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View Full Version : What about a firearm locked in a vehicle at a VA medical facility?


GHF
May 8, 2010, 04:45 AM
I have seen numerous discussions about guns, vehicles, and the post office.

As a 30% service-connected vet, I go to the VA clinic at least twice a year. I have just installed a COM safe for both my vehicles, and my next appointment is next week. Where I would park has public access, and I laff at the no gun signs on the building doors.

Does anybody have a clear idea, and knows of and about the legal rules covering, dealing with my packing and locking my Beretta in the car while I am at the facility?

wally626
May 8, 2010, 09:37 AM
i am fairly certain that as long as the lot is public, there is no issue storing your gun in the vehicle. Some federal sites do have access gates with posted signs where you can not bring the gun, but as long as you do not go threw a posted gate you are fine.

44 AMP
May 8, 2010, 10:46 AM
IF you are at a facility owned by, or leased by, the Fed govt, the parking lot is Fed property, fenced and gated, or not.

This is fact. I know of a case (personal knowledge) where an individual took a gun into the parking lot of a building leased as a training facility by the Fed, and was charged, and convicted, of having the gun on Fed property. The lot has no fence, no gate, no guards. Total public access. Its next door to a raquet club/gym. But its still Fed property as far as the law is concerned. Don't do it.

If it is that critical that you have the gun for your trip, park somewhere else. IF you take a gun (even locked in a car safe) onto their property and get caught, it will not go well. At the least, you will be looking at fines, legal fees, the loss of your right to own a firearm (ever again), and possibly some jail time. Plus the record of conviction won't do you any good if you need to look for a job, either. Not a good idea.

Parking a block away is better. Hell, parking on the other side of town and taking a taxi is better than getting caught with a gun on Fed property. Way better.

NavyLT
May 8, 2010, 10:59 AM
No sign = no conviction. It's right in the statute:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000930----000-.html

(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

(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.

but as long as you do not go threw a posted gate you are fine.

It doesn't necessarily have to be fenced/gated, but it does have to be posted. No sign = you are OK.

It depends upon the administrator of the facility. Some will post the parking lots and some won't.

44 AMP
May 9, 2010, 11:35 AM
And I certainly wouldn't want to have to try.

The facility involved in the incident I mentioned had posted signs at the building entrance. But not at the parking lot entrances. I believe that it was the interpretation of the court that this complied with the law. Also, since in the incident the charged individual was also brandishing and threatening with the weapon, I don't think they were too inclined to treat it the same as just having the gun in a locked compartment in a vehicle.

However, I do believe they could apply the law just the same.

NavyLT
May 9, 2010, 11:58 AM
So, then, carrying the parking lot logic to a National Park Visitor's center. The visitor's center is posted now in accordance with 18 USC 930 - so does that make the parking lot to the visitor's center off limits now? And actually, wouldn't that make the entire National Park off limits again? The National Park is Federal property that is surrounding the Federal facilities located within the park.

GHF
May 9, 2010, 12:42 PM
According to Section G:

(1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.

In short, stay out of the building.

Head-Space
May 16, 2010, 02:51 AM
Here's the LAW and the "policy" of the local VA Medical Center in my area.

You are subject to search on VA premises, your packages, briefcase, packs, bags. No probable cause is required.

Guns, knives, and weapons are prohibited INSIDE VA medical facilities. You may lawfully secure knives, non-firearms in your vehicle.

Possession of firearms on VA property is unlawful. It's FEDERAL LAW. You can't lawfully secure one in a vehicle.

VEHICLE searches require "probable cause."

OK, that's the LAW.

The "policy" I get from VA Med. Center police is that they readily recognize that you may have a CCW and a compelling need (and lawful right off campus) to have a firearm for defense.

If the gun is secured in the vehicle, AND you're not "being a jerk" the VA is not too concerned about UNLOADED guns locked in the vehicle.

LOCKED, UNLOADED, out of view.

NOT stashed in a gun case behind the seat in the king cab!

Local VA police appreciate that many Veterans travel in excess of 100 miles to meet VA medical appts. During that travel, the veteran has a right to armed self-defense.

VA is not motivated to "crack down" or otherwise search your vehicle, so long as you're behaving yourself.

-- And the officer on the phone added, "and we give veterans a LOT of slack when it comes to behaviors."

So, it's unlawful.

You won't have your vehicle searched without probable cause. (Military bases need no probable cause for vehicle search.)

Keep it locked, unloaded, secured, out of sight. Behave yourself. Helps if you have a CCW.

It's unlawful, but the VA is not motivated to search, nor to prosecute. Not in this particular facility. You can call on the phone and get a "policy" statement from your VA facility.

