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Thread: Who owns the post office?

  1. #1
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    Hey all,
    The section of our CCW legislation (and I think it probably applies to OC as well) setting forth where we can and cannot carry our handgun CRS 18-12-214 Authority granted by permit - carrying restrictions says:

    (2) A permit issued pursuant to this part 2 does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun into a place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

    I think these locations are (1) federal buildings, (2) national parks, (3) airport security bubble (see the recent Atlanta court case where they want to extend this to the entire airport property: http://www.ajc.com/fayette/content/b..._showdown.html
    ) (4) military posts, (5) US Post Office. Did I miss any?

    Concerning the US Post Office....Close to my house here in Boulder, a new post office opened up outsourced (if that's the correct word) to Ace hardware. That is, inside ace hardware is the post office, an honest to god, real post office station, whose employees are actually contracted thru ace hardware....they are ace hardware employees, but it is a true post office. So, maybe you can see where i'm going with my question....

    Is it legal for me to carry CC (or OC for that matter) inside this Ace hardware store? If so, how close can I get to the post office section, which is in the back, before I am breaking this federal prohibition of carrying in a post office?

    Thanks!




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    18 USC 930 says:

    "(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. "

    (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.

    and then

    "(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. "

    and finally

    "(h) 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."

    So, the building or a part of the building has to be leased by the Feds, the employees have to be Federal, and notice must be posted. If all 3 of those are true, you then get to argue whether or not your carrying falls under "other lawful purposes". That would probably fail because the Post Office also has federal regulations, one of which is 39 CFR 232.1, which states:

    "(l) Weapons and explosives. 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"

    Again, here you get to argue "official purposes" and I would guess that means mailing a firearm. The USPS generally prohibits mailing handguns unless from a dealer or manufacturer. Rifles and shotguns can be mailed. More information on that can be found here: http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub52/pub52c...#PSk741320edwa. So you'd most likely lose that argument with a handgun.

    Having said all of that, does this "Post Office" post that notice and are the employees being paid by the Feds? If not, it should not be considered a federal facility. Then you have to figure out whether or not 39 CFR 232.1 applies. The Code of Federal Regulations is designed to implement the laws set forth in the USC in minute detail. The CFR are treated as law, provided they are a "reasonable interpretation" of the statutes. If it is not a federal facility, you would think that 39 CFR 232.1 doesn't apply.

    But just for grins, let's say that you did carry there and were arrested. You can't be convicted unless that notice was posted. That would be my litmus test: No sign, no prohibition.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Anubis's Avatar
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    Ithink if one parks in the parking lot (of a hardware store containing a small post office),I think leaving the pistol in the vehicle would be OK, as would carrying in the non-post-office section of the store.

    Here's a recent court decision ruling against a postal employee for having a handgun in his vehicle on post office property.

    http://volokh.com/files/dorosan.pdf



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    I am a retired US Postal Service letter carrier. I'm supposing that the USPS still has "contract sub-stations" in drug stores, etc. for the convenience of patrons. These facilities are in NO way federal property. The "postal employee" is a CONTRACTOR (under CONTRACT). If you were to ENTER into the"behind the counter" area via a doorway you are then inside a SECURE , mail processing area where you are NOT AUTHORIZED to be. Still NOT federal property, BUT if lawfully OC'ing, and the contractor reasonably felt threatened ( you were argumentative, confrontational, threatening - STUPID!) You would be in jeopardy of prosecution for interfering with the US MAIL, threatening a USPS contractorexcercising custody of the US MAIL- Postal Inspector jurisdiction. If the contractor requested that you enter this area - say to deposit a heavy package on the floor that you were mailing- and not behaving in a threatening manner you should have no problem- since you were invitedby the contractor.

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    To expand upon this question, what does everyone think about driving up to the mail-drop off box in the parking lot while carrying in your vehicle? I'd have to think that you still can't be convicted unless you passed signage in doing so. As the case that Anubis cited shows, you don't get charged with a crime under the CFR, only the USC.

