Legalities of Post Office Carry... parking lot?


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RoostRider
June 20, 2009, 06:06 PM
Can anyone here cite the laws regarding having a firearm on Postal Property?

It is my understanding that it is a Federal offense to carry your gun, permit or not, into the Post Office. (correct me if I am wrong here)

It is also my understanding that there is some issue as to whether the parking lot qualifies as Postal Property, or as a standard public parking lot.... which, in the latter case, would allow you to store your firearm there while you went in to do business....

This isn't a "should this be allowed" thread... or an "this is oppression" thread... this is a please cite me the law and source thread.... thus, if you have an opinion or assumption, state is as such...

Thanks.....

PS- I did do a search first, but this subject gets so many hits, and very little of it is even relevant to this threads specific nature.... link me if I'm lame and missed it.....

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MT GUNNY
June 20, 2009, 06:31 PM
Your state would Help?

In Montana its Fine to have a Firearm in your vehical, or OC through the Parking lot!

average_shooter
June 20, 2009, 06:37 PM
I don't have the law itself in front of me, but what I remember seeing posted on signs at the post office said something to the effect of carry only being legal "for lawful purposes." Which would put PO carry in a gray area, unless you are carrying into the PO with the intent to commit a crime.

Some may read the law and interpret it to mean that if you are carrying for lawful self-defense and are properly licensed, then the law allows for that. Then again, it is federal property which is generally a no-no.

divemedic
June 20, 2009, 07:07 PM
Part of the confusion is rooted in the wording of 18 USC 930(d). Subsection (d) provides:

(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to-

<snip irrelevant part>

(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

Many people have seized upon (d)(3) with the argument that they have a CHL, so their carrying of a firearm is an "other lawful purpose" and therefore they are exempt from the sign. First, 39 USC 410 exempts Post Offices from 18 USC 930:

(a) Except as provided by subsection (b) of this section, and except as otherwise provided in this title or insofar as such laws remain in force as rules or regulations of the Postal Service, no Federal law dealing with public or Federal contracts, property, works, officers, employees, budgets, or funds, including the provisions of chapters 5 and 7 of title 5, shall apply to the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service.

(b) The following provisions shall apply to the Postal Service:

(1) section 552 (public information), section 552a (records about individuals), section 552b (open meetings), section 3102 (employment of personal assistants for blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped employees), section 3110 (restrictions on employment of relatives), section 3333 and chapters 72 (antidiscrimination; right to petition Congress) and 73 (suitability, security, and conduct of employees), section 5520 (withholding city income or employment taxes), and section 5532 (dual pay) of title 5, except that no regulation issued under such chapters or section shall apply to the Postal Service unless expressly made applicable;

(2) all provisions of title 18 dealing with the Postal Service, the mails, and officers or employees of the Government of the United States;

So then we turn to postal regulations: 39 CFR 232.1, which clearly does prohibit guns in post offices. In pertinent part, it states:

(l) Weapons and explosives. No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.

So the answer is that carry on postal PROPERTY is prohibited, not just within a postal building. This means that a parking lot that belongs to the post office is prohibited.

NavyLCDR
June 20, 2009, 07:35 PM
In Montana its Fine to have a Firearm in your vehical, or OC through the Parking lot!

It's still against FEDERAL law, even in Montana. 37 CFR 232.1.

Dokkalfar
June 21, 2009, 01:06 AM
(l) Weapons and explosives. No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.

I dont see anywhere in 39 CFR Ch.I with a section for definitions. If you have a CHL, you are officially allowed to CC a handgun. The official purpose of the CHL is to permit the citizenry to carry a handgun in a concealed manner. So, technically, any carry of the firearm could be considered for 'official purposes', could it not?

RoostRider
June 21, 2009, 01:43 AM
Yeah, thats exactly what I thought..... there is no clear definition as to the parking lot issue....

I agree that arguments made might make some sense for concealed carry being allowed, but it would appear that this is an issue that could get real cloudy.

I don't see how it matters what state I live in since I am asking about Federal Law.... but I am in MN.... and I believe MN statute specifies that public parking lots cannot ban guns..... which leaves it even more grey.... but my guess is it is going to depend on the disposition of the local Post Master and/or police/prosecutors.... at least until some sort of precedent is set....

Anyone know of any case law?

TCOV
June 21, 2009, 02:14 AM
I guess mailing a firearm is an official purpose.

Maverick223
June 21, 2009, 02:21 AM
I guess mailing a firearm is an official purpose.
I don't believe you [legally] can mail [a pistol by USPS]. :)

Eightball
June 21, 2009, 02:22 AM
I don't believe you [legally] can (USPS anyway). IIRC, long guns are allowable. Hand guns are not.

