Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Illinois?

  1. Illinois Cannabis
  2. Illinois Marijuana Laws
  3. Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Illinois?

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

Yes. Individuals registered with the state’s Medical Cannabis Patients Program can own guns in Illinois. They may legally acquire firearms, ammunition, stun guns, and tasers.

Can Illinois Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

No. Medical cannabis patients in Illinois cannot carry firearms legally without first obtaining the Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) Cards or Concealed Carry Licenses (CCL) from the Illinois State Police (ISP).

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

Yes. The ISP conducts background checks to determine if medical cannabis patients are eligible for FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses. Per Section 4(a-25) of the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act and Section 30 (8) of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, registered patients must furnish the ISP with their fingerprints for background checks.

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

Yes. Holders of FOID cards and Concealed Carry licenses in Illinois may obtain state-issued medical marijuana cards. Possession of medical marijuana cards in Illinois does not prevent patients from carrying firearms, provided they have the licenses to do so. In addition, patients with expired medical cannabis cards in the state can obtain gun licenses.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Illinois

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act that legalized medical cannabis in Illinois in 2013 prohibited the ownership of firearms by persons registered with the program. However, following the legalization of recreational cannabis and the lawful cannabis user designation by the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, the ISP issued a policy statement in December 2019. The policy stated that the agency would not revoke FOID cards based solely on individuals’ legal use of marijuana. It also asserts that the FOID cards will be withdrawn when a person is addicted or becomes a habitual user of marijuana.

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

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to own firearms. However, the federal Controlled Substances Act&f=treesort&num=0&edition=prelim) prohibits anyone using cannabis from possessing firearms. In addition, the Gun Control Act of 1968 provides that it is unlawful for an individual who is addicted to or an unlawful user of a controlled substance to possess firearms or ammunition.

In September 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issued an open letter to licensed firearm dealers. According to the letter, anyone who uses marijuana, even for medical purposes, is an unlawful user of a controlled substance and is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms and ammunition. Several attempts have been made to challenge the prohibition legally. For instance, in the Wilson vs. Lynch case, the plaintiff, Wilson, possessed a Nevada medical marijuana card and attempted to purchase firearms. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff’s Second Amendment rights were not violated by the ban on firearm sales to medical marijuana card holders.

A potential gun owner must complete the Firearms Transaction Record Form (ATF Form 4473) when purchasing firearms. The form includes a warning stating that possession and use of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, remains federally illegal. Federal law strips cannabis users of their right to purchase firearms and ammunition and prescribes criminal penalties for lying to licensed firearm dealers about cannabis use. Such penalties include the following:

  • Criminal prosecution for felony
  • Incarceration for up to 10 years in federal prison
  • Fines of up to $250,000
  • Revocation of firearm license
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