the number of firearm sales, because nearly all sales by federally licensed firearm dealers require a background check, as do most private sales.

Given the increasingly large number of checks associated with gun sales, this is another important caveat to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing a gun.

2nd Amendment Violation?

So far, every Federal Circuit Court agrees that it is constitutional to ban marijuana users from owning a gun. The court found persuasion in “Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of drugs [including marijuana] raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

To some citizens, the reasoning is simple: First, drugs and guns don’t mix. Second, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level (classified as a Schedule I, putting it in the same category as heroin, LSD and ecstasy) despite legal at the state level in California. It is currently the “law of the land”.

To others, including gun rights advocates and medical marijuana advocates, it’s a clear violation of the second amendment right to keep and bear arms. Some say that it puts an unreasonable burden on gun sellers to police customers. They also argue that there is little evidence or insight into whether there is any connection between marijuana use and gun violence. The effects of Marijuana on a person generally does not cause violence, but rather calms a person’s demeanor.


Best option is to decide which is more important, and chose one or the other. If you fill out the form stating that you do not use cannabis, when in fact you do, and later you are arrested with a gun in your possession as well as marijuana or even just a medical marijuana card, you may be charged with illegal possession of a firearm under Federal Law.

If you or a loved one is being charged with Possession of Marijuana or Illegal Possession of a Firearm in the State of California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone. Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 16 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

Need a Los Angeles Marijuana Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

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[1] http://www.fed-soc.org/blog/detail/marijuana-use-and-firearm-ownership

[2] http://www.canorml.org/faq.html

[3] http://fortune.com/2016/09/01/medical-marijuana-gun/

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