The Pennsylvania State Police are angering some gun owners in the Keystone State. You see, the state now has a medical marijuana program. They also have people with guns. And, like the police in other states, they don’t want people with medical marijuana cards to have guns.
Pennsylvania State Police officials are stirring up protest among Pennsylvania gun-owners who are also potential medical marijuana patients.
“It disturbs me greatly to see the Pennsylvania State Police put on their website references to federal law while ignoring the fact that it is legal under Pennsylvania law,” says Patrick Nightingale of Greenfield.
Nightingale is a gun owner, a criminal defense attorney, and a recent applicant for a medical marijuana card.
What disturbs him is a State Police statement on their website, citing federal law, telling medical marijuana card holders, “It is unlawful for you to keep possession of any firearms which you owned or had in your possession prior to obtaining a medical marijuana card, and you should consult an attorney about the best way to dispose of your firearms.”
Not true, says Nightingale.
Unfortunately for Nightingale, it seems the courts disagree. This is a matter for either federal legislators or the court systems to work out.
However, there’s one good thing working in favor of Nightingale and his fellow Pennsylvania gun owners. Because the state doesn’t have gun registration, they can’t send letters to people demanding they give up their firearms. In other words, the Pennsylvania State Police can’t do what the Honolulu Police Department did.
Instead, they have to resort to asking politely for people to get rid of their guns.
I think we all know how that’ll turn out.
One major problem we’re going to have moving forward is that as more states legalize marijuana for whatever reasons, be they medical or recreational, gun owners in these states who partake will have to deal with this problem. Does using a substance legal in your state but not on the federal level mean you’re ineligible to own a firearm? Should it?
The Tenth Amendment delegates all authority not prescribed to the federal government as belonging to the states or the people, and a case could be made that nothing in the Constitution specifies Uncle Sam’s authority on drugs, so that authority lies with the states. After all, a constitutional amendment was needed to ban alcohol, an amendment repealed shortly afterward. Why are drugs any different, and if they’re not, why should it inhibit anyone’s ability to own a firearm?
I’m pretty sure the courts disagree with me on pretty much every level, which is a shame.
What that means is that we need a definitive answer from higher authorities, be that the Supreme Court or Congress. At this point, I’m not overly picky who does what so long as the situation is clarified.
That said, that clarification needs to bear in mind that the right to keep and bear arms is a sacred, constitutionally protected right that doesn’t need to go away because someone gets permission to consume a product legal in their locale.