10th Circuit Appeals Court: Gun Rights Cause “Direct Risk” to Others

The Shooter’s Log regrets that we have to inform our readers of yet another adverse gun-rights ruling, this time from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Bonidy v. United States Postal Service case.

Tab Bonidy recently lost an appeal of his gun-carry case at the 10th Circuit Court. Of the ruling, he said, “Yes, it is too bad about the decision. I am quite surprised we lost the parking lot. It just seems so natural to be able to lock your gun in your vehicle to go in and get your mail.” Bonidy is owner of TAB Associates, Inc., an architectural firm based in Edwards, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Tab Bonidy.

In Bonidy, the 10th Circuit held that the Second Amendment does not (yet) protect gun rights outside the home because the right to bear arms has not been extended to “government buildings,” such as in this case, government buildings, including the government-owned parking lot connected to the U.S. Post Office.

A Colorado man, Tab Bonidy, and the National Association for Gun Rights were the plaintiffs suing the U.S. Post Office. At the district court, level, they won access to the parking lot. That decision is here.

Bonidy, who is licensed to carry a handgun in Colorado and regularly carries a handgun for self-defense, must drive to Avon, Colorado to collect his mail, but he is barred by federal regulation from carrying a firearm, or parking his vehicle if it contains a firearm, in the USPS lot.

In mid-2010, Bonidy had asked that the regulation be withdrawn and USPS refused. Bonidy and the National Association for Gun Rights filed their lawsuit in October 2010. The defendants were the United States Postal Service; John Potter, Postmaster General; and Steve Ruehle, postmaster in Avon, Colorado.

In a Colorado federal district court in mid-2013, Judge Richard Matsch upheld the postal ban for the post office lobby (where patrons access their mail boxes), ruling it to be among Heller’s “sensitive places.” But he struck the rule that bars firearms in Postal Service parking lots as unconstitutional.

The district court held, “openly carrying a firearm outside the home is a liberty protected by the Second Amendment [and the] parking lot adjacent to [a local Post Office] is not a sensitive place [such that] an absolute ban on firearms is substantially related to [Defendants’] important public safety objective.” Both parties appealed to the 10th Circuit: USPS on the parking lot decision and Bonidy on the Post Office building section. Circuit Judges David M. Ebel and Gregory A. Phillips of the 10th Circuit ruled for USPS in both cases: We… conclude that the regulation is constitutional as to all USPS property at issue in this case, including the Avon Post Office parking lot. Alternatively, even if we were to conclude that the parking lot did not qualify as a “government building,” we would uphold this regulation as constitutional as applied to the parking lot under independent intermediate scrutiny. Most worrisome is this part of the decision: The risk inherent in firearms and other weapons distinguishes the Second Amendment right from other fundamental rights that have been held to be evaluated under a strict scrutiny test, such as the right to marry and the right to be free from viewpoint discrimination, which can be exercised without creating a direct risk to others. Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich dissented in part: “Indeed, the tenor of the majority’s analysis would seem to give the government free rein to restrict Second Amendment rights based on little more than showing that it owns the property at issue. At the very least, intermediate scrutiny demands more.”

Give us your ruling on the 10th Circuit’s decision: Is it inherently more dangerous to exercise your firearms rights than other Constitutional protections?

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Comments (22)

    1. The government is owned by the people( the voters) as well as the USPS and all federal buildings right up to the White house . The politicians think they own these buildings but they need to be reminded who is the boss . The 2nd amendment is very clear as to what it means as well as the 1st and all other amendments to OUR CONSTITUTION They work for us, remind all of your elected officials who they work for,including the supreme court

  1. As an active participant in the Armed Civil Disobedience taking place in Kommiecticut (and many other states as well), I no longer refer to myself as a “law abiding” citizen. I am now a felon in the eyes of the law, known as a “peaceable” citizen, not looking to do harm to anyone, unless I am required to defend myself. That said, I no longer respect ANY “Gun Free Killing Zone” and carry wherever I please…..including USPS facilities. If there is no metal detector at the door, your sign barring firearms is as meaningless to me as it is to the criminals. If there is a detector, I won’t go in unless there is armed security to back it up.

    So keep passing your unconstitutional and intolerable acts. Keep ruling in an activist manner against The Constitution and rights of the people. I and my fellow Patriots will ignore it rendering it NULL & VOID, and go on in our lives unnoticed. If I have to defend myself in one of these places, then I will suffer the “consequences”, but at least I will have a chance to live to tell the tale.

  2. We will have our rights only when we use our 2nd Amendment

    right to take them.

    Wake up the Government is your enemy.

  3. Not here n Missouri ! some states are anti gun but those who rule on the law either carry a gun themselves or have body guards… their idea is that they can do anything but we can’t.