GHF
May 16, 2010, 12:17 PM
Head-Space said:

Here's the LAW and the "policy" of the local VA Medical Center in my area.

You are subject to search on VA premises, your packages, briefcase, packs, bags. No probable cause is required.

Guns, knives, and weapons are prohibited INSIDE VA medical facilities. You may lawfully secure knives, non-firearms in your vehicle.

Possession of firearms on VA property is unlawful. It's FEDERAL LAW. You can't lawfully secure one in a vehicle.

VEHICLE searches require "probable cause."

OK, that's the LAW.

The "policy" I get from VA Med. Center police is that they readily recognize that you may have a CCW and a compelling need (and lawful right off campus) to have a firearm for defense.

If the gun is secured in the vehicle, AND you're not "being a jerk" the VA is not too concerned about UNLOADED guns locked in the vehicle.

LOCKED, UNLOADED, out of view.

NOT stashed in a gun case behind the seat in the king cab!

Local VA police appreciate that many Veterans travel in excess of 100 miles to meet VA medical appts. During that travel, the veteran has a right to armed self-defense.

VA is not motivated to "crack down" or otherwise search your vehicle, so long as you're behaving yourself.

-- And the officer on the phone added, "and we give veterans a LOT of slack when it comes to behaviors."

So, it's unlawful.

You won't have your vehicle searched without probable cause. (Military bases need no probable cause for vehicle search.)

Keep it locked, unloaded, secured, out of sight. Behave yourself. Helps if you have a CCW.

It's unlawful, but the VA is not motivated to search, nor to prosecute. Not in this particular facility. You can call on the phone and get a "policy" statement from your VA facility.

Now I look at the law, as indicated at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000930----000-.html

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 44 > § 930
§ 930. Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities

(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
(b) Whoever, with intent that a firearm or other dangerous weapon be used in the commission of a crime, knowingly possesses or causes to be present such firearm or dangerous weapon in a Federal facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(c) A person who kills any person in the course of a violation of subsection (a) or (b), or in the course of an attack on a Federal facility involving the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or attempts or conspires to do such an act, shall be punished as provided in sections 1111, 1112, 1113, and 1117.
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
(1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;
(2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or
(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
(e)
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal court facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to conduct which is described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (d).
(f) Nothing in this section limits the power of a court of the United States to punish for contempt or to promulgate rules or orders regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the possession of weapons within any building housing such court or any of its proceedings, or upon any grounds appurtenant to such building.
(g) As used in this section:
(1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.
(2) The term “dangerous weapon” means a weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 21/2 inches in length.
(3) .........
(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. I see the "policy" here as badly stated, but legally correct. I see the person you talked to saying, if we don't see it, it does not constitute activity under section b. That makes sense, since as soon as the threat is possible, action should be taken.

Since I have no intention of getting out of the vehicle with the weapon, and the storage/retrieval from/to my IWB holster is done inside the vehicle while sitting in the driver's seat, my behavior would be legal and permissible. The unloaded being part of the situation mistifies me, however. What constitutes unloaded, especially magazine-fed semi-autos.

I have no intention of leaving my vehicle with my weapon in my possession in the parking lot - unless there is a Major Hasan/Mumbai wanna be doing their thing where I can see them. Then I am going to attack to save my brethern in arms....

RangerHAAF
May 23, 2010, 11:18 PM
According to the posted signs at the local VA center here in GA weapons cannot be brought inside of the facility and the policy is reiterated at the entrance with metal detectors. There are no signs posted in the parking lot prohibiting them. I carry an AK-47 in a rifle rack in my truck but I also have 2% tint on my windows. So IMO it's nobody's business what's in my vehicle, also by the same token a business or governmental entity has the right to prohibit guns. Such things are policy considerations that vary with each administration.

Just like gun policies on military bases. 2-3 years ago I clearly couldn't bring one on Ft. Benning but just last year at about this time I went on post with no queries about about the weapons that were in my vehicle and all warning signs had been removed.

NavyLT
May 24, 2010, 09:42 AM
also by the same token a business or governmental entity has the right to prohibit guns.

I am afraid I must strongly disagree with the bold and undlerlined part above. It goes directly against the 2nd amendment, especially when we are discussing the Federal government.

cannonfire
May 24, 2010, 01:52 PM
Ranger,

An AK-47 in a gun rack? I'm sorry but I'd get a kick out of seeing that. I would think of only an Islamic Fundamentalist Redneck having that! haha

I was going to mention your tint, but that is not the topic of the subject.

