Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Washington DC?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in Washington DC?

No. Washington DC does not permit medical marijuana patients to own guns in compliance with federal laws.

Can Washington DC Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

District of Columbia medical marijuana patients cannot legally carry firearms. They are prohibited from owning firearms in line with federal laws.

Does Washington DC Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Although Washington DC requires background checks to obtain firearms permits, the state does not issue gun permits to medical marijuana patients. DC prohibits marijuana users from possessing guns in line with federal legislation.

Can You Get a Washington DC Medical Marijuana Card After Getting a Gun License?

Qualifying patients in Washington DC cannot get medical marijuana cards after obtaining gun licenses. However, patients can get firearms permits at the expiration of their medical marijuana cards. In addition, their spouses of registered medical cannabis patients are allowed to get firearms permits.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Washington DC

The Use of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Law makes no provision for gun ownership by medical marijuana patients in Washington DC. The District of Columbia is under the U.S. Congress' authority. As a result, gun ownership by medical marijuana patients is prohibited.

What Federal Law Says About the Firearm Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

The Gun Control Act of 1968 re-categorized firearms and prohibited their sales to illegal drug users, including medical cannabis users. It also authorizes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to regulate and license manufacturers and dealers of firearms in the United States. The ATF provides a Firearms Transaction Record form (Form 4473) that must be completed by a potential gun buyer during a firearm transaction. Form 4473 has a field that inquires if the potential buyer uses marijuana. Lying about cannabis use on the form is a felony offense that attracts the following penalties:

  • Up to 10 years imprisonment in a federal prison
  • Up to $250,000 fines
  • Revocation of firearms
  • Potential life ban from purchasing firearms

In 2011, the ATF issued an open letter to firearms dealers prohibiting them from selling firearms to medical cannabis patients because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. The Wilson v. Lynch case challenged the legality of the Gun Control Act and ATF’s open letter in 2016. Wilson was denied the right to purchase a gun in Nevada because she possessed an active Nevada medical marijuana card. She filed a case of violation of her Second Amendment rights at a federal District Court. The District Court dismissed the case following the ATF’s motion to do so, but Wilson appealed the ruling at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court affirmed the ruling of the District Court and also dismissed the appeal. The court ruled that Wilson’s Second Amendment rights were not violated as she was not denied the right to own guns but was only prohibited from purchasing one, being a registered medical marijuana cardholder.

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