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Firearms on Post Office Property

color of law

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“Possession of Firearms and Other Dangerous Weapons on Postal Service Property Is Prohibited by Law” https://about.usps.com/posters/pos158.pdf

“Possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a federal facility for other than official purposes, causing such a weapon to be present, or attempting to do so are punishable by a fine, imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both. If the prohibited weapon is intended to be used to commit a crime, the penalty is an increased fine, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both. See Title 18, United States Code, Section 930.”

Now see Bonidy v. USPS (2015): https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/13/13-1374.pdf
Bonidy mentions Heller as it relates to “government buildings”, but does not mention 18 U.S. Code § 930. Bonidy upholds the postal regulation and Bonidy appealed to the Supreme Court which was subsequently denied. The Writ of Certiorari, Government reply and amicus briefs all fail to address 18 U.S. Code § 930 or what Heller actually said about government buildings.

18 U.S. Code § 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.”

Subsections (a) and, subsection (b) and (c) of section 930 lays out the criminal penalty for the possession or the possession and criminal use of a firearm in government buildings. Subsection (d) lists the exclusions to subsection (a).

Subsection (d)(3) says:
“(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.” (My emphasis)

In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 626 (2008) the Supreme Court made the following statement:

“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.[26]” (My emphasis)

It would be reasonable to say that “Federal facility” and “government building” are synonymous.

Now, let’s look at Footnote [26].

“[26] We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.”

The purpose of the footnote is to clarify their statement. First, the court says “regulatory measures” not statutory law. Secondly, the court says “presumptively lawful.” Now let’s address the term “presumptively lawful.”

Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th.
Presumption. A presumption is a rule of law, statutory or judicial, by which finding of a basic fact gives rise to existence of presumed fact, until presumption is rebutted.
Lawful. Legal; warranted or authorized by the law; having the qualifications prescribed by law; not contrary to nor forbidden by the law.

What does this all mean in regards to “lawful purposes in federal facilities.”

The Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137, 177. (1803) stated: “Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and, consequently, the theory of every such government must be, that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.” And, in their closing the Marbury court, at page 179, stated: “Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument.”

The Supreme Court in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553, 23 L.Ed 588 (1876) declared that the right of “bearing arms for a lawful purpose.” was not granted by the Constitution. The understanding was that it was in existence before the Constitution. “The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed, but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress.”

In 2008 the United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 592, 171 L.Ed 2d 637, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008) declared “we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment.” The Court then cited Cruikshank as part of its historical analysis. Thus, Heller held that the right to bear arms for a lawful purpose was secured by the U.S. Constitution. See Heller footnote 22 citing Cruikshank: "[t]he second amendment declares that it [i.e., the right of bearing arms for a lawful purpose] shall not be infringed." 92 U.S., at 553.

More importantly, Heller did not limit the right to bear arms. It specifically stated, “Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed.” The Court reiterated, “Our opinion is, that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers.”

Then in 2010 the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, declared that the Second Amendment applied to the states. The McDonald court reaffirmed the holdings of Cruikshank and Heller, in that, the right of bearing arms for a lawful purpose “is not a right granted by the Constitution" and is not "in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." And citizens must be permitted "to use [handguns] for the core lawful purpose of self-defense." Id., Heller at 630, 128 S.Ct., at 2818.

Article VI, Clause 2:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

Bill of Rights, Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Based on the above, it is “presumptively lawful” to keep and bear Arms in a “Federal facility” as long as the carrying of the firearm is for a “lawful purpose”; with no intent to commit a crime. In other words, what subpart (a) threatens, subpart (d) nullifies because a statute is presumptively constitutional. And to pass constitutional muster, Congress knew that to say otherwise would conflict with Marbury v. Madison and the Supreme Law of the Land.

This is another case of attorneys not doing their job, and judges are attorneys.

