Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bonidy v. USPS - Not Over Yet

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch granted the defense's motion to dismiss the suit brought by Debbie and Tab Bonidy against the U.S. Postal Service back on March 22nd. The Bonidys' were suing the Postal Service over its ban on firearms on Postal Service property. When Judge Matsch issued his ruling, he gave the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint by April 11th.

Attorney Jim Manley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation filed an amended complaint on behalf of the Bonidys and the National Association for Gun Rights on Friday. The amended complaint narrows the focus of the challenge to the Postal Service's ban on firearms to possession in the parking lot.
21. There is a public parking lot adjacent to the Avon Post Office; the parking lot is located on real property under the charge and control of the USPS.

22. West Beaver Creek Boulevard is designated an emergency snow route; thus,
parking on West Beaver Creek Boulevard is prohibited whenever snow accumulation exceeds two inches. Because of this restriction, public parking on West Beaver Creek Boulevard is often disallowed and is therefore sporadic and unpredictable throughout the winter.

23. The public USPS parking lot adjacent to the Avon Post Office is the only public
parking consistently available to patrons of the Avon Post Office.

The Second Amended Complaint notes that USPS security personal do not either electronically screen people entering the Avon Post Office for weapons nor do they limit access to those who have been screened and determined to be unarmed. This statement of fact is a new addition to the case.

The earlier complaints only have one claim for relief based upon USPS regulations that prevent the Bonidys from carrying firearms, either openly or concealed, on USPS property in violation of their Second Amendment rights.

The Second Amendment Complaint states two claims for relief. First, they challenge the USPS regulations which ban firearms on any real property "under the charge and control of the USPS, including firearms stored in private vehicles parked in the public parking lot adjacent to the Avon Post Office."

The second claim for relief challenges the USPS regulations which ban the carrying of a functional firearm (openly carried or concealed) within the Avon Post Office. Both claims for relief state that these bans violate the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The Court is being asked to declare that USPS regulations, specifically 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l), violates the plaintiffs' Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. It is also being asked to permanently enjoin the Postal Service from enforcing 39 C.F.R. § 232.1(l) which bans possession of firearms on any real property under its control.

By separating the claim into two parts - inside the Post Office and outside in the parking lot - the plaintiffs are forcing the Department of Justice to try and make the case that an open-access public parking lot is as much a "sensitive area" as the inside of the Post Office. Common sense, to use a term in vogue with gun controllers, would clearly indicate that a parking lot is not a "sensitive area".

1 comment:

  1. John, this "sensitive areas" exception is going to need definition. Fortunately there are related precedents ... here's one. "The affirmative duty to protect arises not from the State's knowledge of the individual's predicament or from its expressions of intent to help him, but from the limitations which it has imposed on his freedom to act on his own behalf, through imprisonment, institutionalization, or other similar restraint of personal liberty." Majority opinion in DeShaney v. Winnebago County. Basically if the USPS requires you to forgo your constitutional right to armed self defense, it has an affirmative duty to protect you. The USPS sure does NOT do that in any measurable way based on the facts in this case.