A retired Army veteran in Texas was recently barred from purchasing a gun after a background check turned up a misdemeanor marijuana conviction from 1971.
Ron Kelly, who served on the frontlines for 20 years (and fired “perhaps 100,000 rounds of government ammo” in that time), was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana while he was a high school student. He served a night in jail and a year of probation. As a result, he has been added to a list of Americans who are permanently prohibited from purchasing a gun.
Kelly’s case is not unique: There have been several court rulings on the legality of denying marijuana users their Constitutional rights. In 2011, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana patients cannot be stripped of their rights to own guns. Texas law, however, states that citizens can be prevented from owning guns if they are convicted of certain crimes. And federal law prevents anyone who uses illegal drugs to own or possess a firearm.
Kelly has contacted U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul and Sen. John Cornyn for their assistance in resolving the issue.