Attorney Jim Manley and the Mountain States Legal Foundation are taking on the US Postal Service’s ban on any firearm on USPS property. The challenge is on behalf of Debbie and Tab Bonidy of Avon, Colorado and the National Association for Gun Rights. A lawsuit, Bonidy et al v. USPS et al, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
The Bonidys live in a rural area of Colorado that doesn’t have home mail delivery. Because of that, the local post office in Avon, Colorado provides the residents of the area with a post office box at no charge. While they both have Colorado concealed carry permits and regularly carry, the Bonidys cannot carry concealed or openly when picking up their mail. They even can’t leave their firearms locked in their car as this would violate 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l). This regulation reads:
(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.
Violation of this regulation could subject them to a fine or imprisonment or both. Rather than risk this, they, through their attorney, requested that the USPS amend or repeal this provision as it was broader than other firearms restrictions on Federal property and because it went beyond what was allowed under the Heller decision.
In response to their letter, Mary Anne Gibbons, General Counsel for the USPS, informed the Bonidys that the USPS believed that it was on firm legal ground and that bringing firearms on Postal Service grounds would indeed violate 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l). She said the Postal Service would be seeking the advice of the Justice Department on the issues raised on behalf of the Bonidys.
The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the Postal Service regulations on the grounds that:
By prohibiting Plaintiffs from possessing a functional firearm on real property under the charge and control of the USPS, Defendants currently maintain and actively enforce a set of laws, customs, practices, and policies that deprive Plaintiffs of the right to keep and bear arms, in violation of the Second Amendment.
In addition to the injunction, the plaintiffs are seeking costs, attorney fees, and any further relief that the Court may award.
In a parenthetical note, this is the first time that I am aware that the National Association for Gun Rights has been a party to any post-McDonald litigation. Due to their sensationalist “alerts” on Rep. Bobby Rush’s HR 45 as a means of fund-raising, they have not been taken too seriously in the past. If this lawsuit marks a change in their direction, so much the better.