Gun Rights Groups Sue to Strike Down Gun Ban in Post Offices

Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Police Coalition claim Supreme Court’s Bruen decision makes post office prohibition unconstitutional.

Two Second Amendment advocacy groups are asking a federal judge to declare that a ban on carrying guns in U.S. Post Offices is unconstitutional.

The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) are asking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to stop federal officials from enforcing the laws underlying the ban on firearms in post offices.

The first law, 18 USC 930(a), prohibits carrying a gun on federal property, and the second, 39 CFR 232.1(1), prohibits firearms on any property under the control of the federal government.

The suit, filed on June 18 against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in his official capacity, states that the federal laws are unconstitutional under the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. Under Bruen, courts must consider the law’s text and the history of firearms regulation when determining whether a law is constitutional.

For a law to meet this standard, the court ruled that a similar law—a historical analog—must have existed when the Second Amendment was adopted.

“And it means that any locational restrictions on Second Amendment rights must come from history, not from the plain text,” the lawsuit states.

Texas residents Gavin Pate and George Mandry, plaintiffs in the suit, have Texas-issued firearms licenses, are members of the FPC and SAF, and visit post offices regularly. The suit states that they are required to disarm on each visit, which they would not do if they weren’t concerned about being charged with a crime.

Spokespersons for the plaintiffs said that millions of gun owners temporarily lose their Second Amendment rights every time they visit a post office. They predict that the laws will be struck down in accordance with the Bruen decision.

“There is no well-established, representative historical analog to justify this regulation, which violates the Second Amendment,” Adam Kraut, SAF’s executive director, wrote in a statement released on June 18.

Representatives of the Department of Justice and the American Postal Workers Union did not respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times by press time.

Albert Ruiz, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“The Postal Service does not comment on active litigation but notes that we regulate our facilities for the safety, economy, and convenience of customers and employees engaged in postal business nationwide,” Mr. Ruiz wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

This is not the first court challenge to the post office’s firearms prohibition. On Jan. 12, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the ban violated a postal worker’s Second Amendment rights. In United States v. Emmanuel Ayala, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle for the Middle District of Florida cited Bruen when she ruled in the postal worker’s favor.

Semiautomatic rifles hang on the wall for sale at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va., on Oct. 6, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Semiautomatic rifles hang on the wall for sale at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va., on Oct. 6, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr. Ayala, a truck driver for the U.S. Postal Service, carried his gun onto federal property in Tampa, Florida, in September 2022. He ran when two postal inspectors tried to detain him but was later caught by Tampa police. He was indicted for carrying a firearm on federal property.

Mr. Ayala told the court that he sometimes carried a gun “for extra protection” when walking from a parking lot to his Postal Service truck at night. Judge Mizelle ruled that the government failed to show any historical analog that supports a federal gun ban in post offices.

“But the Supreme Court has been clear: the government must point to historical principles that would permit it to prohibit firearms possession in post offices,” Judge Mizelle wrote.

However, the Ayala ruling addressed only the ban in post offices. The most recent lawsuit takes on both laws.

“The Second Amendment protects the individual right to possess and carry firearms out of their home for lawful purposes,” Brandon Combs, FPC president, wrote in a statement on the FPC website.


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