It can’t be good when your organization is the inspiration for a widely-used term describing mass shootings. You can see why the USPS might be a tad sensitive about something like that. Of course, all of those shootings were carried out by Postal Service employees who flipped out. You could almost understand a customer snapping after enduring the, um, service levels at your average postal facility. But post office clients have been remarkably restrained in the face of the monotone responses from shark-eyed clerks working at a pace that makes a tree sloth look like Usain Bolt. All of which explains, maybe, why the United States Postal Service doesn’t want you to carry when you patronize their temples of speed and efficiency. But Debbie and Tab Bonidy don’t want to take it any more…
They’ve filed suit in federal district court seeking to overturn the USPS’s ban on concealed carry. And denverpost.com reports that a federal judge has just allowed the case to go forward.
The Bonidys say they carry handguns for self-defense and both hold concealed-carry permits, and they do not receive mail service at their remote home.
They say the ban, which prohibits carrying guns both in post offices and in their parking lots, makes it impossible for them to pick up their mail.
James Manley, an attorney at the Mountain States Legal Foundation who represents both the Bonidys and the National Association for Gun Rights in the lawsuit, said the case could have a nationwide impact.
“This is a situation that hasn’t been challenged before, where you have members of the general public who want to exercise their right to carry,” Manley said.
In the Heller decision, the Supremes left a caveat stating that restrictions on guns in “sensitive places” are OK. Describing your local post office as a sensitive place would seem like a helluva stretch. Unfortunately, the American legal system rarely fails to disappoint.
In its defense, the Postal Service has pointed to a case in which the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the conviction of a man who was found to have a handgun in his vehicle in a Postal Service parking lot. That court concluded that Postal Service property was a “sensitive place.” But the 5th Circuit’s decision is not binding on the Bonidy case.
That’s the problem with terms like “sensitive place” making their way into law. They require interpretation by judges and bureaucrats for whom common sense is as common as MAIG mayors who haven’t been indicted. But the Postal Service’s argument was rather selective.
Manley counters that the defendant in the 5th Circuit case was a Postal Service employee whose vehicle was parked in a restricted, employees-only lot. No court in the country, he contends, has taken up whether the Second Amendment right to possess firearms extends to public areas of post offices.
“The ruling could have national implications for all post offices,” Manley said, “certainly in post offices in areas like the Bonidys’ in rural areas.”
My local P.O. doesn’t display the gun with the red slash through it sign on their door. I’ve wondered if maybe it was OK to tote my heater inside. Not being sure, I’ve always left it in the car. Little did I know I may have been breaking the law by doing even that.
This case will be worth watching. And we’re just the geeks to do it for you.