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Thread: Open carry in a federal facility - exceptions

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    Regular Member Obi Wan's Avatar
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    Open carry in a federal facility - exceptions

    This site has been a big help to me as I figure out how to handle open carry situations.

    Another question popped up while going hiking in a nearby National Forest.
    My wife and I were both OC'ing while traveling.
    Both firearms were loaded.

    But RCW 9.41.050 says this is not legal.
    Quoted in relevant part:

    RCW 9.41.050
    Carrying firearms.

    (2)(a) A person shall not carry or place a loaded pistol in any vehicle unless the person has a license to carry a concealed pistol:


    However, we are also aware of RCW 9.41.060, which states in pertinent part:

    RCW 9.41.060
    Exceptions to restrictions on carrying firearms.
    The provisions of RCW 9.41.050 shall not apply to:

    (8) Any person engaging in a lawful outdoor recreational activity such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, or horseback riding, only if, considering all of the attendant circumstances, including but not limited to whether the person has a valid hunting or fishing license, it is reasonable to conclude that the person is participating in lawful outdoor activities or is traveling to or from a legitimate outdoor recreation area
    ;

    Considering the fact that we were on our way to go hiking,
    RCW 9.41.060 (8) provides an exception to RCW 9.41.050,
    so open carrying our loaded weapons in a vehicle while traveling to the hiking area is legal.

    Right?

    On the way, we stopped by the ranger station to pick up a map or two.
    A ranger station is a Federal Facility, so possession is banned by 18 USC 930,
    which states in relevant part:

    TITLE 18—CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
    § 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.


    But there appears to be an exception to this rule, which is codified in subsection d:

    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes
    .

    Hiking in the national forest is certainly within the domain of a 'lawful purpose'.
    But there was a 'No weapons' sign on the door.

    Ok, moment of indecision.
    Am I legal to go on in? (option 1)
    Or do I leave the loaded gun in the car in the manner described in RCW 9.41.050 (2)(iii)?
    (locked vehicle and out of sight)
    (option 2)

    I chose option 2, because I was not sure of my self...

    What is the wisdom of the forum...
    should I have been ok to carry inside the ranger station, past the gun buster sign?

    Obi Wan

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    9.41.050,so open carrying our loaded weapons in a vehicle while traveling to the hiking area is legal.

    yes, this is correct, as long as firearms are pistols.

    as I understand it, any federal facilities still have to be clearly posted as no firearms areas, so, no I dont think that would be permitted if u walked by the signs and could face charges... smart move leaving it behind...

    State law cannot usually preempt federal laws
    I am not a lawyer tho...
    Last edited by MattinWA; 10-21-2013 at 03:35 PM.

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    18 USC 930(g) As used in this section:
    (1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
    Last edited by notalawyer; 10-21-2013 at 04:48 PM.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notalawyer View Post
    18 USC 930(g) As used in this section:
    (1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

    EG post office....
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

    EG post office....
    Incorrect.
    39 USC 410
    (a) Except as provided by subsection (b) of this section, and except as otherwise provided in this title or insofar as such laws remain in force as rules or regulations of the Postal Service, no Federal law dealing with public or Federal contracts, property, works, officers, employees, budgets, or funds, including the provisions of chapters 5 and 7 of title 5, shall apply to the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service.

    (b) The following provisions shall apply to the Postal Service:

    (1) section 552 (public information), section 552a (records about individuals), section 552b (open meetings), section 3102 (employment of personal assistants for blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped employees), section 3110 (restrictions on employment of relatives), section 3333 and chapters 72 (antidiscrimination; right to petition Congress) and 73 (suitability, security, and conduct of employees), section 5520 (withholding city income or employment taxes), and section 5532 (dual pay) of title 5, except that no regulation issued under such chapters or section shall apply to the Postal Service unless expressly made applicable;

    (2) all provisions of title 18 dealing with the Postal Service, the mails, and officers or employees of the Government of the United States;
    Which means that 18 USC 930 does not apply to Post Office Property.

    Here is that applicble Post Office regulation:
    39 CFR 232.1
    (l) Weapons and explosives. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule or regulation, no person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notalawyer View Post
    Incorrect.
    39 USC 410


    Which means that 18 USC 930 does not apply to Post Office Property.