I'm assuming that since you live in Decatur you go to the normal Atlanta VA, as do I, but where are there metal detectors, I have never seen them at the VAMC. Not calling you out, just curious.

ClydeFrog
May 24, 2010, 09:57 PM
As a former 085/security guard(temp; NTE; full time) in the US Dept of Veterans Affairs www.VA.gov I can tell you first-hand the VA law enforcement offices are very strict and I would not carry or secure any firearms, chemical agents, EDWs(Tasers) or knives/edged weapons while on VAMC property.
You may be a veteran or have strong 2A views but it's US law. 083 police officers or 1800 series criminal investigators(special agents; IG's office) DO NOT care or are concerned with your political beliefs. They are very concerned about firearms, ammunition, bombs, razors, box-cutters etc. The VA police, security guards and IG investigators deal with veterans, visitors, VA employees and vendors-contractors who have guns, drugs, alcohol, etc. Many veterans have serious mental health, substance abuse and anger mgmt/PTSD problems.
I saw many veterans on 5-10 different medications. Is that who you want carrying a loaded weapon in a crowded medical center?
When I worked in the VA in the late 1990s, veterans & other sworn LE could secure weapons in the VA police office. Most 083 police officers were unarmed by policy and LE/security issues were not considered important.
Now in 2010, after 9-11-2001, many things are different. More VA officers are armed, fewer 085 security are full time and weapons/guns are not allowed.

It's not a perfect system but it's not a perfect world.

10-96
May 25, 2010, 03:50 AM
I'm 99.999% certain that all of us 083 series guys are armed. We have provisions for HR218. And the current interpretation of the law is the law of the land on property- our decisions are left to policies mandated by C.O. and our supervision. Here, with respect to keeping me out of possible trouble with discussing policies and such without authorization and concurance from my powers that be- we enjoy a very broad acceptance of situational law enforcement. A very large portion of our visitors and Veterans are farmers, ranchers, feedlot hands, ranch hands, etc. Unofficially- our stance is "Out of sight- out of mind" in the parking lots. And, it is my assumption, that until we post signage someplace further out than the entrances of the bldgs- I don't see any change to that. But, that is just my facility. Would I be well received to gain employment at Atlanta, Chicago, Walla Walla, OKC? I doubt it.

TexasJustice7
May 10, 2011, 07:19 AM
I have a Texas CCW Permit and when I go onto VA property no gun signs are posted, so I do not carry. But just today I was informed by a police officer friend of mine that at police academy there was a recent court case, he thinks federal that ruled it legal to have gun in vehicle. I don't believe this
unless I can find it in the statutes. I am a 100 % disabled vet, and travel
through some dangerous areas to get there, so I don't stop anywhere. I have got an attorney retained that if I am ever a crime victim on VA property I intend to file suit against the VA since when the signs go up
I consider them responsible for my security and my property while at
their facility. I refuse to patronize any private business with no gun
signs. Does anyone know of a recent federal case ruling regarding
the VA. From what I read here, one has to disarm themselves for
the convenience of the criminals, and to me that makes the VA liable
for any crime committed on their proeprty.

rshanneck2002
May 10, 2011, 10:48 AM
Clyde Frog you are entirely correct, i worked for the VA for 37 yrs and for the last 8 yrs all officers are armed and a sign posted at the front gate as you pull in, NO WEAPONS of any kind are permitted. 10 yrs ago even, i have seen them confiscated and the vet would have to go to court usally paying a fine and maybe get the weapon back. Im a very firm believer in the 2nd ad and also a VN vet. At the VA i worked at i have seen vets draw pistols on each other drunk as all get out.,this being said a crook is a crook. the VA i worked at the officers werent even armed until about 8 to 10 yrs ago.,now cameras everywhere and VA Police fully armed,why? stop by your local VA in chi-town, or Detroit or Baltimore and sit in there lobby for 6 hrs., you will know by that time why anything is banned. Its one of those dirty little things your gov dosnt like to talk about and i speak as a Vet who did time in the 4th ID 38 yrs ago thank you but no thanks i dont want no one packing in the hospital, trunk or otherwise, hell we had a guy kill himself in one of our bathrooms,blew his head off with a 45 auto,now imagine if he had turned that pistol on the crowd right outside the door in the main lobby of my hospital. If anything they need much more security. Take a few vets to a morgue a few times and you will get my drift.Can they totally secure them? i seriously doubt it.

Rifleman1776
May 10, 2011, 02:22 PM
I ride the DAV van to a VA hospital about six times a year and have for more than ten years. I always have a belt sheath for my folding pocket knife. It is in plain view. Never have I been stopped or questioned.
Just stating my experience. Past does not prove the future. Can't say it won't cause a kerflufel some day but I'm not concerned.

