Missouri lawmaker takes on federal law barring medical marijuana users from owning firearms

A Missouri state representative has vowed to protect medicinal marijuana users’ gun rights – even though federal law bars the sale of guns to those who use the drug.

Earlier this month, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medicinal cannabis. Amendment 2 will allow people with the appropriate identification cards issued by the state to purchase or grow marijuana.

But those approved to use medicinal marijuana may have to face a choice between possessing a firearm and using the substance, according to the Kansas City Star.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has said it’s against federal law for someone who uses “any controlled substance” from “shipping, transporting, receiving or possessing firearms or ammunition.” It says marijuana – even medicinal marijuana – is considered a “controlled substance.”

“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 ATF said in a 2011 letter.

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Missouri state Rep. Nick Schroer, a Republican, said his “goal is to ultimately get the federal government to honor our 10th Amendment rights and allow us to navigate this issue in our own state legislature.”

“Plain and simple, I am against the federal government stopping law-abiding citizens here in Missouri from purchasing firearms and utilizing their [Second Amendment] rights,” Shroer said in a Facebook post. “We as a state and nation are not stripping the 2nd Amendment rights from those who have had alcohol issues/DWIs, or who are prescribed fentanyl patches for pain, or who have addiction problems; so what is the reasoning for stripping someone's rights who is legally using medicinal marijuana in our state?”

John Ham, a public information officer with the ATF's Kansas City Field Division, confirmed to the Springfield News-Leader that there’s still no exception for medicinal marijuana, despite what a state law says.

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The Kansas City Star’s editorial board said the law “creates a serious dilemma for gun-carrying Missourians in need of medical marijuana. Do they choose protection or pain treatment?”

“Targeting law-abiding gun owners carrying medical marijuana cards is not the best use of federal resources,” it said in an editorial.