But the county’s attorney says the sheriff has federal law on his side.
Willis volunteers with Patient Services, a nonprofit group that helps people obtain medical marijuana cards.
Leland Berger, Willis‘ attorney who has been a legal advocate for medical marijuana patients, said the sheriff has been attempting to discriminate against those patients by not issuing the permits.
The U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 specifically forbids anyone who uses or is addicted to a controlled substance from having a firearm. Willis admitted to using medical marijuana when she filed her application with the sheriff for a concealed weapons permit.
Kirchoff argues in the brief that the Oregon Court of Appeals ruling would force the sheriff to issue a concealed weapons permit to a person who admits to using methamphetamine.
He stated that when there is a conflict between federal and state laws, federal law should prevail.
Upholding an earlier ruling by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Mark Schiveley, the appeals court in June concluded the sheriff would not violate the federal Gun Control Act by issuing a handgun permit to Willis based on Oregon’s concealed handgun licensing laws. The federal act gives states the authority to set their own rules for gun ownership, the court determined.
The Court of Appeals reasoned that the concealed weapons permit by itself, doesn’t authorize a person, even one who uses a controlled substance, to actually possess a handgun.