District Judge Declares Gun Ban For Marijuana Users Unconstitutional

February 6, 2023
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On Friday, U.S. District Judge Patrick R. Wyrick dismissed an indictment against Jared Michael Harrison. According to Wyrick, the statute relied upon to ban marijuana users from owning guns is "unconstitutionally vague, in violation of the Due Process Clause, and unconstitutionally infringes upon his fundamental right to possess a firearm, in violation of the Second Amendment."

Harrison had been indicted by a federal grand jury on August 17, 2022, for being in possession of a handgun while also being an "unlawful user of marijuana." The statute relied upon for the indictment, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) bans the possession of firearms for anyone "who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act)."

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In response to Harrison's contention that he had a right to possess a firearm, arguing that 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) "infringed on that right," Wyrick wrote:

Section 922(g)(3) does not have deep roots; it wasn’t enacted by Congress until the Gun Control Act of 1968. The statute initially prohibited any individual  who was “an unlawful user of or addicted to marihuana or any depressant or stimulant drug . . . or narcotic drug” from receiving a firearm, but it was amended in 1986 to broadly prohibit the receipt or possession of a firearm by any person who “is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)).” In its modern form, § 922(g)(3) thus strips a person of their fundamental right to possess a firearm the instant the person becomes an “unlawful user” of marijuana. And in the United States’ view, all users of marijuana are “unlawful users.”

Wyrick compared the indictment against the Supreme Court's Bruen (2022) decision as he noted, "The question here is thus whether stripping someone of their right to possess a firearm solely because they use marijuana is consistent with the Nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation. If it is not, then § 922(g)(3) cannot be constitutionally applied to Harrison - no matter the reasonableness of the policy it embodies."

“18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) violates Harrison’s Second Amendment right to possess a firearm,” Wyrick concluded before he granted the motion to dismiss Harrison's indictment.

The case is United States v. Harrison, No. CR-22-00328-PRW in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.



Jen Snow

Jen Snow is a former paralegal turned freelance writer who has a passion for foreign affairs. When not writing, she can be found curled up with her dog and a good book or outside playing in the Florida sun.
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