Carry in not-posted, possibly federal buildings?

Carry in not-posted, possibly federal buildings?

This is a discussion on Carry in not-posted, possibly federal buildings? within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have read the federal laws about not carrying in federal buildings, (covered in the Handgunlaw.us USA pdf , though I've read it directly from ...

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Thread: Carry in not-posted, possibly federal buildings?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Carry in not-posted, possibly federal buildings?

    I have read the federal laws about not carrying in federal buildings, (covered in the Handgunlaw.us USA pdf, though I've read it directly from the gov't previously), and also that it's only illegal if EDIT: you can't be convicted unless the building has signs posted visibly at all public entrances.

    Generally I'm going to err on the side of caution, but let's say I don't realize I'm in a federally-owned building, and no notice is posted at public entrances. I should be OK, right? I know y'all are mostly not gun lawyers, and I won't take anyone's word as gospel, just wondering. Referrals to gun-friendly lawyers willing to actually give advice on the topic are welcome.
    Last edited by brocktice; September 14th, 2013 at 08:24 AM.


  2. #2
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    I can only speak for me. I know when I am in a federal building and I am unarmed when in a federal building. When a rural post office rents space that becomes a post office and I do not carry. The statement I should be OK worries me. The last place I want to get caught carrying is a federal building a courthouse or post office.

    If and when you get caught you shed an unfavorable light on all of us that carry.

    Good Luck

    Bill
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  3. #3
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    (h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e), as the case may be.
    Would you technically be within the letter of the law? Looks that way.

    If caught, would they arrest and prosecute? Very possible.

    Would you be convicted? Probably not.

    Would I want to be the test case that sets the precedent? Definitely not.

    edit: upon re-reading the law, it looks like every single pocket knife I own would land me in prison if carried into a federal building (limit is 2.5").

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    I can actually related to your question a bit. I personally know of a Federal bldg which could readily be mistaken
    for property owned by the state, and mistakenly thought to be part of a state U. Of course, carrying into such would also
    be forbidden. I do know that the Federal bldg I have in mind does not presently have the usual notice on the door. My hunch,
    the management and employees are gun friendly and the management considers the signs unsightly. Concealed means concealed etc.

    Here's the thing, if you aren't 100% certain of the situation you have some choices.

    1) Leave it in the car
    2) Make sure it is well concealed and no one
    finds out. Note, I'm not saying break the law. You described a situation where you are uncertain.

    3) Go to a receptionist and ask if the suite of offices are Federal property. Really, once you get an
    affirmative answer to that it shouldn't much matter any longer whether you can see the sign or not; it is illegal, so don't do it.

    If I were in your shoes I'd just walk in sans weapon and inquire if the building is Federal or if the offices are Federal.

    Oh, you really ought to get a pretty good guess just by knowing what kind of work is being done inside and from the nature of the reason why you are going there.
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    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
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    Some Federal Buildings do not post signs on entry doors. Some have tiny signs far inside the building.
    If you get arrested for possession in a fed building, you probably WILL be prosecuted in a fed court and do time in a federal prison.

    When I was a fairly new LEO (decades ago) one of our deputies arrested a man who stole $16. worth of property from a building that was renting space to the USPS, on a different level. The last I heard, he had served 12 years in a federal pen and had recently been denied parole.

    He wasn't even armed. The Feds can do what they want.... who is there to complain to?
    Once you are in the 'System', anything can happen. If you go to court, you get "LAW", not Justice.

    If the County's PA has political ambitions (most do) your life 'could' easily be ruined over such a small matter.
    That is just one of countless 'injustice' stories I am aware of.
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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Dan060's Avatar
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    Personally,there is not even a slight chance i would risk it.Taking into consideration what could happen,no thanks.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    The statement I should be OK worries me.
    ...
    If and when you get caught you shed an unfavorable light on all of us that carry.
    I'm not planning on carrying into any federally-owned buildings. Once or twice there have been situations where I didn't realize something was a federal building (before I ever owned any guns) or didn't know who owned it. I like the suggestion of asking a receptionist, actually, while leaving it in the car. EDIT: I was also thinking of a ton of places I've been in Northern Virginia, just outside of DC, where there are a lot of federal offices in buildings that appear to be privately owned and have a mix of federal and non-federal tenants. Thankfully I don't live in that area, I imagine it would cause me quite a lot of stress to carry there all the time.

    From some of the more helpful responses it sounds like 'OK' is relative (i.e. arrested, prosecuted, but not convicted -- pretty bad outcome). I appreciate the example from patri0t -- it sounds like it could turn out a lot worse. I also am now a bit concerned about my multi-tools, many of them having blades over the length limit!

    Ultimately I guess it's good to know that the law is there just in case they don't post properly, but I'm certainly not going to count on it. I'll take your example and be more rigorous about knowing before I go somewhere to the best of my ability.

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    3) Go to a receptionist and ask if the suite of offices are Federal property. Really, once you get an
    affirmative answer to that it shouldn't much matter any longer whether you can see the sign or not; it is illegal, so don't do it.
    Yes, once you are 'otherwise notified' the protection of that exemption disappears. Technically, I guess, it's illegal the whole time, you just supposedly can't be convicted, per the statute.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patri0t View Post
    Some Federal Buildings do not post signs on entry doors. Some have tiny signs far inside the building.
    Yes I have known about post office carry since before I got my CHL and avoided carrying there, but I noticed that our local post offices only do the tiny sign on an obscure bulletin board somewhere in the building. Given how touchy they are about guns as an entity, you'd think they'd post them on the doors, clearly marked.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    I hate to tell you what happened to my wife once. She put her purse through (Fed Bldg) and they saw a gun shape. They didn't freak too bad. called her aside, emptied it and found her gun shaped cigarette lighter. They all laughed, she told them just toss it in trash i paid a buck 30 for it.

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    You know you can be right and still lose, right?
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  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array brocktice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farsidefan1 View Post
    You know you can be right and still lose, right?
    Yes. Part of me couldn't believe what I was reading in that statute, I kind of wanted some confirmation I wasn't reading it wrong. That said, I still would not count on it.

  13. #13
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    And all of this discussion just points out, again, that the biggest infringer of the 2A is the federal government.

    Federal buildings and offices are the PEOPLE's buldings and offices. Without some articulated reason for limiting citizen's rights (prisons, courtrooms) no federal facilities should be outright banned.

    Just my two pesos.
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    The only common sense gun legislation was written about 224 years ago.

    I carry always not because I go places trouble is likely, but because trouble has a habit of not staying in its assigned zone.

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