I note that the IRSA does disclaim that this is legal advice, and IMHO their disclaimer should be taken heed of.
This information should not be used as legal advice. We at ISRA do not take an opinion for or against this new cannabis law.
At issue is BATFE Form 4473, which states:
e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? 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.
The problem that IRSA is tripping over is that Illinois added this to their cannabis law:
(410 ILCS 705/1-7 new) Sec. 1-7. Lawful user and lawful products. For the purposes of this Act and to clarify the legislative findings on the lawful use of cannabis, a person shall not be considered an unlawful user or addicted to narcotics solely as a result of his or her possession or use of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia in accordance with this Act.
True enough according to Illinois.
Except -- Form 4473 isn't a state form. It's a federal form.
Now Illinois is an odd bird indeed, in that they have a state law requiring you to acquire and have an FOID card (basically a state permission slip) to purchase or own firearms and/or ammunition. That's administered under state law, and due to the language in the cannabis law the State of Illinois does not consider the recreational use of cannabis to be a disqualifying factor on the grounds of use of or addiction to narcotics.
And, incidentally, that FOID law is blatantly unconstitutional federally. But, you know, the IRSA doesn't give a flying **** about that and neither does anyone else. Lincoln would have by now..... oh never mind.
However, this works both ways: The state cannot bind the Federal Government.
Note that the 4473 asks if you are in that category. It does not ask "have you ever been" or "will you ever in the future." It speaks to the present tense.
How much danger does this present to a firearm owner in Illinois who has complied with the state's unconstitutional demand and bought their "permission slip"?
Well, that depends. Note I'm not a lawyer, but I can read English and so can you. The law is clear: If you are a user of, or addicted to, any substance scheduled under Federal Law and while in such a condition tell the truth on the Form 4473 the purchase will be denied. If you lie and get caught the penalty for the lie is a felony and as such can lead to the permanent loss of the ability to legally buy and own firearms and up to 5 years in the slam-slam for the perjury alone.
It can potentially be even worse in that if while in possession of the firearm the BATFE comes and plays visit with you and you are at that time using the substance (e.g. you have a bong on your kitchen table) you can be tagged as a prohibited person in possession of a firearm which is a further ten years.
This is not theoretical. The Dayton shooter had a friend who had acquired a firearm. After the Dayton shooting the BATFE came visiting to talk to him, as they were trying to run down how he got his guns. Said friend had a firearm he had purchased -- it was not stolen and he did not provide the Dayton shooter's gun(s), nor did he have a previous felony criminal conviction but he had a bong in the house that was visible to the BATFE agents when they came to talk to him.
Note that the things he did buy and hang on to for the shooter was not controlled items. Anyone can buy and own them without restriction; you need show nothing other than money and he was not accused of, nor arrested for, providing anything illegally to the shooter, nor for a straw purchase of the firearm itself (which would be illegal.)
Doesn't matter -- he has now pled guilty to lying on the 4473 to acquire his pistol and is awaiting sentencing; irrespective of his sentence (which, it appears is likely to involve a handful of years of actual prison time) he's hosed in terms of legally owning firearms in the future.
In the case of Ohio weed is not legal for recreational purposes but for the purpose of this particular circumstance it would not have mattered if the guy was in Colorado or, as of now, in Illinois. He'd still have been busted.
The intent of this law at the federal level may be good (let's face it, Mr. Crankface is probably not very stable and for him to be running around with a gun is pretty easy to argue as a bad thing) but the facts are that until and unless the Federal Government de-schedules cannabis this issue and the risk will continue to exist irrespective of what the States may pass. While the odds of getting nailed by this sort of thing are probably not all that great if it happens you're screwed.
As in felony prison time screwed.This is a wild injustice in the law today and despite Trump's claiming he was going to deal with it he has not. HB 3884 has passed out of the Judiciary Committee which would deal with this problem in that it would remove Cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act (21 USC 802) which is where the enabling section of the BATFE regs sources the list of "bad things" from but the bill has gone nowhere else, and I've not heard one word from Orange Man about demanding that both the House and Senate pass it -- and that he will sign it if they do. Cannabis may well be habit forming when used by some people but so is booze if used to excess. Form 4473 is clear: If you are addicted to drugs, and alcohol is a depressant so as a result yes, if you're an alcoholic that does count, then you cannot buy a gun whether the drug in question is scheduled or not.
But the mere fact that you enjoy a beer does not bar you from owning firearms and the mere fact that you legally enjoy cannabis should not either, whether that use is a function of medicinal or recreational consumption.
If you think all of this is an "accident" you're nuts. The government is very interested in tagging as many people as possible in this regard. In fact they'd love to find a way to render everyone "ineligible" to own guns. That tension is why all such laws are unconstitutional and, as the Texas Church Shooting shows all such laws are in fact worthless for their proclaimed purpose -- that dude, just like the rest, didn't have any trouble getting a shotgun despite being previously convicted for criminal conduct. This repeated fact pattern that plays out thousands of times a year proves that the intent of such laws is not to improve public safety -- it is to promote tyranny, period. What better way than to get you to "share" information they can then abuse!
These days with cameras everywhere and all the surveillance you submit to whether on Facesucker or simply the camera on the light pole at the street that happens to be right near the cannabis store if you think the government cannot determine who's buying weed and cross-index that in seconds with who has bought a gun you're dead wrong. A pattern of purchases is trivially connectable to you -- period.
Don't be an idiot; it would take 15 minutes for the House and Senate (each) to de-schedule cannabis and resolve this issue if they had any honorable intentions in this regard.
They do not and neither does the President or even one of the Democrat's announced candidates for 2020.