MLeake
May 10, 2011, 03:06 PM
The thing is, even if the police at the VA are generally friendly to the "out of sight, out of mind, leave it in the vehicle" theory, all it takes is one officer who didn't get the memo....

rshanneck2002
May 10, 2011, 03:43 PM
If you get stopped and searched(which they can at any time you enter federal property,posted everywhere)and they come across anything over a legal 3 in blade they can charge you.As an employee i asked this question of one of our officers 6 yrs ago when it really started heating up over the issue. In the end it depends what cop you run into,just like the regular streets., but they can and do arrest people over this issue daily on federal property. Ive seen them go after employees and patients over this issue. Hell i could write a book about it over the yrs., i would have to change the names to protect the guilty. If they want your butt they will get your butt,take your chances.,me im retired and now just a patient there, but i sure know how they operate inside and out. And believe me when i say this,they have thousands of lawyers and you get just one,unless your OJ and got millions and can afford the dream team. IM not. the next time you sit in their lobbys take a good good look around,first see if you can spot the cameras?

hermannr
May 10, 2011, 03:57 PM
If you will read 930 (d)(exemptions....(3) "hunting or other lawful purpose".

Your friend that was convicted had poor representaion at his trial. Self defence is a lawful purpose.

If you are carrying legally in the state, you should not be convicted under 18 USC 44.930.

There is an absolute ban on Federal Court ROOM's and a few other places in a Federal court house (different section) but if someone would be ready to go through proper appeals, the law is clear to me.

A second point is that in 930 specifically uses the word "IN". When you are parking you are not "IN" a federal facility. See (g)(1) for the definition of a federal facility. It means only a building, or part of a building...

TexasJustice7
May 18, 2011, 07:16 AM
The fact that the statute referenced in 930 uses the word "IN" I would think makes no difference, if the sign is posted at the entrance to the VA parking area, where all vehicles come in at this particular VA facility. So I doubt the
statute using the word "IN" would provide an adequate defense in court.
If however I should become a crime victim anywhere on VA property after I come in, I will photograph this sign, and use it in a lawsuit to recover damages from the VA for failure to provide adequate security on property
under their control and on which they deliverately make law abiding citisens
be disarmed. I will not break the law by igonoring the sign.

brickeyee
May 18, 2011, 03:55 PM
Self defence is a lawful purpose.

Wrong.

The phrase is intended to cover security the VA might hire or have, and does not grant a license to violate federal law.

Try it at a post office and see how that goes for you.


I will photograph this sign, and use it in a lawsuit to recover damages from the VA for failure to provide adequate security on property

And you will promptly lose unless you can prove that the danger was well beyond normal and that VA was aware of the danger.

You could get hit by lightning, you want to sue the VA because 'Mother Nature' decided your time was up?

Spats McGee
May 18, 2011, 04:29 PM
I'm struck by a couple of squirrelly things here. First:
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both. . . . .

(e)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal court facility, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to conduct which is described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (d). . . . .

(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.

18 U.S.C.A. § 930 (West)(emphasis suppplied)
If someone has read this thread, do they not now have "actual notice" of subsections (a) and (e)? I see no requirement that the notice come from a sign posted at the specific facility.

Second:
(d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to-- . . . .

(3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes. . . . .

(g) As used in this section:
(1) The term “Federal facility” means a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.

18 U.S.C.A. § 930 (West)(empasis supplied)
Does it strike anyone else as odd that the drafters considered the possibility that someone might be hunting inside a federal building?:p

Aguila Blanca
May 18, 2011, 04:57 PM
I go to the local VA hospital.

A couple of years ago I had this discussion with a captain on the VA police force at the "facility." Two (or three) years ago he said unloaded, locked in the car was okay but don't bring it into the building. (I knew that.)

Fast forward to somewhere between six months and a year ago, and new signs appeared at every driveway entrance to the property, with the gun in a red circle & slash, and the standard language from the law. On my last visit I stopped by the campus police office and had the same conversation. This time the OD happened to be in a conversation with the commanding officer, which they were willing to interrupt for my question. And the answer was -- the entire property, including the parking lot, is the "facility." Absent some sort of probable cause they won't search a visitor's vehicle, but one cannot predict when Murphy might create some situation that might give rise to a semblance of probable cause. If they find a gun in a vehicle anywhere on the property, they will arrest and they will prosecute.