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    Regular Member Decoligny's Avatar
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    CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS

    TITLE 39--POSTAL SERVICE

    CHAPTER I--UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

    Sec. 232.1 Conduct on postal property.

    (l) Weapons and explosives. 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 forofficial purposes.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is my understanding that "official purposes" is defined as someone who is required to carry a weapon in an official capacity, i.e. Cop, Postal Inspector, FBI, DEA, etc.

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    Regular Member Anubis's Avatar
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    centsi wrote:
    what does everyone think about driving up to the mail-drop off box in the parking lot while carrying in your vehicle?
    I avoid doing so, using only mailboxes on other property. I can't imagine my car being searched while I drove up to a mailbox on post office property, but 10 years ago I couldn't imagine being required to remove my shoes in an airport.

    Seems to me it would be illegal for us nonLEOs to have a firearm in the car when on post office property, including a drive-up mailbox, regardless of whether signs are posted.

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    Avoiding the use of US Post Office parking area for mail-drop "drive-thru" is stretching it a bunch - Unless you step out of the vehicle and strut around the parking lot OC'ingthereby creating a "situation" . I would keep weapon concealed ( not laying in full view on passenger seat) in the event a USPS employee was collecting mail from the boxes as you drop your letters. The very federal "property", or "premises" nature of Post Office parking area may be an obscure "defintition". Unless they post "NO FIREARMS" at the drive-way entrancea weapon inside your vehicle is not any of the PO's business. A "cluster box" attached to the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood is "federal property", but the sidewalk is not. Again - I would not exit the vehicle while OC'ing. The "threshold" is the doorway into the building, & restricted rear dock area. I would not approach a letter carrier in his truck, in PO parking lot to hand him some letters while OC'ing.

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    SANDCREEK wrote:
    Avoiding the use of US Post Office parking area for mail-drop "drive-thru" is stretching it a bunch - Unless you step out of the vehicle and strut around the parking lot OC'ingthereby creating a "situation" . I would keep weapon concealed ( not laying in full view on passenger seat) in the event a USPS employee was collecting mail from the boxes as you drop your letters. The very federal "property", or "premises" nature of Post Office parking area may be an obscure "defintition". Unless they post "NO FIREARMS" at the drive-way entrancea weapon inside your vehicle is not any of the PO's business. A "cluster box" attached to the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood is "federal property", but the sidewalk is not. Again - I would not exit the vehicle while OC'ing. The "threshold" is the doorway into the building, & restricted rear dock area. I would not approach a letter carrier in his truck, in PO parking lot to hand him some letters while OC'ing.
    This is almost right. Your car is not subject to inspection unless you are entering a non-public area of the postal property. However the 39CFR does state that firearms are not allowed on postal property so it really does not matter if you are in your car or not if you have a firearm with you. There is no exception for loaded or unloaded or even for lawful purposes. The code says official purposes, which is undefined.

    The best thing to do is park off the property and walk to the drop box or do it from one that is not on postal property. As far as the OP you would not be in violation until you step into the area that the post office leases. They do not lease the entire hardware store, only the portion of it that is used for postal business.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

  10. #10
    Regular Member Decoligny's Avatar
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    centsi wrote:
    18 USC 930 says:

    "(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. "

    (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.

    and then

    "(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. "

    and finally

    "(h) 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."

    So, the building or a part of the building has to be leased by the Feds, the employees have to be Federal, and notice must be posted. If all 3 of those are true, you then get to argue whether or not your carrying falls under "other lawful purposes". That would probably fail because the Post Office also has federal regulations, one of which is 39 CFR 232.1, which states:

    "(l) Weapons and explosives. 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"

    Again, here you get to argue "official purposes" and I would guess that means mailing a firearm. The USPS generally prohibits mailing handguns unless from a dealer or manufacturer. Rifles and shotguns can be mailed. More information on that can be found here: http://pe.usps.gov/text/pub52/pub52c...PSk741320edwa. So you'd most likely lose that argument with a handgun.

