For all intents and purposes, the Pennsylvania district attorney has threatened gun owners that are also registered with Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program or considering applying for a medical marijuana license. There is no plan in place in Pennsylvania as to what do about existing gun owners that are now medical marijuana patients though.
Pennsylvania is not the first state to debate or threaten gun owners that are registering with a state’s medical marijuana program. The issue originates with federal regulations that deny anyone the right to purchase a gun and admits to marijuana use since marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.
“They’re going to have to make a choice,” said John T. Adams, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. “They can have their guns or their marijuana, but not both.”
That’s the official line, but the reality of how the policy might be enforced in Pennsylvania and other states is a little muddier. That includes the question of whether people who already own guns might have to surrender them, instead of just being prohibited from making new purchases.
The political sensitivity was underscored Friday when Pennsylvania regulators reversed themselves and announced its registry of medical-pot patients will not be available, as was previously planned, through the state’s law enforcement computer network.
Phil Gruver, a professional auto detailer from Emmaus who received a state medical marijuana card in mid-December, is weighing what to do with his .22-caliber rifle and a handgun he keeps for home defense.
“It’s a violation of my Second Amendment rights,” Gruver said. “I don’t know of any time anyone’s been using marijuana and going out and committing acts of violence with a gun. Most of the time they just sit on their couch and eat pizza.”
States like Hawaii have even gone so far as to send a letter to existing medical marijuana patients instructing them to turn over their firearms. What exactly would a state or federal agency do to take away the firearms of medical marijuana patients anyways?
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