The marijuana user’s right to keep and bear arms – is it insane? Not unless they’re high right now, according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In this most recent ruling, judges look to the Founders to determine just who should be stripped of the right to keep and bear arms – and it seems alcoholics, potheads, and other habitual drug users aren’t quite crazy enough to qualify.
According to federal law – specifically Title 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) – anyone who is “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance,” which includes marijuana, is prohibited from possessing a firearm. This ban applies not just when the person is intoxicated, but also while sober. According to the Fifth Circuit ruling in U.S. v. Daniels, however, this violates the Second Amendment – and it’s just downright un-American, to boot.
Marijuana, Marihuana – Either Way, It’s No Excuse to Disarm
“Just as there was no historical justification for disarming a citizen of sound mind, there is no tradition that supports disarming a sober citizen who is not currently under an impairing influence,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote. He went on to explain that the judges compared how the Founders treated the insane and the inebriated side-by-side. “The Founders purportedly institutionalized the insane and stripped them of their guns; but they allowed alcoholics to possess firearms while sober,” Smith explained. “We must ask, in Bruen-style analogical reasoning, which is Daniels more like: a categorically ‘insane’ person? Or a repeat alcohol user? Given his periodic marihuana usage, Daniels is firmly in the latter camp. If and when Daniels uses marihuana, he may be compared to a mentally ill individual whom the Founders would have disarmed. But while sober, he is like the repeat alcohol user in between periods of drunkenness …”
In other words, Patrick Daniels, a guy who admitted to smoking weed “multiple days per month” and was convicted of unlawfully possessing a firearm, is only “insane” enough to disarm when he’s high. On the flip side of that coin, if the law as applied in this case were constitutional, it would mean that habitual users or addicts of alcohol would be – ethically, if not legally – in the same boat. It’s a fair comparison, but perhaps a rock most Americans, including many of our nation’s lawmakers, judges, and law enforcement officers, don’t want to peek under.
A Break for Hunter?
If, however, the court can compare users of alcohol and weed in this context, then other drug users could catch a break, as well. The law in question doesn’t say “marijuana” – or “marihuana,” to use the Fifth Circuit Court’s spelling choice, both of which are technically correct – it says “any controlled substance.” Despite the judges’ chosen analog, alcohol is not a controlled substance regulated under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).
Cocaine is – and that might be good news for Hunter Biden.
“Even though Hunter Biden’s situation is readily distinguishable from that of Patrick Daniels, it’s possible the Justice Department could rationalize that the 5th Circuit’s ruling supports its exercise of discretion to give Biden deferred-prosecution treatment (as currently proposed, two years of probationary conditions followed by dismissal if the conditions are met) in a plea agreement,” former Assistant US Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Fox News.
Shots Fired by the Fifth Circuit
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit ruled in U.S. v. Rahimi that a federal law barring alleged domestic abusers under restraining orders from having firearms violated their Second Amendment rights. As Erich Pratt, the chief spokesman for Gun Owners of America, told Liberty Nation’s Scott D. Cosenza, Esq, this law is no longer valid in the Fifth Circuit “because of the provision at issue, which purports to revoke the Second Amendment rights without prosecution and conviction of a crime.” More recently, the Fifth Circuit took a stand against both the ATF’s new pistol brace rule and changes to the definition of a firearm, both naked attempts by the executive to “legislate” without Congress.
This latest ruling is good news for Mr. Daniels, who was arrested and subsequently convicted after police searched his vehicle and found guns and weed. It seems likely to help the president’s troubled son. It’s a win for gun owners who want to partake of a little intoxication on occasion and, in a broader sense, it means one more judicial hole poked in Joe Biden’s campaign to disarm America by any means necessary.
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