Differing Legal Opinion On Postal Carry
Same question came up on another forum. Here's what I posted.
Just some food for thought, I found this on Link Removed
. This was information from MA, but as the law is federal, it should be relevant in Nevada as well. I wish we could get a test case some where to test the law (not me of course:no
. It would sure clear things up. This is what they had to say, directly from the post (and makes a lot of sense):
Dear Fellow NES Members and Guests:
First off - sorry for the length of this post!
I found the following excerpt on pages 380 and 381 of the Law Enforcement Guide to Firearms Law, published by Chief Ron Glidden and Atty. John Collins. This publication is used to train police officers in MA at the State Police Academy. I'm providing this information in order to clear up some confusion on the Post Office carry discussion. I contacted Atty Collins who gave me permission to post this information. Hope you find it useful. P.S. I've added the link to purchase the CD version for $41.50 directly from the Municipal Police Institute. No, I don't get any commissions on sales!!! Thanks to all of you members and users (especially Derek and the moderators) for making this such a useful and informative site. - Best regards - Randy B.
P.S.S. - For all the non-members who read this great site - please spend a small amount of money and join NES to support a very worthwhile cause!
Law Enforcement Guide to Firearms Law 11th Edition
Concealed Carry in the Post Office
18 U.S.C. §930
There is much public confusion on the legality of carrying a concealed firearm in a post office. The confusion is based in part on posters typically observed at federal buildings citing 18 U.S.C. § 930. Unfortunately, the posters do not mention the exception to the law that applies to those private citizens who lawfully carry handguns.
18 U.S.C. §930 Possession of Firearms and Dangerous Weapons in Federal Facilities
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to –
(1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United
States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or
supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;
(2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
For non-law enforcement personnel in Massachusetts, in order to fall within the exception to the law, two conditions have to be met. First, one has to be engaged in the “lawful carrying of firearms.” This means you cannot be a “prohibited person” such as a convicted felon, a fugitive from justice, or fall within any of the other categories that would prohibit one from lawfully purchasing or owning a firearm under federal law.
It also means that it must be legal for you to carry the firearm under any applicable federal, state, and local laws. For example your license to carry is restricted to target and hunting, you would not be allowed to carry in a post office on the federal section. The second condition that has to be met for one to fall within the exception to the ban on carrying a firearm in a federal facility is that one must be carrying in the facility “incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.” One cannot be in the facility with intent to commit a crime, or while committing a crime, and fall within the exception.
A simple test of whether one may legally carry in a post office could involve answering four questions:
1. Is it illegal for me to carry a handgun on the street outside the post office?
2. Is there a state or local law prohibiting carry in a post office?
3. Am I violating the terms of my LTC by carrying inside a post office?
4. Am I going to commit a crime or engage in some unlawful activity once inside the facility?
If one answers “no” to all four questions, it seems that one falls within the exception to the federal ban on carrying in a federal facility. The answer to the first three questions seeks to resolve whether one is engaged in the “lawful carrying” of a firearm. The answer to the final question seeks to resolve whether one is carrying “incident to … lawful purposes.”
© 2006 380
Law Enforcement Guide to Firearms Law 11th Edition
It is important to note that the term “Federal facility” does not include a federal court facility. Even with a valid concealed weapon or handgun license, it is a federal offense to bring a firearm into a federal court facility. Under this statue, the only persons who may lawfully carry in a federal court facility are federal, state, or local law enforcement officers on official duty, or a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if authorized to possess the firearm.
The Code of Federal Regulations contains the following regulation (excerpted in pertinent part; full text from link):
39 C.F.R. 232.1 Conduct on Postal Property:
(l) Weapons and explosives. No person while on postal property may carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, or store the same on postal property, except for official purposes.
However, looking further down the regulation, we see the following: (p) Penalties and other law.
(2) Whoever shall be found guilty of violating the rules and regulations in this section while on property
under the charge and control of the Postal Service is subject to fine of not more than $50 or imprisonment
of not more than 30 days, or both. Nothing contained in these rules and regulations shall be construed
to abrogate any other Federal laws or regulations of any State and local laws and regulations
applicable to any area in which the property is situated.
Regulations in the CFR have to be based on laws in the United States Code, must be consistent with them, and cannot supercede them. Section (p)(2) of the 39 CFR 232.1 recognizes this fact. That is, the CFR cannot abrogate applicable Federal law.
In so far as firearms are concerned, 18 U.S.C. § 930 (a) is essentially the same as 39 CFR 232.1 (l), except that the regulations do not contain the exception for lawful concealed carry contained in 18 U.S.C. § 930 (d) (3). But by its own terms, the regulations do not override the United States Code ("Federal law"), which does allows carrying a firearm in federal facility.
In other words, the CFR cannot trump the U.S.C., and the U.S.C. allows lawful concealed carry in a federal facility.
© 2006 381