All About Guns

Biden’s Pot Pardon Is Not Doing Enough for Gun Rights by F Riehl

Medical Marijuana

Tombstone, Arizona – -( In early October, Joe Biden used his presidential pen to pardon everyone who has ever committed or been convicted of the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of federal and/or District of Columbia law.

The pardon applies to all US citizens and persons legally in the country at the time of their violation and specifically restores all civil rights to those persons.

This action is a partial fulfillment of Biden’s campaign promise to free people imprisoned for marijuana offenses. Biden also pledged to remove marijuana from its rating as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While cannabis activists are pleased with the pardon proclamation, some are angry that it doesn’t really free any federal prisoners, as few people have actually been federally prosecuted for simple possession of marijuana over the past several years. Additionally, it excludes people convicted of trafficking in, or illegally selling the substance.

One area where there is growing overlap between cannabis activists and gun rights activists, is the issue of the federal prohibition on users of marijuana obtaining or possessing firearms or ammunition.

As marijuana has been decriminalized or legalized in over 3/4ths of the states, covering some 70% of the population, for medicinal use and in half of those, for recreational purposes. The conflict between those states’ laws and federal laws has created difficulties, to say the least. Not only do the federal laws hang over the heads of everyone involved in cannabis businesses and their customers, but federal banking, investing, and tax regulations also create obstacles. Pot businesses are, by necessity, largely cash operations, making shops and “dispensaries” attractive targets for criminals. To make matters worse for these state-legal cannabis businesses, both federal and state laws make it difficult for them to hire armed security guards.

On the gun issue, federal law prohibits anyone who is an “unlawful user of, or is addicted to, marijuana” or other controlled substances from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition. The problem lies in the word “unlawful.” Even though marijuana is medically or recreationally legal in 39 states and several territories, it’s still illegal under federal law. Anyone who legally uses marijuana in any of those 39 states is breaking federal law and is consequently prohibited from possessing firearms. Even people who don’t use marijuana but who have been issued a medical marijuana ID card are prohibited on the assumption that having the card legally categorizes them as “unlawful users.”

Historically, Republicans have tended to oppose efforts to legalize marijuana or remove it from the schedule of controlled substances, while Democrats have been more supportive of those ideas. Those positions have changed in recent years, with more Republicans acknowledging that a majority of the citizens believe it’s time for the federal government to catch up with the states on the issue.

Ironically, one of the staunchest opponents of legal marijuana on the Democratic side of the aisle has been none other than Joe Biden.

Despite his campaign promises to free marijuana prisoners and calls on Congress to take marijuana off Schedule 1, he has done little in that direction since he took office.

The Republican wave that appears to be poised to crash through Congress this Tuesday is likely to create a narrow window for Biden to keep those campaign promises. The lame-duck Congress that will be in session for the next two months will have a lot of political cover. It should have the least opposition to Federal marijuana law reform of any Congress in history. For the first time in my memory, some prominent Republican politicians and strategists have openly discussed the idea of stealing the marijuana issue from the Democrats. Their theory is that, like same-sex marriage a few years ago, the writing is on the wall, and everyone knows that it’s eventually going to happen, so why not get in front of it and gain some political points with independents and weak Democrats? At the same time, there’s little chance of any serious backlash from their Republican base.

The issue of firearm prohibition for marijuana users hits gun culture the hardest with its impact on young veterans of the wars in the Middle East. Many of these veterans, who tend to be conservative, and are gun owners and supporters of firearm owner rights, have been, or have comrades who have been, diagnosed with PTS or other ailments that may be helped with the use of medical marijuana. Many of the younger generations of gun owners, along with a bunch of older folks, are friends and strong supporters of these veterans and their constitutional rights, so a federal law that cancels those veterans’ Second Amendment rights – for taking medicine prescribed by their doctors – does not sit well with these folks. That constitutes a sizable constituency that wants to see the roadblocks to gun ownership removed from these veterans’ paths.

Democrats currently have a sweeping marijuana reform bill in the pipeline. It should be possible for enough Republicans to offer their support for a cleaned-up version of this legislation to capture a significant amount of goodwill while blocking the more outrageous aspects of the Democrats’ plan and at the same time, stealing some of their thunder.

Will they do it?

It’s hard to guess. They have the opportunity, and if this Congress doesn’t, their America-First successors that take over in January just might. There are quite a few liberty-oriented candidates likely to be in that crew.

The first order of business for Republicans is to win on Tuesday. If they don’t, Democrats have vowed to end the filibuster, push through an “assault weapon” ban, and stack the Supreme Court. They only need to gain a couple of seats in the Senate to make that possible.

That should fix the nation’s inflation issues and solve the “climate crisis,” right?

Get to the polls on Tuesday. Bring friends and family.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists through education, analysis of current issues, and a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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