Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Massachusetts?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in Massachusetts?

Yes. It is legal for registered medical marijuana users in Massachusetts to possess guns. No state law forbids them from getting gun licenses. Per Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Chapter 269, Section 10H, a cannabis user who is not under the influence of a controlled substance can carry a firearm.

Can Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

Massachusetts does not allow medical marijuana patients to carry guns without permits. A medical cannabis patient must obtain a valid Firearm Identification (FID) card or License to Carry (LTC) certificate from a licensing authority. The Commonwealth grants licenses that allow carrying all handguns, large and small, as well as rifles, shotguns, feeding devices, and ammunition.

Does Massachusetts Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Yes. Medical cannabis patients need to submit to background checks conducted by the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) to determine if they are eligible for gun licenses.

Can You Get a Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Card After Getting a Gun License?

Yes. No Massachusetts law prevents a patient from having both a legal medical marijuana card and a gun license. A medical marijuana card in the state does not invalidate a patient’s current gun license as long as the licensee is not involved in a crime that requires inquiries and background checks. An individual can legally own or acquire a gun after their medical cannabis card expires in any state, including Massachusetts. Also, the spouse of a medical marijuana cardholder can own a gun.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Massachusetts

In 2012, the Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MGL c.941) was passed in Massachusetts, legalizing the medical use of cannabis. Under this Act, qualifying patients who obtain medical marijuana cards cannot have their rights or privileges, including owning firearms, taken away by any state law. This is provided a licensing body determines that a Licence To Carry (LTC) applicant's possession of a handgun would not constitute a criminal offense on a state or federal level per Massachusetts General Law, Part I, Title XXX, Chapter 140, Section 131(e)).

What Federal Law Says About the Firearm Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal in the United States, regardless of the legal status in various states. The Gun Control Act, 18 USC §922(g)(3) prohibits unlawful users of or addicts to controlled substances, including medical marijuana, from possessing firearms. Gun buyers are required to disclose their marijuana use status on the ATF Form 4473. According to federal law, lying on the form is a felony punishable by up to a 10-year prison sentence in addition to heavy fines and revocation of licenses.

Based on its interpretations of federal law, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) released an open letter to licensed firearm dealers in September 2011. The letter emphasized that anyone who uses marijuana is an illegal user of a controlled substance and is forbidden by federal law from owning firearms and ammunition.

Following the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ judgment in the Wilson v. Lynch case in 2016, medical marijuana cardholders were reminded of the ban on possessing firearms. After a gun dealer refused to sell to a medical marijuana cardholder, Wilson filed a suit against the federal gun law, claiming that the Gun Control Act violated her Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms for personal protection. The Court of Appeals upheld the district court's dismissal of the case, ruling that the complainant's Second Amendment rights were not violated.

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