That was the official answer. Personally, I am of the opinion that lawful carry for self defense by a holder of a carry permit (in states where such is required) should satisfy the language in the law about "other lawful purposes," but the campus cop chief didn't see it that way and clearly did not want to be asked to think about it. In his mind it's black-and-white: gun=arrest. And since I am unwilling to become the test case, I either don't plan on going directly to the range after a visit to the VA hospital, or I park on the street outside the campus if I have a firearm in the vehicle.

wally626
May 18, 2011, 05:16 PM
Does it strike anyone else as odd that the drafters considered the possibility that someone might be hunting inside a federal building?

Hunting at a federal facility, yes :D I think they occasionally will have bow hunting at my facility to thin the deer herd a bit. Several federal facilities have shooting ranges and the like open to the public, although I do not know of any of the inside the building ranges being open to the public. My facility has the big "no weapon" signs at the gates, not on each building.

TexasJustice7
May 19, 2011, 02:37 AM
"And you will promptly lose unless you can prove that the danger was well beyond normal and that VA was aware of the danger."


One runs the risk of losing any time a lawsuit if filed. I have been involved in many of them over the years. Awhile back a lawsuit was filed against the US Postal Service to compel them to change their regulations.

Regarding the VA I am referring to, I have heard there have been at least two rapes committed on VA property, and drug activity is not uncommon. This parking lot covers a large area. I make it a point to arrive early and park close to the VA ER. Many people think that the VA has sovreign immunity. They do not. However, I would guess that in Lousiana, that it might be more dfficult to win such a case than it would be in Texas. Part of the process of trying to force change, is to undertake such lawsuits, and to
cause as much publicity as possible. The VA would have a difficult time
defending such a lawsuit in my opinion. So my view is that once the no gun signs go up, they become liable for adequate security which I do not think they have.

brickeyee
May 19, 2011, 12:28 PM
"Regarding the VA I am referring to, I have heard there have been at least two rapes committed on VA property, and drug activity is not uncommon. "

"Heard" is not going to cut it in trying to establish a hazard that VA should have taken steps to rectify, nor "drug activity is not uncommon" without some solid evidence.

It is VERY hard to establish liability against the federal government for the actions of third parties not under their control.

You MUST prove they NEW of the danger and failed to take ANY steps to rectify the problem.

It is a very high burden.

TexasJustice7
May 19, 2011, 01:08 PM
"It is VERY hard to establish liability against the federal government for the actions of third parties not under their control."

Just one lawsuit, and a bit of publicity, and the VA would not be able to hire enough police officers, to provide a police escourt for the veterans who ask for one, and just a few video recordings of crime on their premises, would be presentable. I suppose they have some federal law against video taping crime taking place on their premises. Since I did not see the rapes, does not
mean that they did not happen. I do know that some of the VA employees are concerned.

One gunshop in Shreveport has established a business of renting space to those who want to store their guns while on federal property, but I choose toa arrive before daylight even for an afternoon appointment, and get a parking place right outside the building. Of course Shreveport has quite a reputation for both being "anti-gun" and also having record high crime and
carjackings. I used to spend a lot of money in Lousiana on my trips there
but because of federal restrictions on CCW carrying on that property, I
just don't shop any place in Lousiana, choosing to purchase my food, gas, in Texas before I travel there, since I don't intend to put myself at the disposal of criminals.

I was also advised that it would be difficult to win a class action lawsuit against a State government some years ago, and I invested much time to document evidence of violation of the law, to help bring about a successful
class action suit. That suit was lost by the State, and quite costly.
I worked at a lawfirm for many years, and prior to becoming involled,
I documented thoroughly point by point over a periiod of several years and provide that information I had to the attorneys who filed that suit.

As you say,l "Just heard" won't cut it, but getting the proof is not an
unsurmountable untertaking. I seem to remember the problems of the
VA system, and the problems at Walter Reed Hospital coming to light
some years ago.

Spats McGee
May 19, 2011, 01:25 PM
Welcome to The Firing Line, TexasJustice7! (At least, I think I recall you showing up here rather recently . . . )

It's not as simple as whether the VA has immunity or not. It's just not a yes or no question. The VA's attorneys will argue that they do have immunity, either sovereign, qualified (for the individual employees), or under the Federal Tort Claims Act, or over other law that just isn't dawning on me at the moment. Once they assert the immunity, and rest assured that their lawyers are very well versed in immunity law, you'll have to demonstrate that the federal government has specifically waived immunity on the kind of case you're bringing, or that your case, for whatever reason, falls outside the scope of the immunity. Their lawyers will beat that immunity drum as loud and as long as they can. I would.

