We live in a Republic, not a democracy and we live in a Federalist system which means we live under two or more sets of laws simultaneously. Without going into a public school education civics class refresher let me put it this way. Its similar to being at grandma’s house. Grandma had the final say-so on some things but Mom still had the final say-so on other things.

Originally, the federal government was crafted and intended to only have 30-35 enumerated powers given to it by the U.S. Constitution. The number differs only in how you count them in the list and ‘enumerated’ simply means ‘listed.’

However, over the years the length, breadth, and depth of the Federal government has expanded exponentially. One of those expansions was in rights regarding firearms. This particular discussion isn’t about the history or appropriateness of that expansion except to simply say that it happened. Another penetration of the federal government into our private lives is the so-called “war on drugs.” Once again, I’m not discussing the right or wrong of this issue but simply that it is a fact.

Now here’s the spiderweb that is currently at issue in Ohio and West Virgina and will more than likely expand to Kentucky as well. Its still illegal under federal law to purchase or possess a firearm if you answer ‘yes’ to the following question:

“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.”

This is question #11e on the ATF Form 4473 that you must complete in order to legally purchase a firearm from a Federally-licensed firearms dealer such as Bare Arms. An answer of ‘yes’ immediately and without recourse disqualifies you from being able to complete the transaction. Moreover don’t be fooled into thinking buying guns from private citizens ‘off-paper’ would make you any more safe or legal in this regard, the same standards apply even if you aren’t using the form or calling in the background check. It would still be illegal under federal law to sell, or transfer, to a medical marijuana user/possessor. The federal government considers the prescription itself or the card issued to be ipso facto proof, that is, proof in and of itself.

This article is simply stating the facts as they currently are, this is not a discussion of what to do to fix the problem or how we got to this point, or what is wrong with our system. The point of this article is to educate law-abiding gun owners so they remain law-abiding gun owners. If you have any specific legal issues arising from this contradiction in state and federal laws we here at Bare Arms advise you contact a licensed attorney as soon as possible.

Tom R. Hall


For more information in WV:  http://dhhr.wv.gov/bph/Pages/Medical-Cannabis-Program.aspx

For more information in OH: https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov

For more information from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations