U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' land (courtesy usace.army.mil)

“The Corps promulgated a regulation generally forbidding possession of a firearm and other arms (with exceptions for hunting and use at authorized ranges) on land it controls, including 700 dams and associated recreation areas,” armsandthelaw.com writes re: Morris v. US Army Corps of Engineers, D. Idaho, Jan. 10, 2014. “The court strikes down the regulation on 2A grounds. The court reasons that the regulation affects the core Heller right of self-defense, and that possession in a tent is as protected as possession in a home, the regulation entirely forbids that, and therefore is subject to strict scrutiny. It reasons that possession for self-defense outside the tent is also protected. It reasons that a complete ban on that is a serious infringement, but it is not necessary to pick a standard of review since this would fail even intermediate review. It grants a preliminary injunction since plaintiffs have proven a ‘strong likelihood’ that they will win at trial.”

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29 Responses to Judge Strikes Down Gun Ban on Army Corps of Engineers’ Land

      • Which means “yes”, at least until the day the court (after trial) denies a permanent injunction (unlikely given the tenor of the court’s decision) or the decision is overturned on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Theoretically the Corps could appeal the issuance of a preliminary injunction, but I think that is relatively unlikely.
        Assuming the trial court issues a permanent injunction, and the Corps appeals, the Corps could seek a temporary stay of the judgment (which I would bet the Ninth is not likely to grant), and after that, given the dirge like pace of other 2A cases pending in the Ninth Circuit, the appeal will take a minimum of six months to brief and argue, and an indefinite period thereafter for a decision to be issued. There are currently five 2A cases pending before the Ninth, one of which is a theoretically “priority” case that has actually been bumped to the end of the line, and the cases in front of it were argued in December 2012.

        That said, unless things change in the trial court, that preliminary injunction may be good for at least two or three years, and forever if a permanent injunction is entered and affirmed.

  1. About time.
    It’s legal to carry in state parks but was banned in Corps parks and lakes.
    That was troublesome for full timers that live in their RVs year round.

    • It seems that way, doesn’t it? What’s a more basic and necessary right than being legally armed while camping in some degree of The Wild?

      • No kidding, I am not a fan of being in some place where a 911 call might not be possible and I am unable to carry due to some stupid regulation.

  2. Good! It would be nice if the govt would drop the ban instead of fighting it out. Middle TN has quite a few Corps lakes/dams/parts of rivers, some of which are surrounded by state parks (where you can legally carry).

    • They will probably waste a lot of taxpayer money to fight it. It is unfortunate when the .gov doesn’t want us to exercise our rights so badly.

  3. I would be really excited if this applied nationwide. However, I believe it only applies to the State of Idaho since the proceedings are taking place in the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.

    The entire Memorandum, Decision, and Order is an interesting read. It indirectly highlights the corruption in other court decisions.

    • No, it applies nationwide. The factor that you have to look at is who the parties are–and in this case, the Corps is a defendant, and IT has been enjoined from enforcing a regulation.
      Per the decision: “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that the motion for preliminary injunction (docket
      no. 4) is GRANTED. The Corps is enjoined from enforcing 36 C.F.R. § 327.13 as to
      law-abiding individuals possessing functional firearms on Corps-administered public
      lands for the purpose of self-defense. This preliminary injunction shall remain in force
      until further notice of the Court.”

      [many times when this issue arises, the defendant in not a state- or nation-wide public entity, and therefore the decision has limited application as it applies to only that particular defendant, not others.]

      • I hear what you are saying Mark N. and I am not convinced. I have never known a court order to apply beyond a court’s jurisdiction. The United States District Court for the District of Idaho could care less if the Corps enforces their ban in Tennessee. And someone who suffered injuries from the ban in Tennessee, if they sought relief in court, would have to file a lawsuit in the court of jurisdiction in Tennessee, not Idaho.

        Think about the recent lawsuit in Colorado to nullify the U.S. Post Office ban on firearms anywhere on U.S. Post Office property. While the court upheld a total ban of firearms in the Post Office building, the court struck down the ban of firearms stored in cars in their parking lots (while patrons were in the Post Office to pick up their mail). That outcome applies to U.S. Post Offices in the state of Colorado only. And yet the U.S. Post Office is a national entity. That seems to contradict your idea that a local decision applies nationally if the defendant is a national entity.

        At best (I believe), if the ban affects a person in another state, that person would have to file another lawsuit in their state and the court of local jurisdiction would hopefully issue the same decision to be consistent with the court in Idaho (regarding the Army Corps of Engineers) and the court in Colorado (regarding the U.S. Post Office).

        Can a competent attorney please chime in?

        • from what i understand is the postal service is technically not run by the government, its not private but it is separate

  4. This is great.
    One of my favorite camping spots is on corps of engineer land on the John Day river.
    Was always a bit nervous over there.

  5. It seems that Heller and McDonald’s common sense interpretation of 2A is having the impact that the Supreme Court thought it would. Bravo.

  6. I hope this goes through to fruition, in all districts. (none of that east/west SAFE act nonsense)

    * Concealed firearm for defense, ABSOLUTELY NOT.
    * “Assault Rifle” for murdering bambi, Yea no problem…..

    Laws in this country make absolutely no sense………

    • You think it’s bad here? I was just reading a post on another site about bringing stuff across the Canadian border. Apparently Canada taxes BM. And they call it “doodie”. I will never understand Canadia.

  7. “Heller right of self-defense, and that possession in a tent is as protected as possession in a home, the regulation entirely forbids that, and therefore is subject to strict scrutiny. It reasons that possession for self-defense outside the tent is also protected” to bad this ruling wasn’t made in a non-open gun state like mine

    • It applies to all Army Corps property in the state of California. California law, by the way, generally allows loaded open carry of both long guns and handguns in unincorporated areas like forests (both US and state) and parks. BLM already allows firearms on its land. Let’s add to that–MOST of the state is unincorporated territory. It is only urban areas (generally speaking) where there is an issue.

  8. Two huge COE “operated” reservoirs in my area with trail systems and camping. One borders on a bad part of a bad town. Would be nice to legally carry along that trail.

  9. Morris and Baker have prevailed against the Corps of Engineers, HOWEVER – –

    the ruling only applies in Idaho because of the way the suit was brought before the court. Other users (private or organizations) of Corps property in other states need to step up and file similar suits, forcing the Corps to either rewrite it’s rule or spend massive amounts of money to defend their actions.

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