Gun rights group in the “Live Free or Die” State supports legislative efforts to legalize marijuana.
“It’s long past time to throw scarce tax revenues into fighting a silly and counterproductive war on marijuana,” said Richard Feldman, President of New Hampshire-based Independent Firearm Owners Assoc. “Attempts to prevent legal marijuana has become a bottomless pit of tax funded resources.”
Last month IFoA endorsed NH Senate Bill 233 that, if passed into law, would commission a study into the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. IFoA is a criminal justice advocacy group formed to protect the individual citizen over the ever-encroaching collective power of the state.
In a statement made on behalf of IFoA, Feldman said both the pro-gun and the pro-marijuana communities are in pursuit of the same non-partisan cause: protecting universal civil rights. Calling for a return to liberty and a respect for individual rights, he encouraged activists from across the political spectrum to coordinate with marijuana reform campaigns.
Feldman, who is a former political director for the National Rifle Association, said, “Much of the impulse to over-regulate and ban firearms would evaporate overnight, along with much of the crime, by joining forces with the anti-prohibition forces to take away the lucrative black market for both drugs and guns by legalizing marijuana.”
The political cliché “combating crime” invoked by pandering politicians to control both guns and drugs is a failed scheme, he argued. “Blaming either guns or drugs for violence is an intellectual cop-out.” Prohibition in fact enables black market economies to be regulated by violence, he said.
“Competition for control of lucrative illegal markets for banned drugs makes violence an inevitable means to settle arguments since neither the courts nor the police enforce business transactions between gangsters.”
Feldman, who is the author of Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist, said: “Pro-gun rights legislators should understand that the expansion of federal power to curtail their favored liberties: to keep and bear arms on one side and to consume whatever substance consenting adults, or their physicians desire, on the other, began at roughly the same time.”
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates the licensing, sale, possession, and interstate transportation of firearms, ammunition and explosives, was organized because of the 1968 Gun Control Act, he said. While the stated mission of BATF is to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally incompetent, he said the law enforcement agency has a known history of “overzealousness” that continues today.
“The BATF has announced, without input from Congress or the public, that anyone who has a state-issued medical marijuana card is no longer eligible to own a gun,” he continued. “The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that this action has instantly deprived 1,000,000 Americans of their Second Amendment rights with the stroke of a pen.”
The War on Drugs contrived by Richard Nixon in 1971, was the second movement enacted at the time that took its toll on individual liberty in the name of safety, said Feldman. “Whatever inappropriate zest the BATF may be accused of pales in comparison to the victimization of our citizens by the War on Drugs; which is really a War on Drug Users, a/k/a Americans.”
He said the direct cost to our court and prison system in the War on Drugs is $51 billion, annually. “Less understood is the indirect cost in ruined lives, sundered families and the pervasive violence that surrounds the drug trade.” Over the last four decades, he said the American government has squandered over a trillion dollars waging an unwinnable War on Drugs.
“Forget that we shelled out $450 billion in federal corrections dollars or $190 billion to police our porous borders, arrest 37 million non-violent drug offenders in our country and pay for policing other countries. Don’t even think about the tax dollars that flowed from State treasury coffers into this economic sinkhole.a’
New Hampshire has an opportunity to lower crime rates, save money, and help protect and preserve our civil liberties, said Feldman. “The ‘Live Free or Die’ State should have little difficulty making the choice to expand liberty and not restrict it.”