    Here is that applicble Post Office regulation:
    39 CFR 232.1
    US constitution Article 1 section 8
    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms.
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    This trumps 'your' law
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    It's cute to see people who still believe that the federal gov or it's agencies follow any kind of written law
    Last edited by MattinWA; 10-21-2013 at 11:26 PM.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattinWA View Post
    It's cute to see people who still believe that the federal gov or it's agencies follow any kind of written law
    I know that this state doesn't either.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    I know that this state doesn't either.
    But at the least on a state level, we have some power to inflict change. How do we recall tsa and nsa officials and shut down covert domestic spying. Rep or dem gets elected, these programs will continue to operate unhindered.
    They all blindly support isreal, whom I believe and history has shown, is our enemy, or at least far from friendly.
    Does anyone agree? Or am I crazy

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattinWA View Post
    But at the least on a state level, we have some power to inflict change. How do we recall tsa and nsa officials and shut down covert domestic spying. Rep or dem gets elected, these programs will continue to operate unhindered.
    They all blindly support isreal, whom I believe and history has shown, is our enemy, or at least far from friendly.
    Does anyone agree? Or am I crazy
    Fairly hard to do that too.

    Statist judges just ruled against the peoples right to know about their governments actions. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/S...228201191.html

    What a bunch of hoey, invented terms like "executive privelege" no such thing in a constitutionally restricted government.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    Regular Member Difdi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattinWA View Post
    State law cannot usually preempt federal laws
    Depends on the law. For example, Washington's legalization of cannabis partially overturns the Controlled Substances Act within the borders of the state, at least as it pertains to cannabis. The 9th, 10th, 18th (repealed) and 21st amendments make it pretty clear where the authority to prohibit a substance lies. The feds had the same amount of federal supremacy before they passed and ratified the 18th amendment as they do now...and they had to amend the US constitution to prohibit alcohol. And then the enabling amendment for that got repealed.

    Federal statutes almost always trump state statutes, but federal statutes get annihilated where they disagree with the US constitution.

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    Regular Member Munkey Butt's Avatar
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    So where is the lock box that the post office povides? I've yet to find any at my local P.O.
    -PJ

    "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." -Amendment Two, The Constitution of the United States

    "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired..." -Amendment Two, The Constitution of the United States

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    US constitution Article 1 section 8
    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms.
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    This trumps 'your' law


    I was simply pointing out that 18 USC 930 does not apply to post office property, 39 CFR 232.1 does.

    I made no statement as to the constitutionality of either.

  14. #14
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Munkey Butt View Post
    So where is the lock box that the post office povides? I've yet to find any at my local P.O.
    Or any firearms prohibited signs.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member JustaShooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Or any firearms prohibited signs.
    Odd, they are all posted around here.
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    Anything I post in these forums is my personal opinion formed by my own interpretation of the topic.
    IANAL and anything I say is not intended to be nor should it be taken as legal advice.

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustaShooter View Post
    Odd, they are all posted around here.
    Have not seen them in Monroe or Federal Way so far.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Or any firearms prohibited signs.
    Signs are not required to arrest folks for a violation of the law.

  18. #18
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notalawyer View Post
    Signs are not required to arrest folks for a violation of the law.
    I'll have to remember that if I ever get a certified letter in the mail that I don't want.

    Sorry, for me to pick it up would require me to either break the law or surrender my rights....
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member Obi Wan's Avatar
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    While the above has been mildly entertaining,
    should I have been ok to carry inside the ranger station, past the gun buster sign?

    Obi Wan

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi Wan View Post
    While the above has been mildly entertaining,
    should I have been ok to carry inside the ranger station, past the gun buster sign?

    Obi Wan
    The simple answer is NO....
    As to the exception in 930(d)(3) for "the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes," please be aware that there is no federal case discussing the meaning of this specific exception to the law. While some claim it means that a person lawfully carrying a holstered handgun for self defense in a National Park should be able to carry it into the visitor's center, since self defense is "a lawful purpose," the people making such claims are not federal judges. The plain truth is that this provision has never been tested in federal court. The downside of being the first test case is that failure carries the potential penalty of federal prison. Remember that the federal judges who will determine such cases work in federal buildings, and their viewpoint may be colored by their particular circumstance.


    Last edited by Bill Starks; 10-23-2013 at 02:43 AM.

