According to sources in the Department of Justice speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) is making a move to eliminate the marijuana disqualification question to transfer a firearm from a licensed dealer to an individual. The move is significant at a time where states like New York have recently passed laws to legalize the recreational use of the Schedule 1 narcotic and could signify a move to legalize marijuana federally.
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Currently, Federal law prohibits the sale and transfer of firearms to “unlawful” users and addicts of marijuana and other controlled substances. And because the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal at the Federal level, living in a state that has its own laws to the contrary does not provide relief for those who use.
Breaking: Marijuana Disqualification Question To Be Removed From ATF 4473
ATF Form 4473 – Firearms Transaction Record
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.
“Because a number of states have passed legislation allowing the recreational use of marijuana, it seems fair and reasonable that we should not prevent those residents from hunting or target shooting,” said one DOJ employee on the possible change to the 4473 form. “Besides, it’s not likely to withstand a constitutional review.”
And while the move from the BATFE will have critics, even some veteran agents are behind the change. In a statement obtained by a mainstream publication, retired ATF agent C.C. Broadus Jr., formerly of the Long Beach office, stated: “Whether we like it or not, states have been legalizing marijuana use for decades for people with chronic illnesses, and even recreational users who don’t cause trouble, and don’t bother anybody. This is just one less thing that we will have to regulate, and this should reduce some administrative paperwork.”
However, experts warn not to spark up that joint or bake those magic brownies just yet. Removing the marijuana disqualification question from the ATF’s application needs to undergo a final review and may coincide with Federal legislation removing cannabis as a schedule 1 drug. But, for the time being, the clock is clicking slowly towards 4:20.
And before you get too excited, we urge you to check the calendar.