Federal Court in Texas Rules it’s Unconstitutional to Ban Marijuana Users From Owning Firearms

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has ruled that prohibiting someone from possessing guns simply because they consume marijuana is unconstitutional.

The ruling from Judge Kathleen Cardone stems from a case brought forth by El Paso resident Paola Connelly. Connelly had been charged with multiple counts of possessing and transferring a firearm after admitting to being a consumer of marijuana. After granting a motion for reconsideration Judge Cardone dismissed all of the charges against Connelly. The case is the United States of America v. Paola Connelly.

The judge, who was appointed years ago by then-President George W. Bush, ruled against the U.S. Justice Department in stating that “any historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals does not support disarming Connelly for her alleged marijuana use”, noting that possessing small amounts of marijuana is only a misdemeanor and thus should not result in someone losing their gun rights.

In her ruling Judge Cardone noted that President Biden recently issued pardons to thousands of individuals charged with marijuana possession, yet is fighting to disarm citizens over marijuana use.

“[E]ven if Connelly were convicted of marijuana possession that conviction would be expunged by the blanket presidential pardon of all such marijuana possessions that, like Connelly’s, took place before October 6, 2022.”

The judge also noted that Connelly was never charged with any crime related to marijuana, they simply admitted to using it.

“The longstanding prohibition on possession of firearms by felons requires the Government to charge and convict an individual before disarming her”, states the judge.

“In short, the historical tradition of disarming ‘unlawful’ individuals appears to mainly involve disarming those convicted of serious crimes after they have been afforded criminal process. Section 922(g)(3), in contrast, disarms those who engage in criminal conduct that would give rise to misdemeanor charges, without affording them the procedural protections enshrined in our criminal justice system.”

Based on this, “The law thus deviates from our Nation’s history of firearm regulation.”

The judge also stated that “It strains credulity to believe that taking part in such a widespread practice can render an individual so dangerous or untrustworthy that they must be stripped of their Second Amendment rights”, which were comments made in response to the federal government claiming marijuana uses to be dangerous.

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