Members of a group in Colorado called the Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights hope to obtain enough signatures to put an initiative on the November 2016 ballot that would allow the state’s voters to decide whether admitted marijuana users can obtain licenses to carry concealed firearms.
The measure would ask voters to agree to overturn a current state law which permits sheriffs to reject concealed carry permits if applicants admit to — or are found to — use pot, reports the Daily Mail.
If successful, the measure would put Colorado state law in conflict with a set of 2011 federal guidelines from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concerning ganja and guns.
Gun-rights activists disagree on the wisdom of the proposed legislation.
Advocates say current law is unfair and hypocritical.
“Somebody can get extremely drunk — Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and all week if they want — and they can still get a concealed carry permit,” ballot measure organizer Edgar Antillon told the Mail.
“It’s just ridiculous,” he added.
Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association, disagrees.
“Federal law prohibits the possession and use of marijuana and its derivatives, and therefore its possession and use is incompatible with legal, responsible firearms ownership,” Fabian told the Mail.
Many county sheriffs have also expressed hostility to Colorado becoming the first blunt-smoking, concealed-carry combo state.
Under existing Colorado law, residents seeking concealed-carry permits are asked 14 questions under oath. Among the questions are whether applicants have been convicted of felonies, or are under restraining orders, or have been treated for alcoholism in the last decade, or currently use marijuana “or any other controlled substance” unlawfully.
The “unlawful” part is tricky because Colorado has now legalized the sale of recreational and medical marijuana but federal law still prohibits the sale of the drug.
Antillon told the Mail that he knows of many people who have applied for a concealed-carry license in Colorado and been denied because of their marijuana use. Pot users are being “punished and can’t defend their lives,” he said.