Tab Bonidy carries a gun. He also picks up his mail at a United States Postal Service facility because they don’t deliver to his Avon, Colorado home. Those are two things which are, barring a lot of inconvenience, pretty much incompatible. USPS regulations state that you can’t even drive onto a post office parking lot with a gun in your car. Which makes rolling up and leaving a mohaska in your car while you dash inside (or even drop a letter in the drive-thru box) a federal f-ing offense. That may change now . . .

Here’s some rare good news out of the Centennial State, as reported by denverpost.com: “A federal judge has ruled that a U.S. Postal Service regulation barring firearms in its parking lots violates the Second Amendment in a case brought by an Avon man and a national gun rights group.” That gun rights group is NAGR. Bonidy still can’t carry his heater inside the P.O. and neither can you. Still, a move in the right direction. [h/t Dirk Diggler]

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49 Responses to Federal Judge: USPS Can’t Ban Guns On Their Parking Lots

      • Freaking awesome. The one place in Texas where you can’t park with a gun secured in your car. Nice to see the courts moving our way, just gotta hope they continue to be run by people who know the definitions of words and not people who conjure intent from historical technological limitations in which laws were written.

    • What if the P.O. is in a shopping center? The one I go to is in the middle of a strip mall. Private business’s surround the P.O. So does this make the parking lot a piece of federal property? Could the anti-firearms ban extend into this lot simply because of where this particular P.O. is situated?

      • The idiot FPS officer who does our annual safety briefing tried to convince us gun toting Texans that we could not leave our guns in our cars in the detached parking garage because it was Federal property, even though it is shared with about 30 other building lessees. We pretty much laughed him out the building and told him we don’t care.

    • What about other federal buildings, why do they get to violate the constitution in their parking lots? Do we have to have a lawsuit for each and every federal agency? All 300 of them?

    • When I moved to a rural town everybody I saw has PO boxes for some reason.
      They also largely carry.
      I asked a neighbor one day if it was a pain to go pick up their mail because they carry everyday.
      The response was “why, what do you mean?”
      So apparently nobody cares, or knows, they arent supposed to be packing in the post office.
      Sort of nice when people just ignore stupid laws. Gives me hope.

  1. This is a great ruling, because it was a stupid rule, and one I routinely ignored because my nearest post office literally has no reasonable place to park except in their parking lot.

    • Sort like the guy who worked at fire hydrant factory, what a pain the ass he couldn’t park anywhere near the building.

  2. I love walking into the Post Office while carrying concealed. I make a game of stepping back and forth across the threshold several times while saying to myself “federal felon, not a felon, federal felon, not a felon.” It always gives me a good chuckle at the expense of ridiculous, arbitrary, unjust laws. 🙂

    • actually, a better argument may be that the post office is NOT a true federal agency b/c it is a quasi-governed board. As such, there may be some issues with respect to their legal status to even ban weapons INSIDE the facility.

      • As i understand the law (from my national sofa’s bar association) it is not so much a matter that the building is owned by the federal government it is the fact that federal employees work there.

        It was explained to me that in Yellow Stone the whole park is OK to carry in but the buildings were off limits because of who worked in them.

        Just my .02

    • Well, Henry, except if you’re just outside the door, you’re still on Federal property, so you’re still a felon, unless the building opens directly onto a public sidewalk, like in a big city.

      • Quit nitpicking, Matt. 🙂

        It’s just a demonstration of the ridiculousness that the same peaceful activity can be illegal or not based on which side of a line you’re on.

      • Given the hundreds of thousands of federal regulations that govern the most minute aspects of our lives everyone in America is probably a felon for violating some frickin’ regulation.

        • I saw Harvey Silverglate who says the average adult commits 3 felonies a day without knowing it, mostly because we have so many laws that we can’t keep track of them all, or they’re too vague as to when they apply.

  3. this is good news that may start to work employer bans on leaving a heater in the car on the company parking lot . . . otherwise, the employer needs to assume liability for anything that happens to an employee on the drive between work and home. . . . . .

    BTW – I believe this is the judge brought in to try the OKC Bomber trial. My friend from law school clerked for him at that time.

    • True dat. I knew one could not carry inside, however I had no idea about the parking lot. That said, ignorance is not an acceptable excuse.

  4. So what’s a person without a car to do? Leave it on the bus? Chain it to their bicycle? Let the cab driver hold onto it for a little while? Oh the problems of living in a modern society….