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom1Man View Post
    Or any firearms prohibited signs.
    Both of these things are stated quite clearly in federal law, but be forewarned: they may not mean what you think they mean. Let's start with the "notice" law. Word for word, it states:
    Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the case may be.
    It clearly says "posted conspicuously at each public entrance." Those of you who have ever been in a post office, however, will recall that the sign is is usually not at the entrance, but somewhere inside the building on a bulletin board.
    In a recent federal court case from Maine, a man was convicted of carrying a black powder pistol into the lobby of a federal building. He defended himself by arguing that the signs were on the far side of the lobby and not "at each public entrance," and, therefore, he should not be convicted unless he walked past the metal detectors and signs. The court disagreed, holding that the man had notice.
    The sign law does not apply if "such person had actual notice of subsection (a)." Subsection (a) is simply the part of the law that says it is illegal to carry a weapon into a federal facility. Bloggers commenting on the notice aspect of the federal law never mention this portion of the law, but it is at the end of the quote posted above. Therefore, once a park ranger tells you your weapon is illegal inside the building, you have your actual notice regardless of the lack of a sign at the entrance.

  22. #22
    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    FYI - Post Office public parking lots are now legal for carry

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/domes...g-lot-20130711

    Tab Bonidy was polite enough to ask before he brought a gun into a Colorado post office. In 2010 his lawyer sent a letter to USPS asking whether Bonidy would be prosecuted if he brought a firearm inside the facility or left one in his car while, let's say, purchasing stamps. And he got a response.
    According to Thursday's ruling by District Judge Richard Matsch, the USPS legal counsel responded to Bonidy, saying, "Regulations governing conduct on postal property prevent (Bonidy) from carrying firearms, openly or concealed, onto any real property under the charge and control of the Postal Service."
    She was referring to Title 39 of the Federal Regulations, which dates back to 1972:
    Weapons and explosives. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule or regulation, no person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.
    Feeling his rights were being violated, Bonidy teamed up with the National Association for Gun Rights to file suit against this provision.
    And they won. Well, at least partially. Judge Matsch maintained that USPS did violate Bonidy's rights by not permitting him to leave a gun in the trunk of his car. But guns inside the post office itself are still forbidden


  23. #23
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Starks View Post
    FYI - Post Office public parking lots are now legal for carry

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/domes...g-lot-20130711

    Tab Bonidy was polite enough to ask before he brought a gun into a Colorado post office. In 2010 his lawyer sent a letter to USPS asking whether Bonidy would be prosecuted if he brought a firearm inside the facility or left one in his car while, let's say, purchasing stamps. And he got a response.
    According to Thursday's ruling by District Judge Richard Matsch, the USPS legal counsel responded to Bonidy, saying, "Regulations governing conduct on postal property prevent (Bonidy) from carrying firearms, openly or concealed, onto any real property under the charge and control of the Postal Service."
    She was referring to Title 39 of the Federal Regulations, which dates back to 1972:
    Weapons and explosives. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, rule or regulation, no person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.
    Feeling his rights were being violated, Bonidy teamed up with the National Association for Gun Rights to file suit against this provision.
    And they won. Well, at least partially. Judge Matsch maintained that USPS did violate Bonidy's rights by not permitting him to leave a gun in the trunk of his car. But guns inside the post office itself are still forbidden

    It is NOT true that it is "now legal" to carry in a vehicle at a US Post Office. This is misinformation. Please substantiate your claim with something other than a news article that jumps to conclusions.

    Here is the full ruling from the judge:


    http://www.mountainstateslegal.org/n...r#.Umd26CSE50O

    This ruling allows this particular citizen to keep his gun in his car at this particular Post Office. That is all:

    ORDERED, that the Defendants take such action as is necessary to permit Tab Bonidy to use the public parking lot adjacent to the Avon Post Office Building with a firearm authorized by his Concealed Carry Permit secured in his car in a reasonably prescribed manner..."
    In fact, the judge even takes into consideration complicating factors that only apply at this particular Post Office because it does not deliver mail to local residents:

    The Town of Avon, population 6,365, is high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The Avon Post Office is a freestanding building, with a 57-space parking lot reserved for Post Office patrons, and an employee parking lot behind the building. There are five public parking spaces in front of the Post Office on West Beaver Creek Boulevard. Parking on that street is prohibited when there are more than two inches of snow on the ground. The Avon Post Office does not provide delivery services to the public. It provides free post office boxes in an area of the Post Office that is open to the public at all times. The mail service counter opens and closes on a regular schedule. There are no security personnel or devices on the site. Access to the area behind the mail service counter, the mail sorting area, and the employee parking lot is restricted. Approximately 500 window customers are served at the Post Office each day it is in operation. The parking lot adjacent to the Avon postal building is openly available to the public. There is a sign at the front of the lot reading: “US POSTAL PROPERTY / 30 MINUTE PARKING / VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED AT OWNERS EXPENSE.” That time limit is not enforced. There are two mailboxes in the lot for customers to drop off outgoing mail while driving through. Tab Bonidy lives in a rural area and drives several miles from his home to the Avon Post Office to pick up mail from his free PO box in the open area of the building.
    The judge even goes further and states that the Avon Post Office in question is different than another Post Office from a cited case because the other Post Office uses its parking lot for "loading mail and staging its mail trucks" and Avon does not:

