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ATF Adds Explicit Warning to Firearm Purchases Prohibiting Marijuana Users

ATF Marijuana Gun Ban

Medical marijuana patients and legal recreational marijuana consumers can no longer own or possess guns given the August ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the ban on any marijuana users – legal or illegal – from owning guns due to “increased risk for unpredictable behavior.”  The ATF has officially added an explicit warning on its Firearms Transaction Record, Form 4473, to reflect the changes.

Form 4473 is considered as the most important ATF form, according to The Cannabist. A new warning has been added to the document reminding applicants that marijuana is still federally illegal which disqualifies marijuana users, legal or not, from possessing a firearm.

Lisa Meiman from the Denver Field Division of the ATF said, “Since more states have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana use since 2012, the ATF took the opportunity to clarify the existing federal law regarding marijuana use and gun ownership. Nothing change with the revisions. We sought to clarify, for both buyers and dealers, what the law was regarding marijuana use and firearm possession.”

Meiman also said, “We were concerned that some buyers who use marijuana may read the 2012 language asking if they were an ‘unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana’ and erroneously said no because in that particular state, marijuana has been legalized. Most dealers recognize that marijuana use prohibits people from purchasing firearms under federal law, but many members of the general public may not be as familiar with the Gun Control Act.”

On January 16, 2017, Form 4473 will include the text: “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.”