    • Chain it to their bike. I’d love to see a pic of an AK locked to a bike, at a post office parking lot.
      Hmmmm, I may just do that

      • And this illustrate the true intent of the gun laws — to make it impossible to be armed without violating some “law”. In the example of a gun chained to a bicycle, which would be necessary to avoid bringing your gun into the Post Office, many jurisdictions would consider you guilty of brandishing when you expose the firearm in the process of securing it to the bicycle. Thus your only option to avoid breaking bogus laws is to not be armed at all.

        Make no mistake. Firearms laws are not designed to improve public safety — they are designed to discourage as many citizens from carrying as possible.

  5. Not a huge fan of NAGR but I applaud them for bringing this suit. Good for them!! Its rediculous. They won’t deliver to him but leave your rights at the door (or property line). Great news…

    Join em all…Here’s a link I found on a discount card for NRA $10 off..
    http://www.nra.org/joinhere

    • I get emails from them. and I must say that it seems they do as much fear-mongering as the anti types do. Not a big fan of that. I’m glad of the victory they helped obtain though. A little less fear-mongering to drive their funds and activities would be welcome.

  6. I have carried into such locations on a number of occasions, if you do it right, barring a stroke or heart-attack, it doesn’t matter one bit. My rights trump their laws.

  7. Hopefully this paves the way to stopping all states from prohibiting guns in public parking lots at places such as court houses, city halls etc.

  8. This can’t be true because you can ship rifles and shotguns through the USPS.

      • I mean I could be wrong and the law could have very recently changed, but I walked into my post office about a year ago with a rifle that I’d sold through gunbroker. The only thing I had to do was verify that it was in fact being shipped to an FFL.

        Now, they were nervous, but they did it for me.

  9. So does this decision only apply to U.S. Post Offices in Colorado or does this decision bind all U.S. Post Offices? And when does the decision apply?

    • Trial court decision is binding on no other court. At best it is persuasive authority for other trial courts. Does not become binding on all federal trial courts until it is a decision issued by a Court of Appeals–and if another Court of Appeals issues an opinion that says the reg is constitutional, that split of authority allows the trial courts to do whatever they want. This battle is a long way from being concluded–this is just the opening skirmish.

  10. Now this makes me want to throw up. U.S. District Court Judge Matsch in his ruling said, “An individual openly carrying a firearm may excite passions, or excited passions may lead to the use of the firearm. Someone could also attempt to take the firearm from its lawful carrier and use it for criminal purpose.”

    So our benevolent government believes they can deny our natural right to self-defense when having the tools to defend ourselves could “excite passions”. And that last gem about a criminal attempting to take a firearm from the carrier for criminal purposes … so when is the distinguished judge going to order all police departments to disarms?

    • One could use his reasoning to force burkhas on women and justify the action of an “excited” rapist.

    • It’s the wearing of a uniform that makes the difference. A super citizen could wear a rifle and it will e ok. We accept soldiers with badges as cleared to fly because we know all cops are moral, trained, and able to wear a gun whereas you and I can’t possibly be trusted with a piece or have good reason to wear one.
      That’s the sarcastic view of it.

  11. I carry concealed to the PO 4 times a week. If it is concealed, it is concealed. Don’t ask, don’t tell (it feels good to use one of their favorite sayings against them).

  12. So in other words, “Going Postal” is enabled by this, since post offices are a “no lawful carry” zone. When has that stopped a postal shooter?

  13. There is another bit of irony here, and perhaps under that rule myself and my local postmaster should be felons. But: It is legal, according to the USPS and the ATF to mail a long gun from private person to private person within a given state. It may not cross state lines. I did this 6 months ago as a christmas present for my daughter, everyone knew what was in the box, was following the law. But: so mailing it was legal, but bringing the gun, in a package, into the post office to mail it was illegal? Interesting conundrum there, probably a bigger deal in a more urban area than I live, can’t imagine the local postmaster giving a hoot about guns in the trucks in the parking lot here.

    • Long guns can cross state lines if they are being mailed through the USPS from a private citizen to an FFL (licensee). I did this a year ago with a hunting rifle I sold on gunbroker and believe it’s still possible. If not, then the ATF needs to update it’s FAQ page.

      18 U.S.C. 1715, 922(a)(3), 922(a)(5) and 922 (a)(2)(A)

  14. Thanks for the heads up Dirk, this is a good step forward. Now of only they can rule this about ALL parking lots, that would be a good leap. They just passed some parking lot legislation here in TN. It removes crimminal penalties for carrying in a parking lot but if it is your employer they can still terminate you.

  15. Of course, if he left his gun in the car parked across the street, he would be most likely be found guilty of not having “control” of his firearm.

  16. Maybe soon you’ll be able to actually walk into a post office with a knife with a 2 5/8″ blade without worrying about spending a year in federal prison for it.