Colorado Couple Challenge USPS Ban Of Firearms on Postal Property

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 October 4, 2010 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

According to the lawsuit:

John Potter is the Postmaster General of the USPS. Defendant Potter is responsible for the administration of the USPS and, by creating and enforcing the policy complained of in this action, currently is depriving Plaintiffs of the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Defendant Potter is sued in both his individual and official capacities.

Steve Ruehle is the Postmaster of the Post Office at 111 West Beaver Creek Boulevard, Avon, Colorado. Defendant Ruehle is responsible for the administration of the Post Office in Avon, Colorado, and, by enforcing the policies complained of in this action, currently is depriving Plaintiffs of the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Defendant Ruehle is sued in both his individual and official capacities.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “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.”

The Second Amendment guarantees individuals a fundamental right to possess functional firearms—including handguns, rifles, and shotguns—for purposes of self-defense.

The Second Amendment guarantees, inter alia, “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 2797 (2008); McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. ___, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3036 (2010).

With certain limited exceptions not applicable to the Plaintiffs, USPS regulations prohibit law-abiding individuals from carrying functional firearms, openly or concealed, onto any real property under the charge and control of the USPS. 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l). Violation of 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l) is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(p)(2).

The Bonidys live in rural Colorado and they do not have home mail service. The local Post Office in Avon, Colorado provides the Bonidys and their neighbors with post office boxes at no charge. The Bonidys must drive approximately 10 miles roundtrip from their home to reach the local Post Office to pick up their mail.

The Bonidys lawfully own handguns, which they are licensed to carry pursuant to Colorado’s Concealed Carry Act, C.R.S. § 18-12-201 et seq. Mr. and Mrs. Bonidy presently intend to possess a handgun for self-defense when traveling to, from, through, or on USPS property but are prevented from doing so by Defendants’ active enforcement of 39 C.F.R.

On July 22, 2010, the Bonidys, through counsel, contacted the USPS to inquire as to whether they would be subject to prosecution pursuant to 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l) if they carried a firearm on USPS property or stored a firearm in their cars when they parked on USPS property when picking up their mail. On August 3, 2010, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mary Anne Gibbons responded, on behalf of Postmaster General John Potter, to the Bonidys’ July 22, 2010, letter. Ms. Gibbons stated, “the regulations governing Conduct on Postal Property prevent the Bonidys from carrying firearms, openly or concealed, onto any real property under the charge and control of the Postal Service. . . . There are limited exceptions to this policy that would not apply here.”

The lawsuit is seeking a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the Postal Service regulations on the grounds that:

By prohibiting the Plainiffss 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 Bonidys are seeking costs, attorney fees, and any further relief that the Court may award.

12 thoughts on “Colorado Couple Challenge USPS Ban Of Firearms on Postal Property

  1. You should be allowed to carry even if it is “just to pick up your mail”. For the person who said to move out of your area if it is bad, the area you live in is not a factor on whether or not you can carry, your constitutional right is. If it is lawful in your town, it should be lawful at your post office. And for the bank reference, there are banks that allow you to carry, an example is Key Bank in Ohio which is why I bank there. Do you think a sign that says you “No Weapons” will stop a criminal with harmful intent? I don’t think so. I deserve the right to protect myself against those that don’t abide by the laws. Fighting for the right to protect yourself doesn’t mean you want to be above the law, it means that what is currently in place isn’t constitutional. If it isn’t possible to fight for what we think is right, even if it is a law, then I guess I shouldn’t be able to vote this year.

    Female CCW holder and USPS Employee

  2. Although I believe it is a stupid regulation it is going to stick. If some legally carrying when the poop flys are near some may not be hurt and a few perps may die.

  3. My church will not let me carry a gun to church, My grandkids school will not let me carry a gun when I go into pick them up after school, and I went to the DMV last week to renew my auto tags and they ran me out because I was carrying my gun,(Guess I should challenge these people….

  4. If you feel the need to carry a concealed weapon on your daily trip to town for your own, you might want to consider moving better neighborhood

  5. This is obviously a test case. If they are carrying CONCEALED weapons no one at the PO would know. Right? Some people have way too much time on their hands.

  6. Doesn’t mean you are above the LAW! park across the street/ or where ever.. Yes you have the right to bare arms for self defence, but you are only picking up the mail.. get over yourself, control freak you’re (not) Barney fife!!!!

  7. They should refer to their state law for the concealed firmarms license . You cannot carry firearms on federal property or where the owner/leaser strictly prohibit it. They cant carry their guns into a bank just because they have a concealed license. Same thing. People like this give normal gun owners a bad image.

  8. Just wrap up a shotgun in butcher paper like Steve McQueen did in “The Getaway” and pretend you’re gonna mail it!

  9. @J Jameson…You are very mistaken. The only exception to 39 C.F.R. § 232 is for law enforcement personnel, e.g. Postal Inspectors, Office of Inspector General Special Agents and, in limited circumstances, other federal, state and local law enforcement agents. No non-law enforcement postal employee, executive or otherwise, may carry or store a firearm while on postal property at any time. Period. This policy is in line with all federal and state laws prohibiting civilians and other non-law enforcement personnel from possessing, carrying or storing firearms on federal, state or local government-owned property. This is a frivolous lawsuit that will go nowhere for the plaintiffs.

  10. As documented, USPS General Counsel Maryanne Gibbons has stated that there are two sets of rules for the USPS; one for employees and one for executives. Presunably therefore, executives are allowed to carry legally concealed weapons on postal property. In the statement she previously made concerning rules, she made no mention on what and where the public stood concernong their set of rules and regulations. I would assume that there may be a third set of rules concerning conduct and regulation for the public.
    Whether there are more specialized stes of rules for different groups of individuals remains to be seen.
    When will Congress do something about postal management??????????

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