Maverick223
June 21, 2009, 02:25 AM
IIRC, long guns are allowable. Hand guns are not.I am reasonably certain that you are correct...I was referring to a handgun (something that generally would be concealed) but that wasn't clear...so I shall revise. :)

TCOV
June 21, 2009, 02:34 AM
An FFL can mail a handgun.

average_shooter
June 21, 2009, 02:46 AM
So, technically, any carry of the firearm could be considered for 'official purposes', could it not?

Black's Law Dictionary (Eighth Ed.) defines "official" thus:

official, adj. 1. Of or relating to an office or position of trust or authority <official duties>. 2. Authorized or approved by a proper authority <a company's official policy>.

So I would think a CCW license/permit could be argued to be an "authorization or approval by a proper authority."

Ultimately, I think it's so unclear because nobody has been willing to be a test case yet. At least, I haven't heard of any high-profile post office carry legal cases.

TAB
June 21, 2009, 03:12 AM
So I would think a CCW license/permit could be argued to be an "authorization or approval by a proper authority."


1 prob with that... the federal goverment didn't authorize you, your state did.

So if you took the it strickly as the meaning you posted, you would still be in violation of the law. Since states have no power over federal property( unless the feds give it to them)

stickhauler
June 21, 2009, 03:49 AM
Though not a lawyer, I'd see that phrase as meaning a sworn law enforcement officer from a local or state agency, or a Federal law enforcement official or a person authorized by a local agency, a state agency, or a Federal agency to carry, not a citizen who has a state's license or permit to carry a firearm. Either way, if I'm going onto government owned or controlled property, unless it's stated I am allowed to carry a firearm there, I'm not doing it. I hear Levenworth isn't a really great vacation destination.

bonza
June 21, 2009, 09:07 AM
I'm a USPS employee & work at a large facility here in Washington state. The only posted notices that I see expressly forbidding weapons on the property is by the door at each building entry, there is nothing as you enter the secured parking lot. However, a few years ago one of our maintenance guys on night shift was fired for having firearms in his vehicle in that same employee parking lot. He was an FFL-holder & was going to be attending a gun show when he got off work the next morning & had a bunch of mil-surp rifles on the back seat of his car 'covered' by a blanket. Apparently another employee saw them & reported it to management & the Postal Inspectors were called in.

Deltaboy
June 21, 2009, 09:26 AM
My post office has no signs here in Texas. And my town has 30,000 people.

As far as the Fed goes in Texas the State allows me to carry in the parking lot of a public school and to store in my car as a public school parking lot inspite of the Fed Laws Gun free school zone act.
I just play it smart and go to the drive through at the PO and use a private shipping store for everything else.

Art Eatman
June 21, 2009, 09:27 AM
I gayrawntee you that in the eyes of the federal government, "Official business" means federal or state LEO types of some sort or another. Toting as part of their job, their duty. It won't include Joe Sixpack with a CHL.

NavyLCDR
June 21, 2009, 12:05 PM
My post office has no signs here in Texas. And my town has 30,000 people.

As far as the Fed goes in Texas the State allows me to carry in the parking lot of a public school and to store in my car as a public school parking lot inspite of the Fed Laws Gun free school zone act.
I just play it smart and go to the drive through at the PO and use a private shipping store for everything else.

That's because the Fed Laws Gun Free School Zone Act specifically exempts you from the prohibition against carrying because you have a licensed issued by the same state that the school zone is located in, so long as that state takes fingerprints and does a background check.

There is no such exemption written into the Post Office regulation. You are not playing it safe by using the PO drive through, it is still a Federal crime, albeit harder to get caught doing.

SHvar
June 21, 2009, 01:57 PM
Do not carry in a post office, its illegal, and the parking lot (usually if its belongs solely to the post office with no other business connected to the building) is part of that gun free zone.
Unless you are an on duty LEO forget it, just like carrying in a federal building, or courthouse.
Its not an official purpose to be carrying with a CCL, CHL, CWL, etc.

RoostRider
June 21, 2009, 04:32 PM
Lots of great information here guys....

I think it is safe to say that no one here so far can be absolutely sure that the Post Office parking lot is a legal place to carry, or even store a firearm.

Most of the true 'facts' posted (in the form of legislation, not speculation) seem to suggest that it is not legal, or, at very best, an 'iffy' situation subject to interpretation by whoever it is that catches you doing so (Post Master/cops).