    Having said all of that, does this "Post Office" post that notice and are the employees being paid by the Feds? If not, it should not be considered a federal facility. Then you have to figure out whether or not 39 CFR 232.1 applies. The Code of Federal Regulations is designed to implement the laws set forth in the USC in minute detail. The CFR are treated as law, provided they are a "reasonable interpretation" of the statutes. If it is not a federal facility, you would think that 39 CFR 232.1 doesn't apply.

    But just for grins, let's say that you did carry there and were arrested. You can't be convicted unless that notice was posted. That would be my litmus test: No sign, no prohibition.
    It isn't 18 USC 930 that regulates firearm carry in Post Offices, it is Title 39, Vol 1 Section 232.1 (L):

    Title 39, Vol 1, Section 232.1

    (a) Applicability. This section applies to all real property under
    the charge and control of the Postal Service, to all tenant agencies,
    and to all persons entering in or on such property.


    So, if the property is leased, rented, owned or otherwise under control of the Postal Service, then that area is considered for the purpose of prosecuting offenders as "Post Office Property".

    (L) Weapons and explosives. 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.


    Official Purposes is pretty much anyone who has to carry a firearm in an official capacity, i.e. an officer, such as FBI, Police, DEA, Postal Inspector ATF etc.

    Violation of this section comes with a hefty penalty of not more than a $50.00 fine or not more than 30 day imprisonment.

  11. #11
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    Decoligny wrote
    It isn't 18 USC 930 that regulates firearm carry in Post Offices, it is Title 39, Vol 1 Section 232.1 (L):

    Title 39, Vol 1, Section 232.1

    (a) Applicability. This section applies to all real property under
    the charge and control of the Postal Service, to all tenant agencies,
    and to all persons entering in or on such property.


    So, if the property is leased, rented, owned or otherwise under control of the Postal Service, then that area is considered for the purpose of prosecuting offenders as "Post Office Property".

    (L) Weapons and explosives. 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.


    Official Purposes is pretty much anyone who has to carry a firearm in an official capacity, i.e. an officer, such as FBI, Police, DEA, Postal Inspector ATF etc.

    Violation of this section comes with a hefty penalty of not more than a $50.00 fine or not more than 30 day imprisonment.
    Decoligny, I cited 39 CFR 232.1 The problem with that is it is not part of the United States Code. It's part of the Code of Federal Regulations. The purpose of the CFR is let individual agencies decide how to implement the USC statue. You cannot be charged under the CFR, only the USC. And since the USC states that notice has to be posted, you cannot be convicted of violating the statue without the signage.

    The other important distinction between the USC statue and the CFR reg. is "lawful purposes" vs "official purposes". You could make the argument in federal court that since you were not violating any other state or federal law, that your action in carrying was "lawful", while not necessarily "official". I'd expect that to be an uphill battle.

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    I tend to side with the "lawful" over "official" purpose reading in the statute. I think the lawful purpose extends to the public and the official purpose extends to the employees therein. As such, the Federal Government is saying that federal employees cannot carry a firearm to work unless they are authorized to do so.

    On the other hand, the customers of the post office, having a lawful purpose of self defense of "Protection" as my CCW states as my official reason for carrying, are protected by their lawfully purposefull carrying of their firearms into a post office.

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    Some people think this is a much more complicated issue than it looks. Here is an article by the General Counsel for Ohioans for Concealed Carry saying that 18 USC 930 doesn't even apply: http://www.ohioccw.org/component/opt...d,47/Itemid,57

    I disagree with that argument on several counts. 39 USC 410 exempts the "Postal Service" from many federal laws but specifically enforces Title 18 against the "Postal Service". The "Postal Service" means the same thing in both cases so Title 18 should still be in effect. Secondly, the signage at a normal post office mentions bot 39 CFR and 18 USC, so they clearly think that Title 18 applies to their facility as a "Federal Facility".

    So we're back where we started, which means that some citizen has to decide whether they think OC/CC past the signage in a Post Office is a "lawful purpose". If so, they'll probably wait a year or 2 after being arrested to see what the highest court to take the case thinks. Any takers?

