On September 14, 2023, Particular Counsel David Weiss of the Division of Justice filed an indictment in opposition to Robert Hunter Biden within the District of Delaware. The indictment pleads three counts, which I analyze under. The Hunter Biden indictment facilities on points I’ve analyzed in lots of posts this yr (see hyperlinks on the backside). Right this moment I wish to speak about what Hunter Biden’s indictment may imply for hashish customers.
Managed substances customers can’t purchase or personal weapons
When you’re not up on the regulation right here, right here’s a abstract from my most recent post on the matter, “Federal law prohibits hashish customers from shopping for or proudly owning weapons.” And in this post I famous:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) requires firearm purchasers to finish a kind named ATF 4773, which requires the applicant to reply “sure” or “no” to the next query:
Are you an illegal consumer of, or hooked on, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or some other managed substance?
Warning: The use or possession of marijuana stays illegal underneath Federal regulation no matter whether or not it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or leisure functions within the state the place you reside.
If an applicant solutions “sure” to this query, their software will likely be denied. If they’re actually a marijuana consumer – even somebody who makes use of medical or leisure marijuana in a state the place it’s absolutely authorized – however reply no, they are often charged with a criminal offense. So in sum, the federal authorities believes that even state-legal hashish customers needs to be stripped of their Second Modification rights.
Lastly, here I wrote:
A 2022 U.S. Supreme Courtroom case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, held that the check for figuring out whether or not a gun management regulation is constitutional is (1) whether or not the affected individual has Second Modification rights, and (2) whether or not the restriction is “in keeping with the Nation’s historic custom of firearm regulation.”
All or nearly all courts which have handled the federal hashish gun management regulation agree that hashish customers have Second Modification rights. And practically all courts agree that the federal hashish restriction will not be “in keeping with the Nation’s historic custom of firearm regulation.”
What the Hunter Biden indictment for hashish customers
Now let’s flip to Hunter Biden’s indictment and the way it may have an effect on hashish customers. The indictment pertains to his completion of the ATF 4773. The counts are:
- Allegedly making a false assertion on ATF 4773 that he was not an illegal consumer or hooked on a managed substance;
- Allegedly making a false assertion to the federal firearms license (FFL) holder who apparently offered him a pistol that he was not an illegal consumer or hooked on a managed substance; and
- Allegedly possessing a firearm whereas he was not an illegal consumer or hooked on a managed substance.
It bears noting that Hunter Biden’s alleged habit was to not hashish, however to crack cocaine. That stated, the ATF 4773 makes no distinction between crack cocaine, hashish, or some other managed substances. So the evaluation is analogous. And which means, each for him and for hashish customers, that there appears to be an honest likelihood of prevailing on at the very least a few of the prices.
As I’ve famous in lots of my posts linked under, federal courts hold ruling that the federal legal guidelines proscribing gun rights for hashish customers are unconstitutional. If struck down, both by Hunter Biden or in a problem introduced by hashish customers, would doubtless imply that the federal government wouldn’t prevail on the ultimate cost in opposition to Hunter Biden (possession whereas an illegal consumer).
However what concerning the false assertion prices? That’s a lot completely different. As I famous months ago, “Even when federal courts utterly dispose of restrictions on marijuana customers’ gun rights, that received’t have an effect on the potential for federal prices for making misrepresentations on the ATF 4473.” In different phrases, if an individual makes a false assertion NOW or previously on the ATF 4773, it could be honest recreation for prosecutors to prosecute these prices even after adjustments in regulation. That’s as a result of false representations are completely different from possession. And there doesn’t appear to be any push to alter these necessities.
Federal legal guidelines on managed substance customers and weapons are doubtless unconstitutional
For my part, hashish customers are more likely to prevail, and these legal guidelines are more likely to be held unconstitutional, within the coming years. The indictment of Hunter Biden might pace that course of up and he’ll undoubtedly assault the constitutionality of those self same legal guidelines in Delaware. Solely time will inform, so please keep tuned to the Canna Law Blog for extra updates.
To see my associated posts: