The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit challenging U.S. gun control laws pertaining to the prohibition of gun ownership by medical marijuana users, naming Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. Government as defendants.
In addition, Steve Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and FBI Director Christopher Wray are also named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
SAF is joined by Warren County, Pa. District Attorney Robert Greene, who has served in that office since 2013 and currently possesses a medical marijuana ID card under Pennsylvania law. They are represented by attorneys Adam Kraut, who serves as SAF executive director, and Joshua Prince of Bechtelsville, Pa.
It is an unusual case, and could have massive implications.
According to SAF’s Kraut, “Medicinal marijuana has been adopted by 38 states despite federal inaction on the issue. With the increasing acceptance of medical cannabis, millions of Americans are forced to choose between the exercise of their Second Amendment rights or treating their symptoms with a substance that disenfranchises them from their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Such a choice is incompatible with the constitution and finds no basis in this country’s history and tradition. We look forward to vindicating the rights of medical marijuana users.”
The 28-page complaint includes a brief history of cannabis dating back to the Revolutionary War era. There is evidence that George Washington grew hemp, as did Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
“Washington’s diaries indicated he grew hemp at Mount Vernon for about 30 years and that he may have had a particular interest in the medicinal use of Cannabis,” the lawsuit notes.
“The use of medical marijuana should not translate to an automatic surrender of one’s Second Amendment rights,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in a prepared statement. “The current restrictions unquestionably and arbitrarily infringe on the right to keep and bear arms, and the restriction lacks any director or analogous historical support, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen ruling.”
Elsewhere in the lawsuit, it acknowledges, “Use of cannabis as a recreational drug was relatively uncommon through most of the 19th century in the United States.”
The complaint notes, “It was not until 1938 that the first federal prohibition against individuals from possessing firearms or ammunition were codified in the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 (“FFA”).8 41. The statute specifically made it unlawful for any person who was under indictment or convicted of a crime of violence or a fugitive from justice to shop, transport or receive a firearm or ammunition.”
The complaint also includes a quick look at federal law and regulations pertaining to marijuana.
The lawsuit asks that the court to enjoin enforcement of federal laws pertaining to cannabis, and find the laws to be in violation of the Second Amendment.