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Ohio Courts Dodge Second Amendment Issue

The case involves someone convicted of a drug misdemeanor so minor, there’s not even jail time for it. The court mentions the Second Amendment argument, and then proceeds to completely ignore it. Eugene Volokh notes:

So it seems that the court is concluding that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect people who have even a minor misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction — not a felony, not a violent misdemeanor, not even a misdemeanor that could yield any time at all in jail, and not anything that involves a finding that the defendant is an illegal drug user right now — without at all explaining why this should indeed be so. Strikes me as pretty hard to defend; or am I missing something here?

I’d say it’s pretty hard to defend, and I find it interesting how many lower level courts just want to dispose of the Second Amendment issue, usually through citation of the “longstanding prohibitions” language in Heller. I think it’s probably constitutional to deny Second Amendment rights to people addicted to drugs much in the same manner as people who are mentally ill. But that prohibition shouldn’t be permanent. It seems ridiculous that someone could suffer a lifetime prohibition for a crime that doesn’t rank much higher than a traffic ticket.

6 Responses to “Ohio Courts Dodge Second Amendment Issue”

  1. Chas says:

    Markie Marxist sez: “Of course someone should suffer a lifetime prohibition for a crime that doesn’t rank much higher than a traffic ticket, because we eventually want to get to the point where there’s a lifetime prohibition for merely a parking ticket. It’s just common communist sense like that.”

  2. Sage Thrasher says:

    I think there’s a case from Oregon headed to the Supreme Court about whether those with state prescription marijuana cards should be allowed to retain their CHLs. If the state is allowing people to own a highly desirable (for some) and still technically illegal (for most) substance, it would follow in my view the state should allow them the means to protect themselves from would-be robbers. Ideologically there is so little left/right consistency around the drug war that I can’t even guess what the SCOTUS outcome would be or which justice would vote each way.

    The recent SCOTUS decision saying states can’t limit video game sales to minors based on violent but can based on sexual content is another example of where the justices seem to be following their personal opinions before looking for inferences in the Constitution to back up whatever they were going to say regardless. The drug war is pretty much always like that, too.

  3. MicroBalrog says:

    Ah, the marvelous Heller dicta strike again.

  4. johnnyreb™ says:

    Hopefully the newly passed HB45 will be able to be applied retro-actively in these cases. Buckeye Firearms Assoc. touches upon this issue briefly here:

    http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7858

  5. dustydog says:

    Both President Bush and President Obama have admitted to being addicted to cocaine in their youths, and having used marijuana regularly. The bar for gun ownership should not be higher than the bar for elected office.

  6. A Critic says:

    “I think it’s probably constitutional to deny Second Amendment rights to people addicted to drugs much in the same manner as people who are mentally ill. ”

    You think wrong.

    Drugs are property. Property is an inalienable right. It is not constitutional to deny one right because a person exercises another right. (and if addiction were just cause for prohibiting people from exercising their right to arms, it would logically apply to nearly all as 90%+ of our populace is hooked on caffeine and much of the rest is hooked on alcohol and or nicotine)

    Nor is it constitutional to deny a person a right merely because they are labeled “mentally ill”. After the DSM-V is published it seems most people shall be so labeled…but that doesn’t mean squat as for a legal justification to deny rights.

    Also, the use of a drug is not necessarily abuse of a drug, and the use or abuse of a drug are not necessary signs of drug addiction, and while marijuana may be abused, it is still highly debatable as to whether anyone can become addicted to it (the few people who have more than trivial withdrawal symptoms appear to actually be suffering from the symptoms of ill health).

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