Much has been written in the comment section of The Shooter’s Log regarding state versus federal laws. So, this article should provide for lively debate. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has issued a clarification to language on ATF Form 4473. The clarification covers the use of marijuana in states that have legalized it for recreational or medicinal use versus federal law. In other words, it may be legal in some states, but it is still unlawful federally.
On the revised ATF Form 4473, Question 11e reads, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any other depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?” This caused confusion for some in that marijuana has been “legalized” in some states.
However, the ATF is focused on federal, not state, law. To avoid further confusion, the ATF has added the following clarification to question 11e, “The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
The revised ATF Form 4473 will be mandatory for use starting January 16, 2017.
The ATF’s clarification follows a ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last August. In that decision, the court ruled marijuana card holders at the state (Nevada) level are barred from gun purchases.