Delaware Vote Tracker

HB 276 – Buying Firearms While High

I love these kind of bills that pander to gun owners while also misunderstanding that Federal law supersedes state law. Currently, federal gun control laws prohibit an individual who is “an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” from possessing or purchasing a firearm. It is still unlawful under federal law to use or possess marijuana even though several states have legalized recreational marijuana and still more allow marijuana use for medical purposes, Delaware included.

The problem can’t be solved by a state passing a law saying it is ok. That federal law is going to have to be repealed. The only thing preventing the DOJ from pursuing marijuana or medical marijuana users for federal crimes is their own forbearance, not state laws announcing that the federal law is to be disregarded.

It’s a conflict that may eventually come to a head if we ever get a really conservative Attorney General. It almost happened under Jeff Sessions.

Regardless, House Bill 276 would allow those legally use medical marijuana to purchase firearms.  It is disappointing to see so many Democratic sponsors below.

House Bill 276 SponsorsYes VotesNo Votes
Bennett, K.Williams, Baumbach, Morrison, Osienski, M.Smith, Ramone, Spiegelman
Townsend, Paradee, Sokola, Walsh, Pettyjohn, Hocker
Current Status: Out of Committee

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3 comments on “HB 276 – Buying Firearms While High

  1. Just want to be clear that this language is HB 305 as well. This law is disproportionately used to criminalize POC, and getting it out of the code is a huge step forward for CJR

    • it also has nothing to do with the legality of purchasing firearms, this section of the code refers to possession. It’s pretty damn silly that legal cannabis consumers who legally own firearms are being criminalized just for doing both concurrently

  2. “Buying Firearms While High?” Did you have a friend at the NY Post write that headline for you? There are a lot of medical cannabis patients; Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and independents; and prospective patients who fear their participation in the medical cannabis program could result in exposure to criminal prosecution if they possess a firearm. The current person prohibited law does not apply to medical consumers because Section 1448 only applies to possession in violation of 16 Del. C. 4764, and medical possession in the State of Delaware is legal. This bill is largely a clarification of something most criminal defense attorneys and deputy attorneys general already know. While the USDOJ could still pursue a case, this bill would reduce Delaware medical cannabis patients’ exposure to arrest significantly. Most criminal prosecutions occur at the state level, and possession of a firearm by a medical cannabis patient is the type of offense that is unlikely to draw attention froms the feds. This law primarily protects patients from arrest by state and local law enforcement who interpret Section 1448 incorrectly to apply to patients. There will still be federal exposure, albeit unlikely. Lying on the 4473 will still be an issue. To couch this bill as pandering and lamenting Democratic sponsorship, however, is shortsighted and foolish. States are not required to act as an arm of the federal government and enforce federal law. Everyone who participates in the medical cannabis program is violating federal law. Every participant in legal adult-use markets is violating federal law. This bill simply clarifies that Delaware law enforcement won’t be involved in felonizing Delaware medical cannabis patients for conduct, possession of a firearm, that they could lawfully engage in while taking opioids or benzos.

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