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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 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.

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  1. moreover, the Postal Service has that weird hybrid public/private thing going on. Makes you wonder if they have the authority to ban weapons at all. Perhaps some digging into their national congressional charter is in order . . . . or perhaps Congress need to withhold the billions in bailout the service needs . . .

  2. No sign… that’s actually written into US Code, but I wouldn’t hang my hat (or my neck) on that being interpreted as it should be by ANY court:

    (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.

  3. DaveL that was funny. Although some truth to it.
    Post Office is considered a Federal building. I believe the current law is that you cannot carry a gun inside a federal building, but I don’t know about the parking lot.
    The rules at the post office are unbending and without use of common sense. You get into a fight and you are suspended. Two customers in line argue and one pulls a gun. Postal worker interferes, removes gun and calls police. Postal worker is then automatically suspended as he was involved in a fight (refer to unbending rules without common sense).
    You work the counter at the post office and if your drawer comes up short, you are suspended. Customer comes in with gun and robs you. Your drawer is now short – so you are automatically suspended.
    Unbending rules without common sense in a work environment can cause a lot of stress.

  4. Oddly enough the post office building near me has a “no firearms” sign but it is inside. I really try to avoid walking in while carrying, but sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I let it slide. No one notices and I’m to my PO box and back outside in less than a minute. I hope USPS changes its rules because it rather ironic that in the one building I know there is a potential threat (from the employees no less) and I would want to be armed doesn’t allow it.

    • “Oddly enough the post office building near me has a “no firearms” sign but it is inside. I really try to avoid walking in while carrying, but sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I let it slide.”

      I am in a similar situation. If you look for it, inside is a sign.

      Last thing I need is getting nailed for a gun inside the P.O. so it is my habit to remove my gun, leave it in the truck.

      Off hours is when I feel the most reason to carry.

      I am in and out and I take my Conceal Carry Licese seriously.

      My gun is concealed untilled needed.

      Thing that gets me is the parking lot rule. My P.O. is on a public street, no worries there. The next nearest P.O. has a parking lot, easily avoided.
      It does bother me that I didn’t know the problem there as on the oft occasion I went to that P.O.

  5. The Post Office (or ANY other Federal building for that matter) is not the place to “try” it or carry as a form of protest or civil disobedience. You will have interesting conversations with the Postmaster and most likely the FBI and be subject to the full girth of Federal firearms law.

    • “Until they start sending every post office visitor through a magnetometer or some other scanning device, “what gun?””

      To me concealed means concealed.

      It is not about walking in and out. My concern is the “what if” happens.

      Considering the cost of an “ordinary” self defence situation. What is the cost of this happening in P.O.?

  6. So shipping long guns through the USPS is now illegal? 🙂 The USPS patron would be carrying a gun onto USPS property with it concealed in a box, yes? Sorry, couldn’t resist….


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