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Old May 8, 2010, 04:45 AM   #1
GHF
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What about a firearm locked in a vehicle at a VA medical facility?

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?

Last edited by GHF; May 8, 2010 at 09:56 AM.
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Old May 8, 2010, 09:37 AM   #2
wally626
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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.
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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The gate/fence does not matter

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.
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Old May 8, 2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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No sign = no conviction. It's right in the statute:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...0----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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wally626
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.
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Old May 9, 2010, 11:35 AM   #5
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You would have to argue that one in court...

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.
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Old May 9, 2010, 11:58 AM   #6
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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.
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Old May 9, 2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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What's a Federal Facility

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.
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Old May 16, 2010, 02:51 AM   #8
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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.
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Old May 16, 2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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The Law and Policy...

Head-Space said:

Quote:
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...0----000-.html

Quote:
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....

Last edited by GHF; May 16, 2010 at 12:34 PM.
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Old May 23, 2010, 11:18 PM   #10
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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.

Last edited by RangerHAAF; May 23, 2010 at 11:26 PM.
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Old May 24, 2010, 09:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangerHAAF
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.
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Old May 24, 2010, 01:52 PM   #12
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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.
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Old May 24, 2010, 09:57 PM   #13
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VAMC firearms-weapons policy/laws, 083/085 federal police/security guards..

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.
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Old May 25, 2010, 03:50 AM   #14
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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.
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Old May 10, 2011, 07:19 AM   #15
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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.
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Old May 10, 2011, 10:48 AM   #16
rshanneck2002
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VAs

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.
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Old May 10, 2011, 02:22 PM   #17
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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.
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Old May 10, 2011, 03:06 PM   #18
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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....
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Old May 10, 2011, 03:43 PM   #19
rshanneck2002
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VA

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?
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Old May 10, 2011, 03:57 PM   #20
hermannr
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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...

Last edited by hermannr; May 10, 2011 at 04:04 PM.
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Old May 18, 2011, 07:16 AM   #21
TexasJustice7
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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.
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Old May 18, 2011, 03:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
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.


Quote:
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?
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Old May 18, 2011, 04:29 PM   #23
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I'm struck by a couple of squirrelly things here. First:
Quote:
Originally Posted by United States Code Annotated
(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:
Quote:
(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?
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Old May 18, 2011, 04:57 PM   #24
Aguila Blanca
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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.
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Old May 18, 2011, 05:16 PM   #25
wally626
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Quote:
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 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.
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