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Feds: Gun Ownership and Medical Pot Don't Go Together

Prop 19 failed, and CA goes another election cycle without legalizing marijuana (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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If you have a medical marijuana card, the feds don't want you to have a gun.

The revelation comes not from a new law but from a letter put out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last week, the Associated Press reports. The letter states: "There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by state law."

This latest move is making strange bedfellows of Second Amendment enthusiasts and medical pot advocates. Both groups are complaining that thousands of people in the 16 states that have legalized medical pot could have their gun rights taken away from them. This move also seems to contradict the Obama administration's earlier stance on medical pot laws: a DOJ memo from 2009 said the administration wouldn't go after users.

Federal firearm licensees aren't allowed to sell guns to people who used controlled substances. Gun dealers are required to ask buyers if they're using drugs. If a buyer answers 'yes' and flashes a pot card to prove that it's totally legal, dude, the seller now has to turn the customer away.

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But gun dealers said don't think this will be a big problem for them, since buyers aren't required to tell gun sellers that they have a card. "Who's going to say yes to that?" asked Damon Peters, a sales associate for Montana Outdoor Sports in Helena. (This response might also be an inadvertent argument against the usefulness of certain gun control measures or an argument for stricter measures, depending on your stance.)

The second reason gun dealers aren't too worried is that they don't believe that there is a whole lot of overlap between medical pot users and hunters.

"A lot of users of medical marijuana aren't really shooting sports enthusiasts, anyway," said Peters, a licensed hunting guide. "I think we may see a sale or two lost, but I don't see anything dramatic that's going to affect us."