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    There thread is already in process in Oregon. I've posted some very good info from a Ohio Lawyer. it's worth taking a look.

    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum45/15307.html



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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    I OC... I put my gun in the glove box 'n the gunbelt under the seat'n then enter the post office. I figured as much... but I've been givin' 'em benefit of the doubt. No point in shakin' bushes you KNOW a snake's in.

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    just remember, the parking lot is owned by them as well and falls under Federal Property at this time. No matter that you locked it up, you're still in violation.

    As soon as I can get some of the info sorted out between the three of us, I'll post it.

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    Regular Member Sonora Rebel's Avatar
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    Well...I'm not gonna leave it on the sidewalk. I have the same problem with transiting Federal parkland. 'Not gonna disassemble it either.

  18. #18
    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    I fired off my letters & email today to the US Attorney's Office in both Tacoma and Seattle for answers. Specifically, I requested the following questions to be addressed:

    Is self-defense considered "other lawful purpose" under 18 USC §930(d)(3)?

    Is the public access area of a postal facility considered a federal facility?

    Would a person exempted under 18 USC §930(d)(3) still be subject to prosecution under 39 CFR §232.1(l)? If so, is the exemption recognized in 18 USC §930(d)(3) rendered inoperable under any other provisions of federal code?

    39 CFR §232.1(l) does not specify buildings but "postal property". Does this prohibit the possession of firearms within the approach, collection or parking areas accessible to the public located outside of the buildings?

    Under 39 CFR §232.1(l) the only exemption is "except for official purposes". What constitutes "official purposes"? Is the transaction of normal business in the public area of such facility an "official purpose"? If not, would a person licensed or authorized to carry firearms in the course of their business or duties be subject to prosecution if armed while conducting normal business in the public area of such facility if the transaction is not related to their business or duties?

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    Good luck with that, M1Gunr. I applaud your effort, but the last time I wrote to a public attorney (County Prosecutor) about a similar issue (carrying in Countyparks), I received a form letter that said they cannot provide legal advice to mere citizens,and Imust seek theadvise of a privateattorney. Hopefully,the U.S. Attorney will be more accommodating.

    Let us know when you get a response.

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    my guess is they will reply they are not even permitted to issue legal opinions to private citizens, being as they are lawyers for the government.

    i suggest getting a friendly congressman to ask the AG for an opinion.

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    If you just HAVE TO patronize the US Postal Service, use one of the many private mailing services. If you can't avoid visiting a POST OFFICE - carry concealed or don't carry. As for as the USPS contract stations - it isn't federal property. I would not interact with a USPS "contractor" over THEIR COUNTER while OC'ing just to be "prudent".

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    While this is in no way to be considered legal advice (or even my legal opinion)... my dad was a supervisor for a post office in Southern California. In the time he worked there, all but two of the employees (from the Postmaster all the way down to the janitor who cleaned the toilets) owned guns and many of them would bring their guns to work, but they would leave them in the car and never brought them inside the building. One of my dad's carriers even had his FFL (my dad bought an AR-15 from him before California's ban on "evil black rifles"). While it was probably technically illegal for them to bring their guns to work and leave them in their cars in a secured "employees only" parking area, nobody ever had a problem with it. The Postmaster never said a word about it. Quite a few Postal Inspectors knew about the situation and never had a problem with it as long as the guns were not brought into the building. I don't know if local law enforcement had a problem with it or not, I'd imagine they did since it was the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, but unless they had some official purpose to be there it was outside of their jurisdiction and none of their business in the first place.

    So basically.. leave it in the car and don't bring it into the building (or part of the building) that is considered to be a "post office" and you should be fine.

    As a side note, my dad also told me that the particular post office where he worked (don't know if this is the same nationwide) had a cache of weapons locked in a vault inside the building. He said this was in case of "invasion, riot, domestic terrorism or other emergencies" so that the mail could still be delivered.

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