A couple of days ago, I linked to an Op-Ed on our Facebook page. The editorial in the New Haven Register was from Ed Meyer, a Connecticut State Senator, who is proposing new draconian legislation for gun control. In essence, he lives in a fantasy world where limiting people to single-shot firearms will magically bring about a society where we’ll all just get along, and nobody will ever get hurt again.
Of course, those of us who actually live in THIS world realize that this will never happen, and the ramifications of this law would be dire. While he is not a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group, he’s more than willing to jump on the bandwagon.
This Op-Ed was so full of ignorance, that I thought I’d take the time to break down some of the key points.
More below the fold:
Let me state right up front: I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not offering legal advice. What I have seen though, is that in other states where marijuana use for medical purposes has been legalized, the Federal government hasn’t agreed.
As I write this, there’s a new law going through the state legislature in Connecticut – Raised Bill No. 5389 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PALLIATIVE USE OF MARIJUANA. I make no judgement about the merits of the law — I have no horse in the race. Some folks think it’s a great bill that fixes some of the problems of laws enacted elsewhere. I read through it though, and there are no restrictions that apply directly to firearm ownership.
While on the surface, that would make it appear “okay,” there are a couple of things to keep in mind. While a number of states have enacted laws to effectively legalize some drug use, the Federal Government has successfully raided, shut down, and prosecuted many establishments operating legally within state laws.
The big thing to worry about is one of the questions you’re asked on a BATF Form 4473:
e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any othe r controlled substance?
The Federal Government doesn’t recognize the state laws, therefore, in my completely amateur opinion, this will put you in legal hot water.
Last September, the BATF sent a letter to all licensed firearms dealers, telling them that it is illegal to sell firearms or ammunition to someone who possesses a medical marijuana card. From the article:
[...] According to a new memo from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it is illegal for him or any registered medical-marijuana patient to own or possess firearms or ammunition.
The letter written last week by ATF Assistant Director Arthur Herbert to all federal firearms licensees gave them guidance on what to do if a firearms customer reveals that he or she is a medical-marijuana patient.
And here’s another case from Oregon. Cynthia Willis was denied a renewal on her concealed carry permit. She took them to court, and won, but the local Sheriff took it all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court and lost. I think this provides some hope that the issue can be settled, but keep in mind: do you want to be a test case?
The NFA Gun Trust Lawyer Blog provides another caution:
If you have a Gun Trust, you should also be cautious about having a co-trustee that uses medical marijuana as it could create liability for you and the other people involved with your trust.
Go read the article — he has a lot more to say on the subject.
I don’t particularly care if folks use marijuana, either for a medical condition, or because it’s a Saturday night. It makes no difference to me — the enforcement of these laws have done infinitely more harm than good, in my opinion. If this law is enacted in Connecticut however, I would strongly advise any gun owners to seek competent legal advice before proceeding.
I truly sympathize with the people who need to make the difficult choice between basic self defense and protecting their health. Over the next few years, I suspect that this issue will be sorted out, as many other states are moving towards a more relaxed attitude to marijuana use. Until that happens, there are going to be many legal battles to be fought.
Update 12/04/2012: Nine months on, and I’m beyond baffled. People truly don’t read… In any event, here’s another futile attempt to get people trying to get in touch with Newington Gun Exchange actually in touch with Newington Gun Exchange. At long last, they’ve got a web page — please go here to contact them: http://gunexchangenewington.com/ – we do want people to read our review, but I spend an inordinate amount of time replying to people who clearly don’t pay much attention before getting in touch.
I am somewhat baffled. Yankee Gun Nuts is a blog, we write blog posts (well, to be fair, Gunnutmegger writes a lot of blog posts and I generally keep things running behind the scenes…). We are not, and never have been a gun store. Especially when we started this site a little over a year ago, and occasionally since then, we’ve reviewed a number of gun stores we like in Connecticut.
I guess that because a couple of them, notably Newington Gun Exchange and Bethany Firearms, do not have a web presence, our reviews are ranked the highest in Google when you search for them. Consequently, we receive a significant number of emails from folks who think we are these stores. For a long time, we simply politely responded to these emails, and pointed them in the right direction. To try to clear up the confusion, I made changes to the blog contact page, and the review for the store. I’m not saying people don’t read, but… people don’t read.
Gunnutmegger and I had the pleasure of visiting Newington Gun Exchange last weekend, and talked to the nice folks there — we mentioned the issue, and they told us that their original website was unavailable, and a new one was in production. We’ll happily update our information when they do.
To the best of my knowledge, the contact information listed on the Bethany Firearms page is up to date.
If you would like to contact Newington Gun Exchange, rather than just read our review, here’s their direct information:Newington Gun Exchange 210 Market Square Newington CT, 06111 Phone: (860)667-COLT (2658) Fax: (860)666-5881 Email: email@example.com
These are both great stores, and we don’t like to think that we’re making it MORE difficult for them or their customers.
Last Saturday, Brandon Kruse, a fairly recent transplant to Connecticut walked from his apartment to a local sushi restaurant when he was attacked by a group of three young men. In what I suspect is a fairly common occurrence with defensive gun use, he drew his pistol and scared off his attackers. They later returned to the scene while he was waiting for the police, and he was able to hold two out of three of the suspects at gunpoint until the cops arrived. Even happier, the third suspect was captured a short time later, and he positively identified his attacker. Three bad guys off the streets, and not a shot fired. I think this is a happy outcome.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how balanced the article was — not something I expect in a Connecticut news article. The comments were also mostly leaning in a positive direction. There were some of the typical baffling comments however. People worried that they would just steal his gun. People worried that he might have shot those poor innocent choirboys, people who think that he shouldn’t leave his house at night because it might be dangerous… I still don’t get it, no matter how often it comes up.
The interesting thing I took away from the article is that Mr. Kruse said that he doesn’t regularly carry his firearm but “just had a weird feeling” that night. It’s a good thing he did. It brings to mind what another gunblogger frequently reminds us — Again, Carry Your Damn Gun.
The neutral tone of the article is all the more surprising given the author’s history of rabid anti-gun asshattery.
A couple of weekends ago, Gunnutmegger and I were out in the Newington, Connecticut area, checking in at Hoffmans to see what was available and to pick up some supplies. It was a worthwhile visit, mainly because I was able to take a look at Walther’s new offering, the PPQ.
I’ve been looking for a full-size pistol in 9mm Luger, and being a big fan of the company, I was eager to get my hands on it. Happily, they had one in the case for me to look at. My first impressions were very favorable, and it’s moved to the top of my “I really want this” list.