We recently have had an increase in this question. This isn’t a surprise seeing how recently the laws have changed. So we want to settle the debate and make sure that you are aware of the laws and how it will affect you.
The question of the whether or not you can purchase a firearm and have a medical marijuana card (MMC). Some think you can and other argue you can’t. So let's dig into this and get to the bottom of the answer. For the ones who believe you can. Why can’t I buy a firearm the state laws have changed and now its legal right? Well it's not as simple as that. The use of marijuana is not legal on a federal level. It is still a federal offense to possess marijuana. So if your local police officer pulls you over they aren’t going to charge you with a crime because it's legal in the state of Missouri. Now if you get pulled over by a federal law enforcement officer that’s not going to be the same luck.
The Federal Firearms License (FFL) which all firearms dealers are required to have in order to legally operate is managed by federal law. This is where it gets complicated when you are aware of how the background process works. When you come in to purchase a firearm you are filling out a federal document called the 4473. Currently at the time of writing questions 21e will be changing to 21g of the ATF from 4473.
This questions states:
Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? 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.
With this in mind that means if you answer no to this question you have lied on a federal document. This means you are able to be charged with a felony for lying on a federal document.
With all this in mind that means per ATF guidance that you are not able to purchase a firearm if you have or are believed to have a medical marijuana card. Let's be clear if any FFL believes you to be under the influence of anything and it is impairing you we are not able to sell you a firearm.
There is one big factor to keep in mind and that is if you have gotten a medical marijuana card and you currently own a firearm what does that mean? Well currently there is no laws that we are aware of that states you have to surrender or turn in those firearms. So you may not be able to buy a new one but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the ones that you already have.
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ATF guidance issued 09/21/2011