I also don't think it will be enough to say, "they wouldn't let me carry my gun, and some 3rd party attacked me. You'll have to be able to make the case that the VA had some duty to protect you. This is a scenario that often comes up in jail cases, or where someone is in custody. The VA will argue that you're not in the custody of the VA, so they don't have a duty to protect you. I recognize that the prohibition on carrying guns greatly reduces one's ability to defend oneself, but the VA's refusal to permit guns doesn't necessarily create an obligation to protect you.

Such a case is not insurmountable, but it is very, very difficult.

Aguila Blanca
May 19, 2011, 04:39 PM
Spats McGee, what about attacking the prohibition on the grounds that lawful, licensed carry for self-defense IS a lawful purpose, and the law cited in the "Go Weapons Allowed" signs specifically includes an exemption for "other lawful purposes"?

TexasJustice7
May 19, 2011, 04:45 PM
"QUOTE
Welcome to The Firing Line, TexasJustice7! (At least, I think I recall you showing up here rather recently . . . )

It's not as simple as whether the VA has immunity or not. It's just not a yes or no question. The VA's attorneys will argue that they do have immunity, either sovereign, qualified (for the individual employees), or under the Federal Tort Claims Act, or over other law that just isn't dawning on me at "

Yes, I am aware of the difficulties, in such an undertaking and sometimies adverse publicity is better than legal action. I would argue inadequate security and such claims under the Federal tort claims act may be properly filed in the jurisdiction where the negligence occurred, or where the claimant resides. Since I live in Texas and am familiar with texas lawfirms
that advertise to handle such cases I would certainly file in Texas had I
damages, even if the claims orginated in other states. Of course the VA
has competent attorneys to argue their side. VA Hospitals even allocate
funds to pay for damaged for liability. If they did not expect to lose any
such cases they would not include it in their budget. I wonder what the
VA is doing regarding the cases where many veterans were exposed to
HIV due to dirty dental equipment at some VA hospitals. While I am on
VA premises I encourage other veterans who travel there from Texas
not to stop anywhere in Lousiana.

But on this subject, one pro gun orginization was informing its members
that they had filed a lawsuit to challenge US Postal regulations regarding
no guns on the premises. In Tennessee two criminals recently murdered
two postal employees making the national news. When I spoke with postal employees where I live about it I suggested to them they ought to put up signs that law abiding citisens have been disarmed for the convenience of
the criminals. I was quite suprised that one employee totally agreed with me. Later when we had an armed robbery at the library about a block away, I said to him, that guy sure was dumb, he could have gotten a lot
more money here at the post office than he got at the library (about $100)
They caught him at a walmart in a neighboring town cashing the coins in a
coin machine.

Also here in Texas we had the legislature trying to pass a right to carry
concealed on college campuses. I am for this change, but I never go to
college campuses anymore.

I go nowhere but places where I have to go such as the VA & Post Office
where I cannot carry. At the same time I do not break the law.

Spats McGee
May 19, 2011, 04:56 PM
I think that a simple factial challenge is stronger than a failure to protect claim, but they're not mutually exclusive.

First of all, I suspect that if this were really to be litigated, we'd need more than just the one statute to look at. I suspect that if we dig down into federal law & the Code of Federal Regulations far enough, we'll find some grant of authority to the VA to manage its own property, including the exclusion of guns. That's the statute we'd need to find, to see exactly what the more specific statute would say.

Going only on what we have right now (& I'm afraid that I don't have time to rummage through Westlaw today), I'd be cautious of such an attack. The specific clause states that there's an exception for "the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes." 18 U.S.C.A. § 930 (West). I was being a little bit tongue-in-cheek earlier, but I don't see how the VA can ban firearms on its property based on 18 U.S.C.A. § 930. That section defines a federal facility as "a building or part thereof." I'm sure the VA would argue that the parking lot is "part of" the building, but that's a stretch in my mind.

@TexasJustice7 -- the government is immune from negligence claims.

TexasJustice7
May 19, 2011, 06:29 PM
"in-cheek earlier, but I don't see how the VA can ban firearms on its property based on 18 U.S.C.A. § 930. That section defines a federal facility as "a building or part thereof." I'm sure the VA would argue that the parking lot is "part of" the building, but that's a stretch in my mind."

Are you interpreting that a sign at the entrance of a VA Hospital Main Parking lot, would be using 18 U.S.C.A.& 930 as the authority for the posting of the sign. Some of the clinics have no posting in the parking lots, but the
VA Hospital main entrance does have such a sign and it refers to all VA property.

