ATF Inspector Overstepped in Preventing Gun Sale – Bearing Arms

ATF Inspector Overstepped in Preventing Gun Sale – Bearing Arms

While a number of states have legalized marijuana use to some degree or another, federal law still prohibits its use for pretty much anything. The feds have opted not to do anything about its use at the state level, but that’s not the same thing as it being permitted.

For example, if you have guns and use marijuana, even if you’re following state laws, you’re still breaking federal laws.

For most people, it’s not much of an issue.

However, it seems one ATF inspector–not an agent, which is an important distinction as you’ll see in a moment–figured they needed to interject into a gun sale because the buyer supposedly smelled like weed.

An ATF Industry Operations Investigator violated the Second Amendment rights of a central Florida man last month, when he ordered a gun dealer to halt a pistol sale because he believed the purchaser possibly smelled of marijuana.

The Industry Operations Investigator, or IOI, who is based out of ATF’s Tampa Field Office, was conducting a routine audit of a Plant City-based gun dealer when Daniel walked in to pick up a 9mm Beretta APX he had ordered through Gun Broker, which had been shipped from a pawn shop in Alabama.

The Second Amendment Foundation agreed to withhold Daniel’s last name from this story. He had already completed an ATF form 4473, denying he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance,” passed a background check and was ready to take his new handgun home until the IOI intervened and ordered the gun dealer to stop the sale.

“I wasn’t high,” Daniel told the Second Amendment Foundation. “None of this makes any sense to me.”

There are many reasons why Daniel could have smelled like marijuana – if the IOI’s allegations are even true.

Florida legalized medical cannabis in 2016. As of last year, the state has issued more than 831,000 medical cannabis cards. There are hundreds of cannabis dispensaries located throughout the state. While federal law still criminalizes marijuana use or possession, even ATF’s Tampa spokesman Jason Medina admitted it was possible that Daniel could have been exposed to second-hand smoke, if his spouse, friends or family use cannabis medicinally.

“That’s true,” Medina admitted last week during a brief interview.

Lee Williams, the author of the above-linked piece, also notes that you can get marijuana-scented items on places like Amazon, which might well cause the smell to linger on a person. No, I don’t understand why anyone would intentionally make their house smell like that stuff without actually using it, but if there weren’t a market, there wouldn’t be products.

Medina also admitted to Williams that IOIs aren’t sworn law enforcement officers. There’s no evidence that they’re even trained to identify the smell of marijuana on a person, which means this particular IOI had no grounds to interrupt the sale in this case.

Frankly, the dealer had grounds to tell the IOI to pound sand in this case, though I also understand why he didn’t. After all, if you antagonize the inspector, it’s likely to make your life far more difficult than it needs to be.

Which is a big problem in my book. The ATF has already overstepped its bounds more times than I care to count. I suppose Daniel should be glad that he didn’t complete the transaction only to find a SWAT team waiting for him at home or something–I can’t put it past anyone at the ATF to pull a stunt like that.

The only way to address this is through legislation, preferably at the federal level. We know that Democrats are willing to deal with gun rights when they can view it as a marijuana reform issue, so take advantage of that and address it in Congress so that people quit getting jammed up over this.

Plus, frankly, the ATF needs to be abolished completely. The entire agency is full of people who have no clue what the hell they’re doing and they exist at least in part to enforce unconstitutional laws, so abolishing them is the only just thing Congress can do about them.

Too bad that there aren’t enough lawmakers with the stones to do it.

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