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The federal government is stepping up its efforts to keep guns out of the hands marijuana users, even as legal use of the drug is spreading around the country.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives long has prohibited gun and ammunition sales to unlawful users of marijuana, citing a risk of "irrational or unpredictable behavior." Now, the federal agency has added a warning to Form 4473 making it clear to anyone applying for a permit to buy a gun that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and using it means you cannot buy a gun, despite laws in Maine and a growing number of other states that allow medical and recreational use of the drug.
The new language, added last week to forms filled out by gun buyers in Maine and nationwide, has raised concerns that the government is unfairly denying cannabis users their Second Amendment right to bear arms. And it has renewed calls from medical and recreational marijuana advocates for a change in federal law to catch up with the country's changing views on marijuana.
Maine is a state with a deep tradition of gun ownership. More than half of Maine adults -- 55 percent -- surveyed in a Portland Press Herald poll of voters last October said they owned at least one gun. .......
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