    1. The same goes for Virginia. We fight on every front and never . . never say the word surrender.

      I was born in New York state, but I left when I was 19 and never looked back. I am a southerner and the South’s gonna rise again!

  4. The court’s reasoning is flawed. A person who is exercising his/her 2d. amendment rights must do so in a lawful manner. For this reason, the lawful exercise of 2d amendment rights does not present any greater risk to the public than, say a person exercising his/her 1st Amendment speech rights. It is the criminal’s use of a firearm outside the bounds of the 2d. amendment that presents the risk. Unfortunately, most gun control efforts today target the lawful citizen’s use for restriction, hoping somehow that the criminal’s unlawful use will be reeled in as well.

  5. If we can’t carry on the property then where are the armed guards to protect the people. do the postal workers carry? are they going to protect the people ? A lot of gun free zones are targets for criminals and nuts !

    1. David, you are right. Gun free zones actually tell the criiminals that there is no one inside that can hurt them which is an open invitation for them to do anything they want! If the gun free zone has armed guards or police inside, I would gladly leave my gun in the car,. If not, they are not allowing me to defend myself in case of attack and that is wrong!

    2. not leave gun in car IF U PARK SAID CAR IN USPS LOT … park at curb or across the street at curb or a lot owned by somebody else, ok … or, if I were this man, ditch his USPS lobby box and rent one at a place such as a UPS Store, or other similar place with fewer 2A headaches

    3. This is exactly what I do when I have to go to a Federal building of any kind. I park somewhere not on Federal land, lock my handguns up in a bolted down lock box and go do my business with them. Luckily, I rarely have to set foot on federally controlled land/buildings.

    4. Agreed. Get a box at the UPS store. Why give the USPS any more money than you have to. These laws were created after they treated some of their workers so bad they lost it and “went postal.” As if a sign would stop an active shooter. It’s just more stupid government control.

  6. I think at some point, each individual has to make a decision as to whether they actually care or not what other people think about exercising a basic human right.

    My right to self-defense exists always and in any place that I happen to be except in those rare places where the government is providing armed security on my behalf (court houses, airports…)

    The court’s opinion on the Second Amendment is irrelevant because my rights exist separate and apart from any piece of paper or any judge’s opinion regarding them.

    Therefore, except as noted above, as to any edict or ruling regarding where I may and may not carry, I will not comply.


    1. I uderstand that the FBI were called in because the pastor was a politican and they wanted to make sure it was not an assination of the pastor where others just got in the way.

  8. As time goes on and more and more fascist minded individuals are placed on Federal courts around the country, the 2nd A will be degraded over time by rulings such as this one. Because the 2nd A is not about hunting or sporting purposes as some continue to push, it is about the citizens basic right to take up arms against an abusive Federal government. I can see no way beyond a series of article 5 amendments to the Constitution to cut the US Federal government down by 95% and enshrine a series of absolute shackles on its power to make new laws. Read Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments. Making law by endless bureaucratic fiat rules insulates the cowardly house of representatives and the equally spineless senate from the evils of out of control government. They simply say “Hey, its not us doing this it’s that rascally, IRS.” I would add an amendment to the list Mark Levin proposes: No non-elected person can write a new law or regulation and every change, even a comma inserted, must be voted in by a two thirds majority in both houses. All work related to Federal laws must be done by elected representatives of the people. No staffers, no lobbyists, no advisers, etc. The collection of jokers in Washington have only one talent: getting elected.

  9. Get ready for it. This is how we will lose the 2d. Amendment. The courts will twist it’s interpretation beyond all recognition.

    1. This is another reason everyone needs to get out and vote for whomever the Republican nominee is – 2016 is an ANYONE but a liberal election even if you don’t agree with everything they say, you know you don’t agree with anything the liberals are and will be pushing – people need to get of their assess this time and make sure the Dems don’t win no matter how hard it might be to swallow on some points – NOT voting for the Rep means you ARE voting for the Dem – look how well that worked out the last two presidential elections – vote to save the country from the mental illness known as progressivism – any other issue is something to slap the pols about AFTER we keep the left wingnuts out first – deal with the gaping head wound to the country first, worry about the broken limbs afterward

    2. Amen, Archangel.

      We have to fight on every front, every venue, every opportunity.

      We will either overcome or die on out feet. No going out on my knees for me.

    3. Agree, Archangel, but we also have to press our friends, relatives, neighbors, barbers, grocers, etc. to vote for the Republican candidate. The next president will most likely be selecting two, three, maybe even four Supreme Court justices. We absolutely MUST get a Republican president elected to ensure that the Supreme Court stays Conservative to protect, and maybe even expand, our 2nd Amendment rights.

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