Yesterday the Tenth Circuit heard oral arguments in Bonidy v. United States, which is an as-applied challenge to the U.S. Postal Service regulation which completely prohibits firearms on all postal property, including parking lots. Mr. Bonidy lives in Avon, Colorado, and has a concealed carry permit issued pursuant to Colorado law, following a fingerprint-based background check, safety training, and the County Sheriff’s determination that he does not pose any threat to himself or others.
The post office does not provide home delivery in Avon, so residents must go to the post office to pick up their mail from a box. The local post office is open 24 hours a day, has counter staff 6 hours a day, and provides no security for patrons.
In the District Court, Judge Richard Matsch upheld the postal ban for the post office lobby (where patrons access their mail boxes), ruling it to be among Heller’s “sensitive places.” He ruled the gun ban unconstitutional as applied to Mr. Bonidy and the parking lot at the Avon Post Office. The case thus came to the 10th Circuit on cross-appeals by the parties. Mr. Bonidy is represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Some of the documents in the case (but not the appellate briefs) are available on the website of Michel and Associates, a southern California firm with a specialty in firearms cases. Like me, Michel and Associates has no role in the case. …
… So in the abstract, the postal service may have an interest in keeping guns off its property. But it has no interest in banning the gun carried by Mr. Bonidy, or other people who have gone through special licensing to be granted a carry permit. A quarter century of state data on concealed carry permitees show that permitees are far more law-abiding than the general population.
“Going postal” is something that has been done only by postal employees, who are not at issue in Bonidy. If someone did “go postal,” it would likely be life-saving if one or more of the postal patrons at the time was armed. There are numerous examples of incipient mass murders being stopped by armed citizens. These include the Clackamas Mall in Oregon (two days before Newtown), and the psychiatrist who shot and stopped a would-be mass murderer at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, near Philadelphia, a few weeks ago.
By definition, persons who have been issued a concealed carry permit have been authorized to carry a handgun for lawful protection almost everywhere in a state. They do not become more dangerous when they set foot in a post office. Nor does the licensed carry of a firearm impose any greater risk than does carrying in other public places. ….