Suffice to say, I wont be carrying or storing a gun in my car in the Post Office parking lot.

divemedic
June 21, 2009, 04:55 PM
The post office is a funny place. We recently did a walk through training session of the Post Office in my first due area. The postmaster informed us that if the post office catches fire, we cannot enter the facility to put out the fire without first contacting the postmaster or his representative and getting permission to do so.

MT GUNNY
June 21, 2009, 05:55 PM
Federal Law:

Sec. 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities



(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

(b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(c) A person who kills or attempts to kill any person in the course of a violation of subsection (a) or (b), or in the course of an attack on a Federal facility involving the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, shall be punished as provided in sections 1111, 1112, and 1113.

(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to:

(1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;

(2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law;or

(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.

(e) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm in a Federal court facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to conduct which is described in paragraph(1) or (2) of subsection (d).

(f) Nothing in this section limits the power of a court of the United States to punish for contempt or to promulgate rules or orders regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the possession of weapons within any building housing such court or any of its proceedings, or upon any grounds appurtenant to such building.

(g) As used in this section:

(1) The term "Federal facility" means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
(2) The term "dangerous weapon" means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.

(3) The term "Federal court facility" means the courtroom, judges' chambers, witness rooms, jury deliberation rooms, attorney conference rooms, prisoner holding cells, offices of the court clerks, the United States attorney, and the United States marshal, probation and parole offices, and adjoining corridors of any court of the United States.

(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.

divemedic
June 21, 2009, 06:00 PM
MTGunny:

First, 39 USC 410 exempts Post Offices from 18 USC 930,


(a) Except as provided by subsection (b) of this section, and except as otherwise provided in this title or insofar as such laws remain in force as rules or regulations of the Postal Service, no Federal law dealing with public or Federal contracts, property, works, officers, employees, budgets, or funds, including the provisions of chapters 5 and 7 of title 5, shall apply to the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service.

(b) The following provisions shall apply to the Postal Service:

(1) section 552 (public information), section 552a (records about individuals), section 552b (open meetings), section 3102 (employment of personal assistants for blind, deaf, or otherwise handicapped employees), section 3110 (restrictions on employment of relatives), section 3333 and chapters 72 (antidiscrimination; right to petition Congress) and 73 (suitability, security, and conduct of employees), section 5520 (withholding city income or employment taxes), and section 5532 (dual pay) of title 5, except that no regulation issued under such chapters or section shall apply to the Postal Service unless expressly made applicable;

(2) all provisions of title 18 dealing with the Postal Service, the mails, and officers or employees of the Government of the United States;


and then we turn to postal regulations: 39 CFR 232.1, which clearly does prohibit guns in post offices. In pertinent part, it states:


(l) Weapons and explosives. No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.



So the answer is that carry on postal PROPERTY is prohibited, not just within a postal building. This means that a parking lot that belongs to the post office is prohibited.

MT GUNNY
June 21, 2009, 06:00 PM
Montana has this also:

Exemption from Federal Gun Free School Zones Act

45-8-360. Establishment of individual licensure. In consideration that the right to keep and bear arms is protected and reserved to the people in Article II, section 12, of the Montana constitution, a person who has not been convicted of a violent, felony crime and who is lawfully able to own or to possess a firearm under the Montana constitution is considered to be individually licensed and verified by the state of Montana within the meaning of the provisions regarding individual licensure and verification in the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act.

MT GUNNY
June 21, 2009, 06:30 PM
That means Every Hunter And gun owner in MT has Violated Federal Law!!

Quote: (l) Weapons and explosives. No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.


do the feds consider Open Carry of a Firearm "on your person" or "in the glove Conpartment" What is there definition of "Store"
what is the feds Definition of Concealed?

divemedic
June 21, 2009, 06:41 PM
I would think that in the glove compartment of a parked car would be considered storage of a firearm, and on your person would be to carry. Are you trying to say that every hunter in MT hunts at the post office? What does the gun free school zones act have to do with post office carry?

MT GUNNY
June 21, 2009, 07:03 PM
Thousands of People (hunters)in MT have Rifles in there gun rack Year long and more than likely use the Post office. Including Myself!

If postal Property is a Gun Free zone then One could use the Exemption as legal defense.

divemedic
June 21, 2009, 07:08 PM
Thousands of People (hunters)in MT have Rifles in there gun rack Year long and more than likely use the Post office. Including Myself!



It would appear that this practice is illegal. Of course, if it isn't being enforced, there is not much to worry about. I have searched for case law on this, and cannot find one case where that law was used to prosecute someone, where there was not another law violated as well. Every case where that regulation has been used (that I could find) was one where the accused had also robbed the place, or something similar.

Still, to be forewarned is to be prepared.

