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March 31, 2023
In Oklahoma a Federal Judge has ruled that a federal law which bars US citizens who take marijuana from owning a gun is unconstitutional.
Lawyers acting for Jared Michael Harrison stated that their client’s second amendment right to bear arms was violated by a federal law which makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to own a gun.
In May 2022, Harrison was charged after being arrested by police during a routine traffic stop in Lawton, Oklahoma. When searching Harrison’s car, officers located both a loaded gun and some marijuana. When asked for an explanation, Harrison informed the officers that he was enroute to work at a medical marijuana dispensary, but he did not have his state-issued medical-marijuana card to hand.
Federal prosecutors argued that the main focus of the federal firearms law is “consistent with a longstanding historical tradition in America of disarming presumptively risky persons, namely, felons, the mentally ill, and the intoxicated”.
Judge Patrick Wyrick, agreed with Harrison’s lawyers. The judge ruled on Friday that prosecutors’ arguments that Harrison’s status as a marijuana user “justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm … is not a constitutionally permissible means of disarming Harrison”.
“But the mere use of marijuana carries none of the characteristics that the nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation supports,” said Wyrick.
Wyrick also added that marijuana can be purchased legally in over 2000 stores in the state.
Laura Deskin, who is a public defend and was part of Harrison’s legal team, said the ruling was a “step in the right direction for a large number of Americans who deserve the right to bear arms and protect their homes just like any other American.” She called marijuana the most commonly used drug illegal at the federal level.
The U.S. Department of Justice have not responded to any requests for comment.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS