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.