    Next, Defendants point out that the Fifth Circuit upheld the precise regulation at issue here, after concluding that a USPS employee parking lot qualified as a sensitive place because “the Postal Service used the parking lot for loading mail and staging its mail trucks”; in other words, “as a place of regular government business.” United States v. Dorosan, 350 Fed. App’x 874, 875 (5th Cir. 2009) (unpublished). This case is different. In terms of postal business being conducted in the parking lot, Defendants have offered evidence that there are mailboxes in the lot that patrons may use to drop off mail while driving through. But lone mail receptacles used by an undetermined number of transient patrons is easily distinguishable from the lot at issue in Dorosan, which was regularly used by Postal Service employees for processing high volumes of mail via USPS mail trucks. See Dorosan, 350 Fed. App’x at 875. In addition, there are no restrictions on access to the Avon Post Office parking lot beyond a sign posted at the front of the lot limiting parking to 30 minutes, which is not meaningfully enforced. As shown by the aerial photographs in the record, there is little to distinguish the USPS parking lot from other public parking lots in the near vicinity. By contrast, Dorosan involved a USPS employee parking lot that was enclosed by a gate, with a sign on both entrances warning that vehicles entering the lot were subject to search. United Case 1:10-cv-02408-RPM Document 44 Filed 07/09/13 USDC Colorado Page 6 of 117 States v. Dorosan , No. 08-042, 2008 WL 2622996, at *1 (E.D. La. June 30, 2008) (Knowles, M.J.). Therefore, Dorosan ’s reasoning and facts are not helpful to Defendants’ position. Considering other indicia of sensitive places, an official, core government function is not performed in the Avon Post Office parking lot; rather, except for the presence of a few mailboxes, the lot merely facilitates the government function taking place inside by giving patrons a place to park. The government business done in the parking lot is thus not of the “same extent or nature as that done in schools, post offices, and courthouses.” Doe v. Wilmington Housing Auth., 880 F. Supp. 2d 513, 532 (D. Del. 2012) (applying reasoning to common areas of public housing). Moreover, Defendants have offered no evidence that a substantial number of people congregate or are present in the parking lot. Cf. Nordyke v. King, 563 F.3d 439, 459-60 (9th Cir. 2009) (noting parking lots of public buildings “[seem] odd as a ‘sensitive place,’” because they are not “places where high numbers of people might congregate”), vacated on other grounds by 611 F.3d 1015 (9th Cir. 2010). And while patrons may reasonably expect that the Postal Service will take measures to keep the parking lot safe, that expectation is less compelling than the expectation of safety inside the building, where the USPS does business and exercises greater control.
    It is possible that this ruling will serve as precedent for future cases but it is also possible that it will not, due to the specific and potentially unusual circumstances outlined in the ruling. Until then it only affects this individual in this Post Office's parking lot. This is not an across the board ruling. There are complicating details listed in the judge's ruling. If you would like to be the test case, that is your business. Beware. Until there are any further developments on this, carrying in a Post Office could put you behind bars.

    Also interesting to note that this case is unfortunately precedent for banning open carry in a Post Office:


    When it comes to the building itself, a blanket firearms restriction applied to a law-abiding individual like Mr. Bonidy is sufficiently tailored, because the building is sensitive, and the presence of an individual openly carrying a firearm may excite passions, or excited passions may lead to the use of the firearm.

  24. #24
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    In federal buildings- no guns. The exception would likely be narrowly defined if ever challenged.

    There is a case out there, about a politician (I can't remember if Arizona, Texas, or Oklahoma) where, as an elected official, he carried into a federal building. He lost the case because basically, it was not his job to carry a weapon. The case effectively denied anyone from carrying in federal building unless it is in the course of their official duties (I think implying LE).


    This ruling allows this particular citizen to keep his gun in his car at this particular Post Office. That is all:
    If applicable to one citizen, it has to be applied to all: All men are created equal.

  25. #25
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
    If applicable to one citizen, it has to be applied to all: All men are created equal.
    Of course I agree with you... However, the reality is that the judge made this ruling based on complicating factors like whether or not this particular Post Office had mail truck activity occurring in its parking lot. (See detailed post, above.) While I agree that it is wrong to limit carrying in a Post Office, the fact remains that this ruling does not currently and definitively affect any Post Office besides Avon.

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