One VA police officer told me it was okay though to check the gun in at the VA police office on arrival, but another at an outlying clinic said not oK on any of their property. I figure the problem would not be an aggressive poliice officer out searching all vehicles. The problem would be if someone had an accident that when the driver's license is run they know you have a CCW. If they then ask where the gun is, they can and might search the vehicle, and that would result in an arrest. Based on what I read, I do not challenge the authority of the VA to post nor to enforce such a sign, I just expect to hold them accountable, even if I have to lose a suit if I am a crime victim on their property. One has to be ready to pay for the lottery ticket when you try to win a lottery prize. If I could not win the suit, I would try to bring as much advese publicity as I could against the VA facility, through the press. Enough veterans could start requesting and demanding a police escourt every trip they made to the VA facility, if crime gets bad enough.

BGutzman
May 19, 2011, 06:35 PM
Maybe the more appropriate approach is to park near the facility but off federal land and then vote in some people more favorable to the 2A...

:)

TexasJustice7
May 19, 2011, 06:55 PM
"Maybe the more appropriate approach is to park near the facility but off federal land and then vote in some people more favorable to the 2A... "

In fact I do that sometimes. But at least one gunshop in Shreveport helps gun owners out by allowing them to store a gun for a fee. Maybe some of them will start springing up right outside federal facilities. But at this point it is simpler for me to just not stop in Lousiana. I am sure the businesses
in that State are thriving and can afford to lose the business of gunowners
who don't stop because they have been disarmed. Guess the gunshop down there is doing well. I plan to stop by and visit that gunshop on the way back from the VA on some trip down there. I am thankful though that I live in Texas where we have the right to use deadly force to protect property which is not the case in some states without the Texas Castle doctrine.
I followed the Joe Horn case awhile back very closely. Texas has a recipriocal agreement with Lousiana, but if one shoots a carjacker in Lousiana one has to be inside their vehicle. I just avoid Lousiana but used
to spend a lot of money there years ago. Texas needs our dollars more anyway, and we ought to support the state where we reside.
:)

Aguila Blanca
May 19, 2011, 11:04 PM
First of all, I suspect that if this were really to be litigated, we'd need more than just the one statute to look at. I suspect that if we dig down into federal law & the Code of Federal Regulations far enough, we'll find some grant of authority to the VA to manage its own property, including the exclusion of guns. That's the statute we'd need to find, to see exactly what the more specific statute would say.
Well, it has become better known in the past couple of years that the Postal Service has its own regulation that allows it to ban weapons irrespective of the exceptions in 18 U.S.C.A. § 930, but nobody that I've ever seen has alleged any parallel authority to the VA. The local Social Security office also has a 'No Weapons" sign citing 18 U.S.C.A. § 930. One would think that if the VA were basing their authority to ban on some other law or regulation, their signs would cite the law or regulation that gives them the authority.

I wish someone would challenge some gooberment facility over disarming with 18 U.S.C.A. § 930 as the cited authority, but I'm not in a position to volunteer to be the test case.

Spats McGee
May 20, 2011, 08:20 AM
TexasJustice7 & Aguila Blanca,
It was my understanding that the VA in question had posted the entrance(s) to the parking lot, using 18 U.S.C. s930 as the legal basis for its authority to do so. I'm not sure that s930 gives them any authority to post the parking lot. It's very specific in its definition of a "federal facility." If we were talking about a parking deck, that's arguably a "part of a building," which could fall within the scope of s930. A parking lot is a different kettle of fish, though. If we're talking about the building proper, then my theory goes out the window.

I might have some time to dig through statutes and the CFR today, and if I do, I'll let you know what I find.

Edited to add:
(13) Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.

38 C.F.R. § 1.218

Looks like they certainly do have the authority. Scrap my idea, then.

TexasJustice7
May 20, 2011, 10:21 AM
Quote:
(13) Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.
38 C.F.R. § 1.218


And that includes things like Pepper Spray, Scissors, knives. I guess it does not include a good heavy walking stick. Since the regulations like they are
each time I am at the VA for a period of time, I have a medical problem that requires that I have scissors. I don't try sneaking them in, instead, I
make it a point when I am in the hospital to get them to issue me a pair each time I am there. Then when I leave, I check with the VA Police to see if it is okay to take the scissors they issue me are okay to take out of the
hospital with me, since I need them on the way home. I think their regs
permit leaving scissors in the vehicle and knives, (no guns).

