We’ve all been told “the Post Office is off-limits for guns” for decades now. Stories of workers “going postal” ultimately lead to the prohibition.
For a while, depending on who you ask, you could still take a gun into a Post Office, just not behind the counter. The area that was generally open to the public, the lobby, the store, the PO boxes, etc., well, those were still okay. (Some disagree with this assessment.)
Then, regulations came down that prohibited firearms from “Federal Facilities”. A “facility” was generally assumed to be a building, and didn’t include the grounds or parking lots of these locations, after all, they aren’t “Federal Installations”.
The Postmaster General, however, claimed that guns were prohibited from parking lots of Post Offices as well. That’s what led a man to get clarification.
Tab Bonidy has a concealed carry permit and carries a firearm with him routinely. When he learned of the Postal Regulation he sent a letter asking the United States Postal Service if he would be prosecuted if he had his gun in the parking lot or left it in his vehicle.
Mary Ann Gibbons, General Counsel for the USPS, responded that “regulations governing conduct on postal property prevent you from carrying firearms, openly or concealed, onto any real property under the charge and control of the Postal Service.”
He, with help from the National Association for Gun Rights, filed suit.
Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled that the US Postal Service’s ban of firearms in “their” parking lots does, in point of fact, violate the Second Amendment.
Judge Matsch went on to say that there is a “collective interest in public safety that trumps individual liberty in certain circumstances”.
“The public interest in safety and Mr. Bonidy’s liberty can be accommodated by modifying the regulation to permit Mr. Bonidy to “have ready access to essential postal services” provided by the Avon Post Office while also exercising his right to self-defense.”