You can smoke, but you can’t hunt
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Matt Solomon started getting calls a few months ago, and has gotten more as hunting season approached. All of them go something like this: “I have a medical marijuana card. Can I buy a new gun for hunting season?”
The short answer, from two local gun dealers, is “no.”
Here’s a slightly longer answer.
Solomon, who owns Alpine Arms in Eagle, started doing some research when the calls first came. Here’s what he found: People who hold medical marijuana cards may be complying with state law, but marijuana possession is still a federal offense. Since federal law applies when buying or selling guns through licensed dealers, people buying guns through dealers, customers have to fill out a form from the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
That form asks: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
In the feds’ eyes, anyone using marijuana is an “unlawful user.”
If the person filling out the form answers yes, that stops the gun-buying process in its tracks. If the person answers no, and is later found to have lied, that’s a federal crime.
Jim Kelly, owner of Bogart’s Gun Shop in Eagle, has a direct line to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. During a quick in-person stop at his shop on Second Street, Bogart picked up the hotline and asked a bureau representative if a card holder could buy a gun. The answer was a quick no.
“They’re denying anyone with a medical marijuana card,” Kelly said.
Of course, the classified ads for any “shopper”-type newspaper generally have plenty of ads for guns, and private sales aren’t regulated the way they are through licensed dealers. But, Solomon said, those private deals can come back to bite sellers.
“Say you know someone who has a medical marijuana card and you buy a gun for him and sell it to him,” Solomon said. “If he commits a crime with that gun, or if it’s stolen, it’ll come back to you. It can put you at risk.
Solomon said he has one customer who would rather hunt than smoke.
“He’s trying to get off the list,” Solomon said. “But he might have to wait until his card expires.”