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ATF: Until recreational cannabis is federally legalized, pot users cannot own guns



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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on Tuesday released clarification for gun owners and potential gun owners with Minnesota's recreational cannabis bill officially signed into law.

According to the ATF's St. Paul Field Division, the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone who is an unlawful user of any controlled substance - as defined by the later Controlled Substances Act of 1970 - from "shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition."

Despite the recreational cannabis bill being signed into law in Minnesota, a current user of cannabis is still, under federal law, defined as an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

"Until marijuana is legalized federally, firearms owners and possessors should be mindful that it remains federally illegal to mix marijuana with firearms and ammunition," said ATF's Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Reed, of the St. Paul Field Division. "As regulators of the firearms industry and enforcers of firearms laws, we felt it was important to remind Minnesotans of this distinction as the marijuana laws adjust here in the State of Minnesota."

Anyone looking to purchase firearms must confirm if they are an unlawful user of cannabis on ATF Form 4473 during a firearm transaction.

In 2011, ATF issued an open letter to Federal Firearms Licensees to provide guidance as states began easing restrictions on cannabis.

"The 2011 guidance reminds Federal Firearms Licensees that it is unlawful to transfer a firearm to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance," the ATF said in a release.

Read the open letter below:

During a transaction, the guidance further states that if a person is aware that the potential buyer is in possession of a card that allows them to use and possess cannabis, that the firearms licensee has "reasonable cause to believe" the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.


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