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Marijuana Use and Firearm Ownership

Joseph Greenlee November 29, 2016
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On November 8th, voters approved recreational marijuana initiatives in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada, and medicinal marijuana initiatives in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas (Montanans voted to roll back already existing medical marijuana restrictions). 28 states and the District of Columbia have now passed laws legalizing the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana.   

Meanwhile, Americans set a record in each of the last 18 months for the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System firearm background checks processed, which is the most accurate indicator of the number of firearm sales (because nearly all sales by federally licensed firearm dealers require a background check, as do many private sales). This year almost certainly will surpass 2015 as the year with the most firearm background checks ever. 

Thus, legal marijuana use and firearm ownership are likely both at all-time highs. However, since federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3)) makes it a felony for an “unlawful user of … any controlled substance” to “possess … any firearm,” and since marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, it is a felony for a user of marijuana to possess a firearm.   [Read More]

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Constitution

Peruta, Flanagan, and the Right to Bear Arms in the Ninth Circuit

Joseph Greenlee August 29, 2016
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On June 9, 2016, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its highly publicized, and highly scrutinized, decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego. In its decision, the court clumsily mischaracterized the issue and ignored the complete ban on bearing arms facing the plaintiffs, instead determining only that a concealed carry ban in isolation is constitutional. While the court’s holding was indeed supported by substantial precedent, it failed to even address the argument presented by the plaintiffs—that the Second Amendment protects the right to publicly bear arms in some manner, whether openly or concealed. Thus, after 7 years of litigation, the plaintiffs’ dispute remains completely unresolved. Here is a quick update on what has happened since. [Read More]

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gun flag and constitution

Author Response: Interpreting Peruta v. County of San Diego by Joseph Greenlee

Joseph Greenlee June 17, 2016
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Mr. Nichols,

I appreciate your response, although I do believe it is misguided.I’ll address each of your points below:

First, you contend that “Not a single one of the cases you cited upheld prohibitions on concealed carry ‘when, or because, open carry was available.’"  I’ll walk through them in order. 

  1. State v. Reid, 1 Ala. 612 (1840).

First, open carry was in fact permitted in Alabama at the time of the Reid decision. Indeed, the Attorney General defended the concealed carry ban by pointing out that “Every man was still left free to carry arms openly.” Id. at 614. [Read More]