Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Michigan?

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

Yes. Medical marijuana cardholders in Michigan can own guns. Patients can carry concealed firearms such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns, provided they have concealed pistol licenses (CPLs). They can also carry firearms in private residences and other unrestricted areas without gun licenses.

Can Michigan Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

Yes. Michigan’s open carry firearm laws allow residents, aged 18 or older, including medical marijuana patients to possess guns without permits.

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

No. County clerks in Michigan do not ask for background checks before issuing concealed pistol licenses to medical marijuana cardholders. However, CPL holders will undergo a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) before purchasing guns from federal firearms licensees (FFLs). During the checks, applicants will be asked questions regarding their cannabis use.

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

Yes, it is possible to get a Michigan medical marijuana card with an active gun license. Also, the state’s firearm laws do not prohibit spouses of medical cannabis patients from owning guns.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Michigan

The passage of Michigan's Firearms Act of 1927/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectname=mcl-act-372-of-1927#:~:text=AN%20ACT%20to%20regulate%20and,without%20a%20license%20or%20other) legalized gun possession and allowed open carry and concealed carry. Permits are not required to open carry firearms in private residences. Residents can carry concealed guns in cars and other public places, provided they have concealed pistol licenses (CPLs).

In 2006, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) permitted Michigan CPL holders to buy guns legally without conducting federal background checks. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Initiated-Law-1-of-2008.pdf) enacted in 2008 did not restrict medical marijuana patients from getting CPLs.

Generally, federal laws do not allow marijuana users to purchase firearms. As a result, the ATF issued a public advisory in 2020 to licensed gun sellers in Michigan, mandating them to start conducting national background checks before selling guns to CPL holders. This means that medical marijuana patients can have firearm licenses but may be unable to buy guns legally while still holding active medical cannabis cards. In 2020, a CPL holder in Michigan filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department, which was dismissed by the federal court in the state.

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

The Gun Control Act of 1968 bans marijuana consumers from buying, owning, or possessing guns. Before purchasing firearms, prospective buyers must complete the ATF Form 4473. They must indicate if they use cannabis or not in the form. Falsifying information on the form may result in the following penalties:

  • 10 years jail sentence
  • Fine payment amounting to $250,000
  • Firearm license revocation
  • Life ban from purchasing guns
  • Loss of Second Amendment rights

In 2011, the ATF issued an open letter banning licensed gun dealers from selling firearms to medical marijuana cardholders since it was against federal laws. This led to Wilson v. Lynch lawsuit in 2016. Rowan Wilson, a medical marijuana cardholder in Nevada, challenged the federal gun law and ATF’s letter after a firearm dealer refused to sell a gun to her. According to Rowan, the Gun Control Act and letter infringed on her Second Amendment rights to keep and bear firearms for personal safety. Wilson's case was dismissed by the district court and upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals. The court stated that Second Amendment rights were not violated since the complainant can bear arms but cannot buy them legally while holding an active medical marijuana card.

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