*TFF Admin Staff Chief Counselor*
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: At SouthernMoss' side forever!
Re: carry in a bank?
Pistol, here is an in-depth analysis from Gun Talk
at packing.org. I think it should shed some light. The Bottom Line is that unless a particular state specifically prohibits carry in a United States Postal facility, it is NOT illegal to do so for properly licensed individuals.
This analysis is written by an attorney who practices in tlhe Big Apple.
Concealed Carry in the Post Office
An Analysis by Robert P. Firriolo, Esq.
It is no secret that lots of wrong information on firearms laws is propagated by the Internet and by word of mouth. In my experience, one of the most prevalent myths is that it is a federal offense to carry a firearm in a United States Post Office even if you have a permit or license to carry. As a general proposition, this is simply not the case. While state law or carry permit restrictions may prohibit carry in a Post Office, I have yet to locate a federal law that actually criminalizes such conduct where state law and permit regulations allow it.
The statute tossed out in support of the proposition that carry in a post office is illegal is 18 U.S.C. § 930. This statute is also cited in posters typically displayed in federal facilities giving notice that carrying firearms in the facility is a crime. The posters do not even mention the exception to the law that applies to those private citizens who lawfully carry handguns.
Here are the relevant sections of the law:
Title 18, United States Code, Sec. 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 -
3. the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
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. If, for example, it is illegal under state law to carry a firearm in a post office, the exception in section (d) (3) of 18 U.S.C. § 930 offers you no protection. The same is true about any local regulations or restrictions on the terms of your carry permit. In other words, if state or local law, or the terms of your carry permit, prohibit carry in a post office, then such carry is not "lawful," and the exception to the ban on carrying in federal facilities does not apply to you.
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 CCW permit 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."
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 statute, 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.
Anyone with verifiable information about a CCW permit holder who was prosecuted for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 930 (or any other federal law), and who was also not allegedly committing, or attempting to commit, a crime (other than illegal firearm possession), should contact The Gun Zone or the author and provide details.
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.