I hope they put extra mioney in the budget to pay for all the scissors I
get from the VA. Unless they change their regs, I guess they will have to
keep issuing them to me. :)

Spats McGee
May 20, 2011, 10:24 AM
And that includes things like Pepper Spray, Scissors, knives. I guess it does not include a good heavy walking stick.
You know, I've seen several references here on TFL lately to walking sticks and canes. It reminded me of something I saw on the internet while browsing a while back. How about an injected polymer walking stick? http://www.ltspecpro.com/products/310-irish-blackthorn-walking-stick.aspx

TexasJustice7
May 20, 2011, 11:36 AM
"You know, I've seen several references here on TFL lately to walking sticks and canes. It reminded me of something I saw on the internet while browsing a while back. How about an injected polymer walking stick? http://www.ltspecpro.com/products/31...ing-stick.aspx "

I took a look at that walking stick, which looks like it would do as a good substitute where someone is restricted from carrying a gun, such as on VA Property. I am supposed to carry a walking stick all the time because I have had a few falls due to low blood pressure (as well as high),. But normally I never carry the walking stick if I am carryng concealed because I want my gun hand free. But at the VA since I can't carry a gun, I do carry the walking stick and it is at least some protection.

That cane you referenced though is something. It might not be legal.
I do know that if you alter a walking cane, and say load it down with metal of some kind that then the walking stick so altered is considered a deadly weapon. This might fall into that category too and might be illegfal on
VA property.

But a friend of mine sent me a picture of a cell phone that holds 4 twenty two cartridge bullets that is being encountered by LEO in Europe. It is
quite heavy but just to look at it you would not know it was a cell phone.
I think the numeral 5 to 7 fire the weapon. I guess the VA would have to
restrict all cell phones to prevent that.

209
May 26, 2011, 05:37 AM
VA Connecticut has a Police Service. Our officers conduct patrols of the Newington and West Haven campus both inside the buildings and in the parking lots. In case of an emergency, dial 203-932-5711 extension 4900 (West Haven) or 860-667-6707(Newington). Report all suspicious or criminal activity, vehicle accidents, and personal property losses to the VA Police as soon as possible while on the facility grounds.

Because the VA Medical Center is federal property, all persons and bags are subject to search. In addition, no weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs are permitted.

Info on Connecticut VA facilities. Last time I went to the Newington facility, they figured out I had a gun when I got inside. It was a tad bit confusing for a bit, but we sorted everything out. I went back out and left it in the car. No problem with that.

Brandon.Glidden
May 30, 2011, 12:23 AM
Look into the statute concerning firearms in your state. In florida, a new law is being passed, that as long as your car is legally parked, your firearm can be in it.

Aguila Blanca
May 30, 2011, 03:18 AM
Edited to add:
(13) Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.

38 C.F.R. § 1.218
Looks like they certainly do have the authority. Scrap my idea, then.
But this regulation clearly says "shall not carry." How do we determine if "transporting" an unloaded firearm in a closed container (not on the person) falls within the applicable definition of "carry"?

Spats McGee
May 30, 2011, 06:34 AM
Good question. Subsection 37 makes "possession of firearms, carried either
openly or concealed, whether loaded or unloaded (except by Federal or State law enforcement officers on official business," punishable by $500. If I were the VA's lawyers, I'd certainly argue that having a gun in the car = possession.

Brandon.Glidden
May 30, 2011, 11:36 AM
This could be applied to vehicles as well. You can carry a firearm, rocket launcher or grenade launcher on you in your own conveyance.

Aguila Blanca
May 30, 2011, 11:43 AM
And if I were defending a person charged under that regulation, I would certainly argue that a firearm in a locked case in a car in the parking lot is not "carried," openly or concealed.

As I've commented before, I can't afford to become the test case.

turbotype87
May 30, 2011, 05:50 PM
Here in CT, The VA Facility in Newington clearly posts no firearms or weapons of any kind allowed on the premises.

Spats McGee
May 30, 2011, 05:57 PM
And if I were defending a person charged under that regulation, I would certainly argue that a firearm in a locked case in a car in the parking lot is not "carried," openly or concealed.
Except that the penalties section includes "possession." If you have cocaine in your car, you're in possession of cocaine. If you have a gun in your car, you're in possession.

As I've commented before, I can't afford to become the test case.
Yeah, me needah, too.

brickeyee
May 31, 2011, 01:41 PM
Look into the statute concerning firearms in your state. In florida, a new law is being passed, that as long as your car is legally parked, your firearm can be in it.
Except that no state statute can alter or modify federal law, codes, or regulations (unless the feds have specifically authorized it).

Aguila Blanca
May 31, 2011, 07:47 PM
(13) Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes.
38 C.F.R. § 1.218

Spats McGee already cited that. But ...

If that's the regulation on which they are basing their denial of the RKBA, why do the signs at my VA hospital cite a different section of Federal law?