Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Georgia?

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

No, not legally. While Georgia has no specific legislation preventing low-THC oil registry cardholders (medical cannabis cardholders) from possessing guns, federal laws prohibit medical marijuana users from carrying firearms. The contradicting federal laws make it difficult to own a gun as a low-THC oil patient in Georgia. However, medical marijuana patients in the state who choose to own firearms can purchase handguns. Georgia gun laws permit open carry and concealed carry.

Can Georgia Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

There are no state legislations ruling on the legality of medical cannabis patients carrying firearms in Georgia. Nevertheless, in 2022, the state passed Senate Bill 319 to allow lawful weapon carriers to possess handguns openly or concealed in certain places without obtaining permits. Those who wish to carry concealed firearms in states practicing firearm permit reciprocity with Georgia, however, must acquire Weapons Carry Licenses (WCLs).

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

Although Georgia's low-THC oil law is silent about firearm ownership by low-THC oil patients, patients who opt to carry guns within the state do not need background checks. Only individuals seeking to obtain WCLs to enable them to carry their guns when they travel to other states must submit background checks and criminal history records while applying for their firearm licenses.

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

No state law prevents a person from obtaining a Georgia low-THC oil registry card after getting a gun license in the state. A medical cannabis card will not invalidate a firearm license. Additionally, spouses of registered low-THC oil patients in Georgia are not prevented from obtaining gun licenses if they so wish.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Georgia

There are no known litigations or legislations regarding firearm ownership rights of registered low-THC oil patients in Georgia. Similarly, no specific legislation bars them from obtaining gun licenses. Federal laws largely influence a patient's decision to purchase a gun in Georgia. However, two federal laws regarding firearm ownership rights are conflicting, creating a murky situation for any low-THC oil patient who may wish to own a gun.

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

Marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level, and as such, it is illegal for marijuana users to own guns under federal laws. Even if the state law permits cannabis use, possessing a firearm as a registered medical marijuana user is unlawful as far as the Gun Control Act of 1968 (articulated in U.S.C Section 922(g)) is concerned. This position was further upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Wilson v. Lynch case. Rowan Wilson was a registered medical cannabis patient who attempted to purchase a gun from a licensed firearms dealer in Nevada but was denied the purchase. The dealer was aware that Wilson was a medical cannabis cardholder and cited a 2011 open letter to federally licensed firearm dealers by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives (ATF) as the reason for refusing to deal.

Infuriated by the dealer's action, Wilson approached a federal district court and filed a suit against the ATF, arguing that the Second Amendment rights had been violated. However, the district court considered the ATF's motion and dismissed the case. Displeased by this, Rowan appealed the lower court's judgment, where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the previous rulings.

When purchasing a gun in the United States, a prospective buyer is required to complete the ATF Form 4473. Making false statements when filling out the form is a crime punishable as a felony under federal law. For instance, anyone who lies about marijuana use in the form risks serving up to a 10-year jail term in federal prison. If the potential buyer marks "yes" on question 21(f) of Form 4473, they become ineligible to purchase a gun. Also, if a medical cannabis cardholder checks "no" on that question, they commit perjury, which is a felony.

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