Constitutional Protection of Rights Don’t End at Government Property Boundaries

Quote of the Day

Would an indictment for failing to submit to a full body cavity search when showing up at the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for a learner’s permit pass Fourth Amendment muster? Or could the United States charge the adherent of a non-favored religion with trespass for entering government property without offending the Free Exercise or Establishment Clauses? I think not.

Kathryn Kimball Mizelle
United States District Judge
January 12, 2024
United States of America v. Emmanuel Ayala

This decision came out of Tampa Florida. I am not a lawyer but I believe this decision means you can now carry a gun at Post Offices in the 11th Circuit. Furthermore, it seems to imply a postal employee cannot be fired for carrying a gun to work either.

FYI, Mizelle is a Trump appointed judge.


15 thoughts on “Constitutional Protection of Rights Don’t End at Government Property Boundaries

  1. Count I dismissed with prejudice.

    Though I would not carry in a Post Office just yet.

    • Read the linked ruling. Somehow, a US Post Office truck driver with a gun in a fanny pack was arrested for carrying.

      • Probably someone tipped them off, either because he slipped up and someone saw it, or overheard him talking, or knew he had a CCW license and assumed that was the reason for the fanny pack.

  2. I wish they had made the argument that he was allowed to carry because he had a CCW.
    The regulation usually cited as prohibiting carry in government buildings has an exception for those authorized by the federal or state government to carry a weapon – the reg was created in 1972 when CCWs didn’t exist and only cops were authorized to carry.
    I would argue that a CCW is authorization by the state to carry, especially in Florida where CCWs are issued by the state, not a city or county.
    The carry in post offices issue has come up before and lost every time. IIRC, there are 2 districts in the US where the government lost in the past so it is allowed. then they were smart enough to not appeal and avoided a wider judgement. This time? We’ll see…

    • Respectfully, you could argue that, and you’d be wrong. “Authorized” means different things in different contexts. Having a CCW license (and thus being “authorized to carry” in public) is very different than being employed as a police officer, sheriff/deputy, FBI agent, Fish & Wildlife officer, etc., for which carrying a firearm is necessary to perform the employee’s normal duties (and thus he/she is “authorized to carry” on government property and in government buildings, as well as in public).

      I’ve worked public sector, and the official “weapons free workplace” policy was that only those “authorized to carry” may do so in the office … with a clause specifically saying that, for the purposes of the policy, an employee licensed by the state to carry a concealed firearm is NOT “authorized to carry”.

      (In my “IANAL” opinion, that policy has no basis in state or federal law — in fact, state and federal law both arguably contradict it to the point that a visiting non-employee with a CHL who carries in the office is fine and can’t even be trespassed — so the policy should be invalid and unenforceable … but people have gotten fired for violating it.)

      But the long and short is, you shouldn’t assume a CCW license is authorization to carry in government buildings; it probably won’t play out that way. Whether it should be authorization or not is a separate argument.

      • If you go to the authorizing law for all of these “no guns in federal buildings” policies from 1972, it doesn’t make any distinction – it is the interpretation that says it is for LEOs only.
        Federal agency policy is supposed to only implement the law; it can’t expand the law, which is what the signs you refer to are doing (and we know that LOTS of federal regs in actuality expand the law).

  3. Workplaces are somewhat different than non-work related carry. And private property is exactly that.
    Much of this is just hysteria over nothing. And mostly communist related.
    Would one really give a crap if your mailman or UPS/FEDEX guy was carrying? With the crime rate being what it is? Who could blame them?
    If your ass-deep in concrete it would seem weird to have a gun on. (Not that you wouldn’t have a little one in your lunch box nearby. With a get-home kit in the truck.)
    No, this problem of gun carry was produced, hyped, propagandized, and litigated solely over the communist agenda.
    We don’t have a gun problem in America. We have a bitchy communist problem.
    Were soon to find out why one should be armed. Constantly. History and an invading army of L.I.’s (Low Impulser-s), is about to prove our forefathers righter than anything else ever could.
    From the Declaration of Independence.
    Grievance 25
    “He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.”
    The courts are deciding nothing.

    • “They will not accept the truth that if you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem.” — Col. Jeff Cooper [emphasis mine]

      The low-information assumption is that without guns, crime can’t happen and will go away. (Anyone who’s been mugged at knife-point can tell you otherwise — which is why they never get asked.)

      But the agitators behind the scenes are NOT “low-information” and know better. They know that when the good people are disarmed and rendered helpless, crime will increase. They know that when criminals are not incarcerated, but instead are released on recognizance and “no-cash bail”, crime will increase. They know that when public officials aren’t held accountable for corruption, corruption — and crime — will increase.

      All the anti-gun talking points are B.S., formulated by the behind-the-scenes agitators to be easily memorized and parroted by the low-information rubes. None of the claims are true, and since 1987 brought us Florida’s then-novel “shall issue” CCW law, none of their “Wild West vigilantism”, “shoot-outs over parking spaces”, and “blood in the streets” predictions have ever come true.

      Why, it’s almost like people who were peaceable and law-abiding before CCW, remained peaceable and law-abiding after! Who’da thunk it! (Oh, yeah, everyone who supported the change done thunk it.)

      Yet, the low-information rubes still believe the hype, and the agitators still agitate.

      And we have far too many judges who fall into one category or the other.

    • I don’t accept that private property owners have the unilateral right to deny my constitutional rights. What you have are two constitutional provisions that are in conflict-2A and 5A. So you have to draw a line somewhere. A good place to draw it, in my opinion, is private property owners that invite the public in (stores, restaurants, etc) have to honor the constitutional rights of the invitees. In actual private space (homes) the property owners have more discretion.

      In this case, the Post Office pretends to be private but it really is a public entity. Thus public building restrictions should apply. And those restrictions are required to be an actual sensitive place which should be narrowly construed. A good metric would be places where law enforcement is restricted, like prisons.

      • The Ayala ruling dives into the topic of how sensitive places can be defined. Believe it or not, Maryland and Delaware.

      • The conflict between 2A and 5A your talking about, isn’t.
        As 2A and 5A only constrain government. They are not rights. They are government prohibitions. Keeping government from violating preexisting rights. Constraining congress and government from writing laws.
        They don’t tell anyone what they can and can’t allow on their own private property. Because no one can make going on and off private property mandatory like the government can.
        Now when a business assumes the roll of government? As in contracting to provide services? That’s acting in place of government. Or as a government entity.
        The government can’t call Twitter and have something taken down. That’s free speech. But if Twitter doesn’t want the word F–K used on their system? That’s up to them. You can go somewhere else.
        And we really don’t want it any other way.

        • The 5A didn’t stop the government from passing public accommodation laws as part of the Civil Rights Act. You may object to this as well but it is settled law.
          The perfect is the enemy of the good enough.

    • “Would one really give a crap if your mailman or UPS/FEDEX guy was carrying?”

      It was too long ago to remember exactly, but IIRC there was a provision in USPS documents (regulations? doctrine? IDK) allowing rural mail carriers to be armed. I do remember back then – late ’70s to late ’80s- the carrier who delivered to our very rural farm always had a revolver on her hip. She drove her POV, not a USPS-issued vehicle, no idea if that affected the situation.

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