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Old January 10, 2013, 09:05 PM   #9
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 8,773
Originally Posted by Wbdisco
...I was more asking the question of why a state couldn't pass a law allowing "assault weapons" if there were ever a ban. I was thinking that under the current MJ laws, the feds aren't really bothering the states that have it legal under medical or recreation uses....
  1. That's all about the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors generally can decide how to use limited resources.

    In some cases a policy decision to back off of certain types of crimes might be driven by a conclusion that enough people, particularly among the current administration's constituency, find the conduct relatively benign. That might not be the case with other matters.

    To put some flesh on those bones, I can see the appeal to the current administration of soft peddling recreation marijuana prosecutions in State which have decriminalized it. And I can accept that the current administration could reasonably conclude that it has adequate political cover to support that policy decision. But if the subject were a matter about which the current administration's constituency was likely to feel differently, e. g., guns, I don't think we could count on the same level of prosecutorial forbearance.

  2. And looking at the marijuana issue, the Obama administration might have a policy not to vigorously enforce federal controlled substance law with respect to recreational marijuana use. That doesn't mean that the Obama administration isn't going to vigorously enforce federal gun laws with regard to persons who are unlawful users of a controlled substance and who are unlawfully, under federal law, in possession of a gun.

  3. A a month or so ago I did a quick search of federal appellate court decisions in a legal data base I subscribe to and quickly found more than 50 cases apparently involving convictions for being an unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a gun. Those were just appeals, and there were probably more; but I didn't see any point to spending any more time on it.

  4. So imagine that the Obama administration would back off enforcing federal gun laws in a State that with a more lenient guns laws that conflicted with federal law?
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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