Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fed's Say Medical Marijuana Patients Can't Own Guns!

According to a recent memo from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it is illegal for any of Montana's 26,492 registered medical marijuana patients — to own or possess firearms or ammunition.

That information was included in a letter written last week by ATF Assistant Director for Enforcement Programs and Services Arthur Herbert to all federal firearms licensees, giving them guidance on what to do if a firearm customer reveals that he or she is a medical marijuana patient.

According to the letter, "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."

The letter goes on to state that federal firearms licensees may not transfer firearms or ammunition to such a customer.

Jon Svaren is a 15-year Navy veteran who was honorably discharged in 2009. Svaren also is a medical marijuana patient who said he still is recovering from surgery last November to repair a severe back injury. Svaren, who lives and works on a farm north of Hardin, also is a gun owner who hunts birds and uses firearms to control varmints on the farm.

Svaren said he was "blown away" but the language of the memo.

"To take away my Second Amendment rights is contrary to everything I've ever fought for, and contrary to every oath of enlistment I've taken," Svaren said.

Pro-gun rights and medical marijuana advocates also were outraged by the letter, which they say singles out a specific group of citizens and attempts to strip them of their Second Amendment rights.

"The cannabis issue has become representative of nation-wide concerns," said Kate Cholewa, a board member of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association. "Citizens are increasingly concerned that the government, rather than expressing the will of the citizens, now sees itself as separate from the citizens and is imposing their will upon the people."


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