Since 1972, firearms have been prohibited from the US Postal Service's property. Now, in a landmark lawsuit, citizens can now legally carry their privately owned guns in post office parking lots across the country.
Why the ban?
More than forty years ago, the country was a tinderbox of anti-Vietnam riots, civil unrest, and domestic terrorism. With this in mind, tighter regulations were put into place that would forbid any sort of weapon on the property controlled by the US Postal Service. Afterall, if there were no guns, there could be no problems right?
There are over 200,000 post offices in the US and the security of these tiny outposts of the federal government is the responsibility of the United States Postal Inspection Service (or USPIS). While the USPIS maintains a small force of armed and uniformed protective security officers, it's only enough to put one out of every 200 locations. Unlike most other large federal offices that have controlled entry points with x-rays and magnetometers manned by trained and armed guards, most post offices are wide open. This makes almost every post office a soft target. The thing is, the 1972 ban did not deter the local thugs from bringing their own guns on USPS property. Increasingly there have been several armed robberies of postal service offices including one office in Benson, MD that was robbed twice in just five months.
With his security in mind, Tab Bonidy of Avon, Colorado could not legally check his post office box downtown refused to be a victim by going to the office unarmed. Neither could Mr. Bonidy just have his mail delivered, as the small office had no carriers. This was a pickle.
In 2010 Mr.Bonidy, along with the National Association for Gun Rights, filed a lawsuit in federal court against the USPS for prohibiting firearms carried by legally eligible citizens as a violation of their Second Amendment Rights. This week, after three years of litigation, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled that a U.S. Postal Service regulation banning firearms in its parking lots violates the Second Amendment.
What this means
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and US Title 18 still prohibit taking firearms inside federal buildings (including post offices) so don't go carrying inside your local Social Security Office, IRS building, or Dept. of Labor field office. Furthermore, don't try to enter a federal courthouse with a weapon of any sort as doing so can earn you some time in the federal clink.
Nevertheless, the Bonidy lawsuit would now make it ok to have a firearm in the parking lot of post offices. For those just in case moments.