I heard through the grapevine that a CCW instructor was telling people it was illegal for them to have a gun and prescription medication in their possession at the same time. I’ve heard others say it’s illegal for gun owners to take anti-depressants or other medicals for psychological problems, pain medications, sleeping pills, etc. This is false, except if you are taking them illegally without a prescription.
Specifically, federal law says “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance," 18 USC § 922(g). An "unlawful user" is someone who is an addict or using a prescription drug without a valid prescription. Have a prescription and you're not a pill popper? You're good.
21 USC. § 802 defines an addict and the drugs that are illegal.:
The term 'addict' means any individual who habitually uses any narcotic drug so as to endanger the public morals, health, safety, or welfare, or who is so far addicted to the use of narcotic drugs as to have lost the power of self-control with reference to his addiction.
Sounds like the people that the pharmacist get suspicious of, right?
The DEA has the short version of the scheduled drugs. Schedule 1 drugs—marijuana, cocaine, heroin—are always off-limits federally, though as we know, weed is no longer a big deal socially, the ATF takes marijuana and guns seriously. Prescription drugs (Schedule 2-5) are not illegal, when taken by someone who has a valid prescription.
So no, if you take Xanax for anxiety off your doctor’s prescription, you are not committing a crime if you carry or buy a gun. Where it becomes problematic is if you are taking the drugs without a prescription or are obviously abusing them. A medication addict is obvious; you have to go to different doctors all the time to get prescriptions for Oxy or whatnot because you’ll go into withdrawals without it. Taking your Xanax everyday simply to avoid your hellish job jacking your blood pressure up so high you need medication for that is not addiction.
If you used drugs in the past, but have given them up (well and truly sober; not the “I haven’t used in a long time,” which means five minutes ago, lie seen nightly on Cops), you’re okay. Here’s what the ATF had to say about that:
Such use is not limited to the use of drugs on a particular day, or within a matter of days or weeks before, but rather that the unlawful use has occurred recently enough to indicate that the individual is actively engaged in such conduct.
An inference of current use may be drawn from evidence of a recent use or possession of a controlled substance or a pattern of use or possession that reasonably covers the present time, e.g., a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year, or multiple arrests for such offenses within the past five years if the most recent arrest occurred within the past year.
So to summarize: if you have a valid prescription for a legitimate problem and are not addicted to pills, it’s legal for you to own, buy, and carry a gun. If you abuse medication, use medication that is not prescribed to you, or use hard drugs (including marijuana), you are a prohibited person. Having your Xanax in your purse next to your gun is not illegal, but you should probably find some non-medicinal or non-“herbal” remedies for your problems.
Three words: Sascha Baron Cohen. The man has made a career based on crass humor and exploiting people to embarrass themselves on camera. He's not funny, just an ass. One gun store called him out on trying to dupe them like they did for the widely publicized guns-and-stuffed animals bit from Cohen's new program.
Steve Hofstetter, a comedian made on YouTube fame stepped all over himself when made a video that implied he was making a straw purchase to supposedly show how "easy" it is to buy a gun in Nevada. Hofstetter, Cohen, and many others in the mass media, great and small, have used and manipulated gun owners and activists into serving their own sick agenda for the sake of views. Fox 5's Cyndi Lundeberg lured Nevada Carry into an introduction to a gun dealer for a hit piece on so-called "assault weapons," implying that people would openly carry them on the Strip. The video is no longer available, but here is our reply.
After being fooled by the "journalist" (info babe with a camera guy), we decided not to cooperate with the media. Far too many times we gun owners have seen the truth we've spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. Media requests are only granted by Nevada Carry after a thorough examination of the journalists background and intentions and generally only for print.
The mass media cannot be trusted with any serious debate or expected to honestly debate an issue anymore. Months ago, Rob Pincus sounded the alarm after he was almost caught in the trap that made Philip Van Cleave of VCDL look so foolish. Protecting children from armed murders by allowing their teachers to defend themselves with guns is no laughing matter. This wasn't satire; it was character assassination and entertainment for knaves and fools.
Take some time to review our suggested Gun Community Rules for Media Contact.
During the fears of an active shooter on the loose at Town Square in Las Vegas, a legal concealed carrier on the patio at Yard House rose up to defend his fellow diners, if it had been necessary.
A parent posted on Nextdoor what his daughter saw during dinner. “At that moment a man at a table next to them stood up, put his hand on his hip and told everyone to crawl into the restaurant and seek shelter and he, a licensed carrier would protect them.” Having no obligation to do so, this brave, anonymous man took charge and was ready to defend strangers against the gunman.
No gunman came. According to police, Rayvon Berton got into a fight at Gameworks (located across from Yard House) and eventually pulled out the gun he was not licensed to carry. Police arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon. Several others were arrested. Last year, a man was arrested for threatening to shoot up a movie at the AMC theater nearby.
Though witnesses reported that they heard gunshots, no evidence of that was found. Witness reports in the middle of such hysteria are often inaccurate. Imagine a giant game of telephone with lots of screaming and loud noises.
Town Square is known to trespass open carriers and their parent company is believed to be anti-gun. Gun free policies do not keep unlicensed hot heads like Rayvon Berton from carrying illegally or brandishing their handguns. The laws against fighting, brandishing, and assaulting others with deadly weapons certainly failed to keep Berton in check Friday night.
Legally armed citizens often feel themselves called under such circumstances to shepherd the defenseless as our anonymous hero would have done. You are the protector of yourself, your friends and family, and those around you. Gun free zones protect no one but criminals. Depend on no one else.
Thanks to Gavin for the tip.
Support Nevada Carry/Frontier Carry on Patreon for just $1 a month! This helps us keep the lights on and cover our expenses where the paltry ad revenue can't. It's a way to contribute something to help us keep spreading the truth about gun laws, gun control, and history. In return, you get access to rare tidbits I've found in historical research, links to scholarly articles, invitations to meet ups, premium Q&A questions etc. Please email regarding one-time donations.