By "Radical" Russ Belville
Of the sixteen states that currently recognize our Ninth and Tenth Amendment rights to medical use of cannabis*, perhaps none is more associated with love of the Second Amendment’s Right to Bear Arms than Montana (maybe Michigan). So it is no surprise that the people of Montana are reacting most strongly to the recent memo by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosivesexplaining how registered medical marijuana patients dutifully obeying state law do not have a right to purchase or own weapons and ammunition.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, both of Montana’s senators and its representative have come out against the BATFE memo:
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and the memo’s author urging them to “immediately reconsider this misguided effort.”
“These regulatory changes infringe upon the privacy and Second Amendment rights of Montanans while placing an unreasonable burden upon the small business owners who sell firearms and ammunition,” Tester wrote.
“It is unacceptable that law-abiding citizens would be stripped of their Second Amendment rights simply because they hold a state-issued card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes,” Tester added.
Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, through his spokesman Jed Link, criticized the policy and the Obama administration.
“Between the ATF clamping down on gun rights and two new anti-gun Supreme Court justices, Montanans’ Second Amendment rights are once again under fire from Washington,” Link said.
Sen. Max Baucus said he will continue to defend individual gun rights.
“I’m concerned to hear ATF may be impeding the rights of law-abiding folks,” Baucus said. “Individual gun rights must be protected, and I’ll never stop fighting to make sure they stay intact.”
The Belgrade News reports that Montana’s Attorney General, Steve Bullock, has also criticizes the Obama Administration’s move to disarm lawful medical marijuana patients:
The ATF’s edict that marijuana users may not own or possess firearms or ammunition “implicates serious legal issues under the Second Amendment, and the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fifth Amendment,” Bullock said. It also flies in the face of the state constitution, which protects the right to hunt.
Bullock said some medical marijuana cardholders may not use the drug all of the time, yet the firearm restriction would apply to them for as long as the card was valid. Also, marijuana patients must have the written authorization of a physician to obtain a card, a fact the ATF ignored.
“The ATF letter does not take this into account, even though the controlling federal regulation recognizes that a person who uses a controlled substance in a manner prescribed by a physician is not disqualified from possessing or buying ammunition or guns” under federal law, he said.
The prohibitionists seriously miscalculated when they went after the guns of medical marijuana patients. I’m hearing from people who aren’t particularly fond of marijuana, period, but find this move by the federal government deeply disturbing. I think the feds anticipated that the public would applaud keeping guns away from “druggies”, failing to realize that many people don’t consider marijuana a serious drug problem compared to the meth, crack, or heroin plaguing their neighborhood and that a majority support the medical use of marijuana. The silver lining is that the blowback from this federal overreach is bringing some people off the fence into supporting our side.
*Yeah, I know, the Supreme Court doesn’t see it that way, but if you ask me, the Ninth Amendment applies because it says just because a right isn’t enumerated in the Constitution doesn’t mean it isn’t a right, and I can’t believe a nation full of hemp farmers would have ever conceived of a need to enumerate the right to plant and sow crops. The Tenth applies because rights not bestowed to the federal government by the Constitution – like the governing of medical practice – are reserved to the States and to the People.