I am going through the latest version of Jon Gutmacher’s Florida Firearms -Laws, Use and Ownership, and I come up with a new stumbling block I was not aware of.
PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE – ADDENDUM: An interesting question came up after this chapter was completed, and this seemed to be the best spot to add it. What if you had a weapon or firearm legally with a CWL, but the location (like Disney) had a “No Weapons” policy? Are you still at a “place where you have a right to be”? My answer is “yes”, on the same basis I spoke about in “trespass” issues. First, you are not committing any criminal conduct. Second, until and unless you are told to leave, you are still an invitee on the premises. However, if you are told to leave, you must. You should still have a “right to be” on the property while you were leaving. Again, my opinion as no case law. However, what if you are now in your vehicle in a post office parking lot, waiting for the wife to come back to the car after picking up stamps, and somebody tries to “jack” you? Well, the Tenth Federal Circuit in Bonidy v. United States Postal Service, 790 F.3d 1121 (10th Cir. 2015), has turned that question on its head, and totally screwed up common sense and the Second Amendment by holding that federal law makes it a crime to have a weapon in a post office parking lot regardless of state law. So, if you are suddenly attacked while sitting in your vehicle at a post office parking lot, with your firearm legally in the vehicle pursuant to Florida law – are you still in a place where you have a right to be? In fact, aren’t you also “engaged in criminal activity”?
There was a prior court decision which made having a firearm in the parking lot an issue only if you were working for the Post office and only if you were parked in the secure area for employees. Now we are all screwed equally and I was not aware of it. Imagine how many people have gone to the post office, left their guns in the cars thinking they were legal but actually a mouse hiccup’s away from being felons?
We are lucky we have people like Jon Gutmacher and Andrew Branca who take their time to explain the laws and the legal cases (not necessarily the same) but it is up to you to stay current.
That thing about being responsible again. Damn it!
PS: Good news. You can do most of the postal stuff online so you have almost no need to be disarmed to use the mail service.
6 thoughts on “Why Gun Training has to include the legal stuff.”
I’ve known this for a long time, and it’s a PITA. You can’t even drive up to a dropoff box if it’s on Postal Service property.
Note, however, if a Post Office is in a strip mall, it is legal to carry and have your weapon in all parts except inside the actual post office.
Of the few who probably know about this, I’d wager fewer than 0.01% of them actually honor it, going instead with the “piss off” approach.
I’d heard of it.
But as I understand Federal court rulings, that decision that reverses an earlier one only applies in the 10th Circuit and the prior ruling still applies in all the others.
But don’t trust me on that, ask a law shark that is conversant with how the Fedz do their business.
Like Gutmacher says, you don’t know what the courts will do nor be the test case.
You’re right of course about that, but if the alternative is getting murdered?
I happen to respect Gutmacher and Branca for their expertise in defining and interpreting the specific meaning of laws written in the quaint language of lawyers into the common English used by everyday people.
Their ilk’s problems is that their advice so often appears to be that “It’s almost too dangerous to defend yourself, carry concealed, etc. because something might go wrong in court (if you are actually charged and then actually go to trial) so don’t do it!”
Okay, so I guess since that risk is so great, I’m better served by taking the less legally risky – to me – way of getting done in by a criminal. At least I’ll never be charged with carrying a weapon ‘illegally’ or improperly defending myself. If I’m still alive. /sarc
One makes one’s choices and lives with them.
The only advice I can give is you plan according to your situation till the legal screw up can get fixed..
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