The Opposition to MM Patients and Caregivers with Guns- The response to this insanity is gaining steam.
I can honestly say that this has simply been one of the most troubling directions that the law regarding patients and caregivers has gone. Hopefully the momentum will continue and some of this insanity can stop. Thank you to our friends Lee Berger and David Goldberg.
Opposition to Winters' gun appeal gains steam
By Damian Mann
A team of legal experts from around the country has joined forces to contest a U.S. Supreme Court challenge by Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters that seeks to block medical marijuana patients from receiving concealed handgun licenses.
The lawyers assert the federal government has no authority over a state statute regarding concealed handgun licenses. Carrying a concealed weapon without a license is only a misdemeanor in Oregon.
In addition, the lawyers from Portland, Washington, D.C., New York and Virginia wade into state versus federal rights issues, asserting the federal government cannot commandeer the activities of local governments.
One of the lawyers is Leland Berger of Portland, who has taken on other cases involving medical marijuana issues. Among those joining him is David Goldberg of New York, who also has handled marijuana-related legal challenges.
The case involving Sheriff Mike Winters v. Cynthia Willis of Gold Hill has met with some interest by the high court.
Winters denied Willis a concealed handgun license in 2008 on the grounds that she uses medical marijuana, which is considered a controlled substance by the federal government.
The sheriff argued that he couldn't give the license to Willis because that would violate the Gun Control Act of 1968. Winters has lost every court case so far, including one before the Oregon Supreme Court.
Winters appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in July.
The sheriff has provided concealed handgun licenses to Willis and other medical marijuana patients as a result of those court rulings.
A similar case from Washington County also is being considered by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide in January whether it will put the case on its formal docket. Of the 10,000 cases sent to the Supreme Court in a given year, only about 200 prompt a ruling.
In an email, Ryan Kirchoff, attorney for Jackson County, stated the team of attorneys presented their arguments clearly and in good faith, but he said they didn't undermine the county's central argument that Oregon has preempted federal law.
Kirchoff stated he refuted the legal argument that the federal government would commandeer state's rights if it struck down the Oregon statute regarding the concealed handgun license.
The lawyers for Willis argue that Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming don't even require a permit to conceal a weapon.
"Under petitioners' preemption theory, those regimes pose at least as much of an 'obstacle' to Congress's purpose as Oregon's does," the brief states.
Under Oregon statute, medical marijuana patients should be given a concealed weapons permit if they are otherwise law-abiding citizens, the lawyers state.
Winters went beyond the requirements of the state statute by asking concealed handgun permit applicants whether they had ever used medical marijuana, the lawyers noted.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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