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                                                 Army Corps of Engineers Administered Land

In the Ninth Circuit federal court of appeals, District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled that the Second Amendment doesn’t stop at the boundary of land administered by  the Army Corps of Engineers. There are millions of acres of wild land and waters involved, as the Corps of Engineers administers enormous projects across America’s waterways. On the other side of the coin, in the 11th Circuit, Judge Harold Murphy in Georgia has ruled that the Second Amendment does not apply on land administered by the Corps, because the land is all considered “sensitive”, like a courtroom or a prison. That decision is being appealed . . .


U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy in August ruled against David James and, both of whom argue James has the right to carry firearms onto U.S. Army Corps of Engineer-managed land and water at Lake Allatoona, including McKaskey Creek Campground in Cartersville.

James and appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, dismissing Murphy’s ruling that the Corps land is “sensitive,” like a school or government building. They want the appeals court to issue a preliminary injunction and allow James to carry firearms onto Corps property.

Many are speculating that the Idaho case settled by the 9th will also be appealed, but it hasn’t yet happened. Both cases assume that there is a right to bear arms outside of the home. In the Georgia case, the ruling uses the “sensitive places” wording in the Heller decision as the excuse basis for prohibiting carrying arms in millions of acres of Corps-administered land. It’s hard to see that land as being any more sensitive than say, national park land on which a carry ban was removed by law in 2009.

Second Amendment supporters have been pushing for a similar bill that would nullify the Army Corps of Engineers’ prohibition. With wide support in the Senate and House, passage of such a bill would render the lawsuit in Georgiea moot.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. “the Corps land is “sensitive,” like a school or government building. ”

    sensitive – like a government building…

    “Public hunting is utilized by the Corps of Engineers as a management tool to achieve our natural resource goal while providing recreational opportunities to the public”

    That judge is a complete and utter moron.

  2. There is a ACoE-run place in my home state of Minnesota: Duluth’s Great Lakes Maritime Museum ( It isn’t posted, and unless someone was *real* up on the nuances of go/no-go zones, a legal permit holder could possibly be in trouble for carrying.

  3. Is this some double-secret-probation way for the 11th Circuit judge to challenge the “sensitive areas” part of Heller? If so, it’s brilliant. If not, he’s mental.

    • That would indeed be fiendishly brilliant.

      I am going to go with stupid however. Fortunately for us it might be the type of case that is necessary to narrowly define or at best eliminate the “sensitive places” caveat.

  4. A CARTER appointee and is EIGHTYSEVEN years old. Hang it up you senile old coot.
    Harold Lloyd Murphy is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He joined the court in 1977 after being nominated by President Jimmy Carter. Prior to appointment, Murphy was a judge on the Seventh Superior Court District of Georgia.[1]

    Born in Haralson County, GA in 1927, Murphy graduated from Georgia Law with an Bachelor of Laws degree in 1949.[1]

    • While I don’t agree with his ruling in this particular case, in regard to his age, it is an asset, not a hindrance. With age comes wisdom. Hopefully, you will live long enough to realize this. In the meantime, show deference to those older than you. Respect your elders, and remember: “As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So pray, and prepare to follow me.”

    • Oh, I don’t know – the Bill of Rights is well over 200 years old, and we still respect that. Some of these judges seem to have been around shortly after the BoR was ratified. I’d rather have senile old coot on the bench than young, radical, activist judges (unless of course they are on our side….)

      • This man just gave the feds the go-ahead to declare anywhere they want sensitive and to deny a protected right. He may as well be a young insane progressive.

  5. What they are doing:

    Grab, squeeze, grab, squeeze. . .

    What they should be doing:

    Very-lightly resting on a noose and stroking themselves.

  6. Irony alert.
    There is a gun range in Uwharrie National Forest. However, criminals love the way the regulations are set up.
    What regulations could possibly make criminals like a legal gun range?
    Park regulations state that no weapon may be loaded until one is in a firing dock at the gun range.
    So, someone of criminal intention needs only to scope out who has the nice weapons they want and jack them while they are in the park away from the gun range but before they are out of the park and reload.
    The 2009 law apparently did not change this.
    Does that mean the 2009 law allows parks to still ban loaded guns, just not an outright ban on guns?

    • The 2009 law simply requires land under National Park Service jurisdiction to follow the same laws as the state in which the land is situated. If you’re in a National Park in New Jersey – you’re still screwed. If you’re at Yellowstone, you’re good to carry, carry concealed, etc., same as the State of Wyoming.

  7. It’s funny how USACE is two distinct organizations. On one hand you have the active duty guys who build stuff, blow it up, whatever it takes to keep the force moving towards the enemy. Then you have the DOD civilian side which is so slow to move and change that they are probably still doing the engineering study to build Fort Sumter….change does not come fast or easy with USACE.

  8. Dean, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has not ruled on the issue, as your first sentence verbiage implies. It is a district court–i.e. trial court–decision only. And although final judgment was issued in the Idaho case first, it was not binding on the Georgia district court judge.

  9. “…Murphy’s ruling that the Corps land is “sensitive,” like a school or government building…”

    So when will the CofE put up metal detectors at all of the entrances to the CofE recreation lands?

  10. Crossing a dam in your vehicle constitutes some sort “sensitive place”?

    I was on a group motorcycle ride near Lewiston ID last year, and not familiar with the area. Our ride took us to the northern end of Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. The road is gated, and we had to buzz for an escort. When the guard came out, he laid out the spiel to the group’s leader, copied down our ID info, and escorted us across. At our next stop, I asked the leader what the spiel entailed. (I was wearing ear plus and helmet at the time, and didn’t hear much of anything.) One of the things was the question, “Do any of you have any firearms?” Not knowing one way or the other, he (obviously) answered, “No.”

    Oops. Turns out I was carrying concealed in (otherwise) full compliance with WA law.

    All of which is to say: It seems that the feddle gubmint has declares a roadway off-limits to firearms b/c it’s a “sensitive area.” Yeah, I know, I know: “9/11 changed everything.”

    Well, bovine scat. The 2nd Amendment is still the law of the land.

    (And don’t even get me started re. CCW in US Post Offices. Another “sensitive area” where our rights are infringed at the threshold, no doubt.)

    • Dams are considered “sensitive areas” by DHS because of the havoc an armed terrorist attack could cause. (See, e.g., Mosul Dam, Iraq). Everything else, not so much.

  11. So it doesn’t stop at military land…but it does for schools and post offices… And here I was thinking my Constitutional rights were NATURALLY RECOGNIZED RIGHTS granted by GOD, not Government, that exist, even without the Constitution, anywhere in the United States…

  12. The Corp land in MO is generally leased to the conservation dept. I don’t know of any gun restrictions. Even when they bought up land for a new dam, they put up some signs but never ran anyone off and pretty much allowed any use for almost 20 yrs. I never knew that the corp could behave so poorly. Maybe the St Louis office is just friendlier.

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