Nevada: Gun Ownership Appeal for Medical Marijuana User Goes Up in Smoke

In a 3-0 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana cardholders.

According to an AP report, the lawsuit was filed by S. Rowan Wilson of Nevada. Wilson tried to buy a firearm for self defense in 2011, but was denied the purchase by the gun store, citing the line on Form 4473 preventing the sale of firearms to illegal drug users. 

While marijuana use is legalized in some states, its use remains illegal under federal law.

Wilson claims she doesn’t actually use medical marijuana, but obtained a prescription to show support for its legalization. In an open letter from Athur Herbert, BATFE Assistant Director of Enforcement Programs and Services, he issued guidelines to FFL holders stating that “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.”

Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, plans to appeal the decision. Appeal options include the same panel of judges, a larger panel of the circuit court, or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit Court is a large court, hearing approximately 12,000 appeals a year. Efforts to break up the court include the Judicial Administration and Improvement Act of 2017, which would create a new 12th Circuit Court of Appeals covering Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Washington state. The states remaining in the new 9th Circuit would include California, Oregon, Hawaii, and the territories of both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Do you have questions about whether your gun ownership rights are affected by a medical condition that is being treated with marijuana, and you’d like to find out what steps, if any, you can take to restore your gun rights? If so, call the Non-Emergency number on the front of your Membership card and talk to an attorney about your specific situation. Or join us at a Gun Law Seminar and ask one of our Independent Program Attorneys for guidance. Click here to see a listing of seminars available across the country.