Colorado Couple's Lawsuit to Challenge Postal Gun Ban will Proceed in Court

Debbie and Tab Bonidy of Avon, Colorado, have a simple request.  As law-abiding gun owners with valid CCW permits, they feel they have the right to carry their firearms into the local post office. 

They argue the U.S. Postal Service’s ban on firearms, which prohibits one from carrying a gun anywhere on the premises, including the parking lot, makes it impossible for them to pick up their mail. 

See, the Bonidys have to pick up their mail because the post office does not delivery to their remote residence. 

The couple has filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the National Association for Gun Rights to see if they can overturn the ban that violates their Second Amendment rights.  

“The Postal Service’s total ban on firearms possession impairs the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment because that right cannot be exercised when individuals are traveling to, from, or through postal property,” the Mountain States Legal Foundation, the firm representing the Bonidys and the NAGR, contends. 

When the Postal Service got word of the lawsuit, it tried to have the case dismissed, citing what seemed to be an obvious discrepancy in the Bonidy’s logic, ‘couldn’t they just park on the street and leave their guns in the car?’

Additionally, USPS argued that the ban was lawful, pointing to the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, which protects an individual’s right to bear arms, but also allows reasonable restrictions such as “long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.” 

While the post office isn’t really a government building, it is a “sensitive place,” and therefore the ban is legal, the Postal Service argued. 

“Large numbers of people from all walks of life gather on postal property every day,” the Postal Service’s plea for dismissal stated.  “. . . The Postal Service is thus responsible for the protection of its employees and all the members of the public who enter postal property.”

But a few weeks ago, a federal judge, U.S. District Senior Judge Richard Matsch, rejected the motion for dismissal, allowing the case to proceed. 

Now the Attorneys for both parties will have to prepare for a more substantive and protracted fight in court. 

The Postal Service will continue to argue the “sensitive place” aspect, referencing a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans that upheld the conviction of a man who was found to have a handgun in his vehicle in a Postal Service parking lot.

That court concluded that Postal Service property was a “sensitive place.” But the 5th Circuit’s decision is not binding on the Bonidy case, the Denver Post reported. 

James Manley, an attorney at the Mountain States Legal Foundation, has countered that the defendant in the 5th Circuit case was a Postal Service employee whose vehicle was parked in a restricted, employees-only lot. No court in the country, he contended, has taken up whether the Second Amendment right to possess firearms extends to public areas of post offices.

“The ruling could have national implications for all post offices,” Manley told the Denver Post, “certainly in post offices in areas like the Bonidys’ in rural areas.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.  A court date will be set for sometime next year, will continue to keep you updated. 

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