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Judge Calls Law Barring Pot Users From Gun Owning Unconstitutional

A federal judge ruled that a federal law prohibiting people who use marijuana from owning firearms is unconstitutional, the latest challenge to firearms regulations after the U.S. Supreme Court new standards for reviewing the nation’s gun laws. Lawyers for Jared Michael Harrison argued that their client’s Second Amendment right to bear arms was being violated by a federal law that makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to possess firearms, the Associated Press reports. Harrison was arrested in Lawton, Ok., in May 2022 after a traffic stop. During a search of his car, police found a loaded revolver and marijuana. Harrison told police he had been on his way to work at a medical marijuana dispensary.

His lawyers argued the portion of federal firearms law focused on drug users or addicts was not consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation, echoing what the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Federal prosecutors argued that the portion of the law focused on drug users is “consistent with a longstanding historical tradition in America of disarming presumptively risky persons, namely, felons, the mentally ill, and the intoxicated.” U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City agreed with Harrison’s lawyers, ruling on Friday that federal 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.” The judge said "the mere use of marijuana carries none of the characteristics that the Nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation supports.” Wyrick said that under Oklahoma law, marijuana can be bought legally at more than 2,000 store fronts in the state. Last week, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled that the government can’t stop people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from owning guns.


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