If postal Property is a Gun Free zone then One could use the Exemption as legal defense.


what exemption? You mean the Gun Free School Zone Act exemption? The reason MT has that law is because of this paragraph of the Act (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/wbardwel/public/nfalist/gun_free_school_zones.txt):

(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a
firearm--

"(i) on private property not part of school grounds;

"(ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to
do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a
political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or
political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains
such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or
political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under
law to receive the license;


That has exactly NOTHING to do with Postal Carry

MT GUNNY
June 21, 2009, 07:10 PM
.....

sailortoo
June 21, 2009, 07:35 PM
Might I suggest a seemingly popular idea -"change". How about if we lobby for an end to "junk mail", then turn the serious mail handling over to Fed Ex & UPS. Next, turn the "former" USPS property and buildings into day care centers (can't carry there, either!). There, wasn't that easy? And, while we are "changing", how about a "dumpster party" for the IRS? (sarcasm off) :rolleyes: It does seem almost like a circular argument as to USPS/Federal law. Until some actual court case establishes a precedent, we are all left unsure, and unprotected by the so-called law. If we just had something like the Second Amendment to the Constitution, to clarify the law (sorry, sarcasm off, again).
sailortoo

NavyLCDR
June 21, 2009, 10:22 PM
buildings into day care centers (can't carry there, either!)

You can in Washington State. That is up to the state - not Federal law. :D

As stated above regarding the Post Office, just because a law is not enforced does not make an act legal, regardless of how many people engage in that activity every day. For instance, in South Carolina, fornication is illegal:

SECTION 16-15-80. "Fornication" defined. [SC ST SEC 16-15-80]

"Fornication" is the living together and carnal intercourse with each other or habitual carnal intercourse with each other without living together of a man and woman, both being unmarried.

SECTION 16-15-60. Adultery or fornication. [SC ST SEC 16-15-60]

Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

carebear
June 21, 2009, 11:07 PM
NavyLt is correct on this based on everything I've seen written or argued.

Want another Federal law that criminalizes state-legal behavior (but is thankfully also typically unenforced)?

Carry without a permit in one form or another is legal in your car and on your person in most states.

As noted above, the Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act only exempts state permitted carry within 1,000' of a K-12 school.

Open carrying in AZ while driving by a school?

Federal violator.

Concealed carrying in AK or Vermont off-permit while walking down the sidewalk across from a school?

Federal violator.

The list is waaaay too long. Time for another Congressional slap to the anti-gun crowd.

flynlr
June 22, 2009, 04:30 AM
not covered in this thread.. is Leased Property..

I work for the USPS in a leased building and property , and have wondered about this. there is a sign as you enter my postal facility stating that it is Private Property. I am still in the don't ask don't tell camp.

jcwit
June 22, 2009, 09:19 AM
It would also seem that all the Veterans with CHL going to the VA medical hosiptal or clinic and leaving their sidearm locked in their car are also in violation of the law.

Frank Ettin
June 22, 2009, 12:05 PM
...not covered in this thread.. is Leased Property.. .Property leased by the USPS is USPS property.

Maverick223
June 22, 2009, 12:26 PM
Property leased by the USPS is USPS property.Isn't the area where your mailbox resides considered USPS property?

SHvar
June 22, 2009, 12:35 PM
No the area around your mailbox can either be owned by you, or the local government, but you must maintain it.
This was discussed and quotes added before in another post not too long ago. If the post office has a counter located inside of another business (store), until you are at the post office counter its not breaking the law. If the post office is located with other businesses or homes on the same property (ie strip mall, etc) the gun free zone is inside the post office. One possibility though, the parking lot usually has certain parking spaces reserved for post office customers only, its possible that these are also included.
Check your specific state laws before doing anything, each state may make the laws more or strict than the federal laws.

benminer
June 22, 2009, 03:24 PM
In some places the town/borough/county technically owns the public parking lot; the USPS just has the building and non-public areas. How many more kinks can we find to throw in here?

ronto
June 22, 2009, 05:18 PM
Until the lawyers decide what "is" is, I don't carry in the PO.

RiverCity.45
June 22, 2009, 08:48 PM
I just completed the Texas concealed carry course. Instructor was very explicit about it being illegal to carry at the Post Office, including the parking lot.

NavyLCDR
June 22, 2009, 09:20 PM
For once I agree with a concealed carry instructor. Usually, not so much, though.

DJW
June 22, 2009, 09:20 PM
Have had my Texas CHL long enough to have been thru 3 renewals and never was instructed about the Post Office. I did see a sign on the wall of my local office stating that carry was prohibited unless in "official" capacity. Guess I'll not carry there.............

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