The purchase of a firearm requires a statement that the purchaser is not addicted to controlled substances. That being said, is there a "bright line" for determining alcohol addiction? What exactly is the litmus test be for alcohol addiction?

Addiction may be obvious (loss of job, DUI, etc.) however, is one glass of wine with dinner every day (consumption frequency) qualify as addiction?

  • 2
    Loss of job and DUI doesn't mean you are addicted. The only time you had alcohol in the last year was during the company's Christmas party, then you got drunk, punched your boss, and drove off going through all red traffic lights.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 15 at 17:22
  • What is the actual wording of the question or statement that needs to be affirmed on the application form? Sep 15 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


18 USC 922(d)(3) prohibits transfer to a person if you "know or have reasonable cause to believe" they unlawfully use or are addicted to controlled substances (which does not include alcohol). The Controlled Substances act to which the firearms law refers defined "addict" as

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.

Ethanol is not a controlled substance, under US law.

  • Fascinating... Alcoholics are not precluded from buying firearms?
    – gatorback
    Sep 15 at 15:42
  • 1
    Nor are people who drink beer, as opposed to people who use heroin. Actually, a better way to put it is that you can't sell to a known drug user, but you can sell to a known beer-drinker.
    – user6726
    Sep 15 at 16:16
  • Wait... An addict is "any individual ... who is so far addicted to the use of ..."
    – DJohnM
    Sep 15 at 19:52
  • 1
    @DJohnM: The section isn't trying to define the general concept of "addict" or "addiction". It's defining a specific meaning for "addict" applicable only to its use in this section. So this specific sense of "addict" is defined in terms of the general sense of "addiction". It's not circular. It does leave "addiction" undefined, so it's assumed to have its common meaning. But it's true that this doesn't answer the question of how courts usually determine, in practice, whether a person fits this definition. Sep 16 at 16:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .