Jared Michael Harrison’s charge was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Patrick R. Wyrick on Friday. He claimed that the law used to prohibit marijuana users from owning firearms is “unconstitutionally ambiguous, in violation of the Due Process Clause, and it unconstitutionally infringes upon his basic right to carry a handgun, in violation of the Second Amendment.”
A federal grand jury indicted Harrison on August 17, 2022, for having a handgun while being a “unauthorized user of marijuana,” citing 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) in the indictment.
18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) prohibits the possession of a handgun by anybody “who is an illegal user of or addicted to any restricted drug.”
Wyrick considered the indictment in light of the Supreme Court’s Bruen (2022) ruling, since Harrison asserted that he had a constitutional right to own a weapon and that 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) “infringed on that right.”
Wyrick made the following observation:
“Section 922(g)(3) doesn’t have a long history; it was not included in the Gun Control Act of 1968. The statute originally prohibited any person who was “an unlawful user of marijuana or any stimulant drug or depressant… or narcotic drug” from obtaining a firearm, but it was revised in 1986 to broadly restrict the receipt or possession of a gun by any individual who “is an unlawful user of or addicted to any prohibited drug.” In its current form, 922(g)(3) deprives a person of their basic right to carry a handgun the moment they become a “illegal user” of marijuana. And, in the eyes of the United States, all marijuana users are “illegal users.”
“The question here thus becomes whether stripping someone of their right to carry a handgun purely because they consume marijuana is compatible with the Nation’s historical practice of firearm control,” Wyrick said, citing Bruen. “If it is not, then 922(g)(3) cannot be applied to Harrison, regardless of how reasonable the policy it reflects.”
Wyrick reached the conclusion that “18 U.S.C. 922(g)(3) violates Harrison’s Second Amendment right to bear arms,” and the request to dismiss Harrison’s indictment was approved.