Monday, November 28, 2011
Should Guns Be Allowed in Post Offices
The issue isn't being tested in a ghetto or other high crime area. A federal court in Denver has allowed two residents of one the wealthiest regions in the nation to file a constitutional challenge to a ban on possession of guns in either post offices or their parking lots.
No, there have been no claims that it is particularly dangerous in the Vail or neighboring Avon, home of two of the nation's richest gated communities.
The lawsuit, filed by Debbie and Tab Bonidy, and supported by the National Association for Gun Rights and Mountain States Legal Foundation, mentions the right of self-defense but it is clear it is the right of unlimited gun possession that is at stake.
There have been no reports of the couple being attacked on the ten-mile drive from their mountain home to the Avon Post Office.
Their case was twice turned down, but on Nov. 18, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch of Denver, who handled the trial of Timothy McVeigh, reinstated their case and ordered a scheduling conference.
The law seems clear enough. The Supreme Court has ruled that the right to possess arms can be subjected to some restrictions in so far as where they can be possessed. Not in schools, for example.
The Supreme Court has ruled that guns can be barred from "sensitive areas." Earlier decisions have determined that Post Offices are just such places.
Can anyone forget where the term "going postal" came from? "The expression derives from a series of incidents from 1983 onward in which United States Postal Service (USPS) workers shot and killed managers, fellow workers, and members of the police or general public in acts of mass murder. Between 1986 and 1997, more than forty people were gunned down by spree killers in at least twenty incidents of workplace rage," according to Wikipedia.
Part of the issue is that the gun prohibition includes post office parking lots.
Conflicts are bound to arise in mountainous areas where hunting is popular. There is no legal way to drive into such a parking lot with a gun, no matter how secure it is in a storage area and even dismantled.
Up to now federal courts have held that "de minimus" restrictions are legal. That means rules of "minor importance."
In the unlikely event the strict federal laws specifically preventing non-law enforcement officers from bringing guns into Post Offices is declared unconstitutional how many other such areas will also be open to guns?
Postal workers undoubtedly will protest. As the late Warren Zevon put it: "Send lawyers, guns and money."