ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 7, 2019) – Today, the Maryland Senate unanimously passed a bill to prohibit the Maryland State Police from denying a firearm purchase by a person on the basis of their use of medical marijuana under state law.
A bipartisan effort from Sen. Michael Hough (R) and Sen. Robert Zirkin (D), Senate Bill 97 (SB97) was introduced on Jan. 14. It reads: “A person may not be denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm under this title solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis under title 13, subtitle 33 of the health – general article.”
On Friday, the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee passed it by a vote of 11-0. Today, the full Senate passed it by a vote of 46-0.
As Suzanne Sherman noted in a recent article, the federal government has long claimed the power to restrict the right to keep and bear arms of medical marijuana patients:
If you purchase a firearm from an FFL, you will be presented with the Firearms Transaction Record form 4473, which you must, under penalty of perjury, answer fully and truthfully. You may see it for yourself HERE.
Question 11(c) asks prospective gun purchasers if they are unlawfully using any controlled substances. You think, “Hey, I can answer ‘no,’ as marijuana is now legal in my state. Immediately following the inquiry is the following admonition (in bold letters):
“Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law, regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
Not surprisingly, in 2016, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of appeals ruled that this restriction does not violate the Second Amendment.
Most states have adopted this federal ban on owning firearms for medical marijuana users, or simply help in its enforcement. In Hawaii, for example, police have sent letters to medical marijuana patients who owned guns telling them they had 30 days to surrender their weapons, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The Maryland State Police, who oversee gun ownership in the state, ask prospective gun buyers if they have a medical marijuana card. Buyers must allow the state health department to disclose whether they have applied for a card. SB97 would put that to an end.
While passage of SB97 wouldn’t overturn the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, it would remove the local enforcement arm of that unconstitutional act in Maryland. And as has been seen so prominently in immigration sanctuary cities and states with marijuana legalization, when state and local enforcement ends, the federal government has an extremely difficult time enforcing their acts.
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from the states.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
Last fall, Utah was the first pass legislation to help make federal gun bans for medical marijuana patients “nearly impossible” to enforce. The new law prohibits expending any state or local resources, including an officers time, to “enforce a law that restricts an individual’s right to acquire, own, or possess a firearm based solely on the individual’s possession or use of cannabis in accordance with state medical cannabis laws.”
SB97 will now move to the House for further consideration. It will first need to pass out of committee before the full chamber has an opportunity to concur.
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