Should you decide to carry a firearm in a “Federal facility” I would confine it to the areas of the building that is open to the public.
 

cloudcroft

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I suspect there are quite a few guns to be found in cars parked on "federal property" if there was a search done by "the authorities." Not only in the USPS parking lots but at all the VA Clinics across the country.
After all, when out & about, the Post Office (or VA Clinic) is probably just ONE thing to do that day, so why leave your gun(s) @ home and be UNarmed the entire day just because of ONE place than bans them?
I'm sure lots of people do NOT leave their gun(s) @ home, and I don't blame them one bit. But then I'm biased in their favor. ;-)
BTW, I'm back in Colorado now (Colorado Springs to be specific).
-- C
 

solus

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CoL, tks for the in-depth overview on the subject on federal property, but a sidebar query...would the same perspective be applicable to educational property[ies] per se?

for example, NC UNC's & Duke, etc hospitals/clinics AND parking lots are deemed "no firearm" as the UNC facilities are "teaching" areas associated with their respective universities.

from your analysis on federal grounds above...one might presume the same principles would be in effect on the state level?
 

color of law

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Look, both Heller and McDonald make it clear that neither the feds nor the states have the authority to regulate the bearing of arms. Both feds and states do have the authority to prohibit violent and/or mentally ill persons from possessing dangerous objects. And the feds and states can prohibit Arms from areas not open to the public; courts are open to the public. But hospitals, universities and other like places are gray areas.

The problem is the courts don't care about your rights.
 

Brian D.

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Cincy area, Ohio, USA
18 U.S. Code § 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.”

Subsections (a) and, subsection (b) and (c) of section 930 lays out the criminal penalty for the possession or the possession and criminal use of a firearm in government buildings. Subsection (d) lists the exclusions to subsection (a).

Subsection (d)(3) says:
“(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.” (My emphasis)
Let's all tip our hats to good old Subsection (d)(3)! :D
 

Brian D.

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Sorry for the snark, but I've read that law several times and Subsection (d)(3) always leaves me shaking my head and asking questions out loud, to myself.

'Who in the world goes hunting on postal property?'
'Just what exactly do they mean by "other lawful purposes"?'


I suppose a judge could answer that second one, if you got arrested for testing it out by carrying.
 

color of law

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Sorry for the snark, but I've read that law several times and Subsection (d)(3) always leaves me shaking my head and asking questions out loud, to myself.

'Who in the world goes hunting on postal property?'
'Just what exactly do they mean by "other lawful purposes"?'


I suppose a judge could answer that second one, if you got arrested for testing it out by carrying.
“Other” is an adjective denoting a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about.

“Lawful” Legal; warranted or authorized by the law; having the qualifications prescribed by law; not contrary to nor forbidden by the law.

“Purpose” is a noun meaning for the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

Heller quoting Cruikshank: "[t]he second amendment declares that it [i.e., the right of bearing arms for a lawful purpose] shall not be infringed."

The bearing of arms under the second amendment is the “other lawful purpose.”
 

color of law

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No judge is gunna let you comport yourself within the confines of state law on federal property...
I'm not sure how to interpret your statement. But if you are implying that someone being criminally charged under state law for being on federal property then I would move to dismiss the charges because the state lacks standing to enforce federal law. The state is sovereign from the feds and vice versa. An example please.
 

OC for ME

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I think it was Black v. Norte Cackalacky, 4th Circ., where those judges cited that OC was legal in NC and thus not RAS to search/seize Black. Now, will a federale judge be smart enough to know that I am not be violating state law, and carrying lawful under the federal constitution.

I know that this is not how it works today, cuz federale judges would not "legislate from da bench" and nullify federal regs/laws...per Heller dictates...no?
 

color of law

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I think it was Black v. Norte Cackalacky, 4th Circ., where those judges cited that OC was legal in NC and thus not RAS to search/seize Black. Now, will a federale judge be smart enough to know that I am not be violating state law, and carrying lawful under the federal constitution.

I know that this is not how it works today, cuz federale judges would not "legislate from da bench" and nullify federal regs/laws...per Heller dictates...no?
I think you mean US v. Black, 707 F. 3d 531 - Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit 2013.
My question is how did local police charge someone with a federal crime? " Black was charged in a one-count indictment for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)."
 
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