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Old July 25, 2012, 02:58 PM   #1
traumac
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Carry in National Park but not Buildings?

On a recent trip to AZ, we visited some National Parks. Tried to search the forum, and research online, but no results.

When we got to the sites, the information buildings had signs posted "no firearms" with a citation to law. I assume this refers to federal buildings like post offices etc.

How can I be ok with my CCW at the park but not the ranger booth? In one park, you could not enter without paying the entry fee, but that was in a building with the no firearms law.

Thanks
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Old July 25, 2012, 03:29 PM   #2
Doyle
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Unfortunately, that loophole was left out of the law change that allows us to carry in National Parks. Park buildings remain off limits.
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Old July 25, 2012, 03:29 PM   #3
hermannr
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You can carry whatever way the laws of the state you are in, allow, while you are in a National Park, in that state.

For example, here in WA you can carry (openly or concealed), without a recognized WA license or WA CPL, while doing a recreational activity like camping, hiking, hunting etc...therefore, in the National Parks in WA you can carry if it is legal for you to possess a firearm.

However, you cannot possess a LOADED long gun (Shotgun or Rifle) while in a vehicle,,,ever, so you would not be able to possess a loaded long gun in a vehicle while in a National Park either.

As for their "no guns" in their buildings...that is debatable...the law provides exemptions, they do not in their official statements. If you want to be the test case you can carry into their buildings and stick it to them, if you don't want the hassel of being cuffed and stuffed, and then fighting it in court...it would be best to stay out of building where NP personell normally work.
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Old July 25, 2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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Doyle: You statement is not exactly true. You cannot carry into a Federal Court house, you cannot (at the present time) carry into a PO (different section of the law) But there are exemptions:

18 USC 930

(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.

I talked to a NCNP person and she said, but the administrative code is what they go by...guess what...the exemption is in the administrative code too.

Last edited by hermannr; July 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM.
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Old July 25, 2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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hermannr, you may be right but I see an awful lot of grey area that could cause trouble. That "lawful purpose", to my knowledge, hasn't yet been through the courts to determine what is and isn't good. I personally don't want to be the test case to take it all the way to the Supreme Court.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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This was also what I saw at Yellowstone in 2010 right after the law was passed. Carry in the park not in the buildings.
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Old July 26, 2012, 11:42 PM   #7
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Doyle, It the state of WA, Article 1 Section 24 of the STATE constitution...

SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

My bold...It would be very difficult to say that carry for self defence, under the laws of the state (WA) at least if the NP was in WA, that self defence was not a "lawful purpose" Eh, you think?

The majority of states have similar wording in their constitutions
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Old July 27, 2012, 07:29 AM   #8
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hermannr, the problem with that logic is that federal laws trump state constitutions. Case in point is the US Post Office buildings. Clearly against the law to carry there regardless of what any state constitution says.
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Old July 28, 2012, 12:22 AM   #9
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The Federal Law in this case states the NPS WILL FOLLOW STATE LAW of the state the NP is in.
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Old July 28, 2012, 11:26 AM   #10
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Cool. I just hope the NPS realizes that and doesn't give any CCW holders grief.
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Old July 28, 2012, 12:13 PM   #11
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For the most part, you may not carry in National Park visitors' centers, souvenir shops, concession buildings, etc. I copied this from ZeSpectre over at GRM:

Quote:
Q: What about information stations and concession stands?
A: Any restricted federal buildings must be clearly posted as such.

The interior of a federal building (this includes any rest stops, information centers, and concession stands bearing the National Park Service logo) falls under Title 18, Sec 930 “Possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in Federal facilities” ( http://tinyurl.com/yg2zhwb )
However, Title 18, Sec 930 does stipulate the following
(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.

So there shouldn’t be any confusion as restricted buildings MUST BY LAW be “posted conspicuously” that weapons are not permitted. If it’s not posted, it’s not restricted (Unless you have been notified by an authorized person and asked to leave because then you've had "actual notice" under subsection H...<sigh>).
So, they have elected to treat these facilities the same as any federal building - no weapons of any kind. I was at the Grand Canyon in May - I carried everywhere I went, but was balked at the bookstores and visitors' centers because they were, in fact, "posted conspicuously" with "no guns" signs. So, I relieved myself in the brush. Sue me.

Oddly enough, the El Tovar Lodge was not posted, so I carried there where we had a lovely dinner. An outstanding restaurant, redolent with history. Two thumbs up.
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Old July 28, 2012, 02:39 PM   #12
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I believe the El Tovar is not a government building, it is owned and operated (or leased and operated?) by a private concessionaire.
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Old July 28, 2012, 03:32 PM   #13
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That was my conclusion, too, and I searched long and hard for any "No Guns" silliness. We were celebrating my brother's marriage to a delightful lady, and being hauled off in cuffs simply wouldn't do!

If I got the story right, that hotel was built as a destination resort by the Sante Fe Railroad when they ran a line passed the canyon. I believe it opened in 1905, and the swells from Los Angeles could go on holiday in style.
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Old July 28, 2012, 04:31 PM   #14
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You obviously did not read the exemptions, did you? Yes, I know the NPS and a lot of other federal buildings, THINK, and would like you to believe, that they are off limits, when in fact, if you bother to read 18 USC 930 you will see that the only federal buildings that are absolutely off limits to legal firearms (as by the State law of the state they are in, no exceptions) are federal court houses...read the LAW, not what someone wrote as a comment in FAQ.

This does not apply to PO property as that is under a totally different law and 18 USC 930 does not cover the PO, or the Army Corp of Engineers property.

This stuff reminds me of the WI FAQ on their new concealed carry law...the LE community wanted "must inform", MUST INFORM WAS NOT written into the LAW, but you would swear it was if you read the FAQ.
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Old July 28, 2012, 10:29 PM   #15
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Interestingly, the Social Security office I use moved about six months ago. The old site was clearly and conspicuously posted. The new facility, to my surprise, is NOT posted.

I am well aware of the exception in the law for "other lawful purposes." I also believe that this should cover legal concealed carry. However, as other have stated or intimated ... I cannot afford to become a test case.
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Old July 29, 2012, 03:35 PM   #16
Mr. James
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I work in a federal building. It is posted as no weapons of any sort. The proper cite isn't the U.S. Code, but the Code of Federal Regulations, specifically, Title 41 CFR § 102-74.440:

Quote:
§ 102-74.440
What is the policy concerning weapons on Federal property?
Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons in Federal facilities and Federal court facilities by all persons not specifically authorized by 18 U.S.C. 930. Violators will be subject to fine and/or imprisonment for periods up to five (5) years.
Now, it's clear that, in a bit of circular reasoning, the regulation cites the same vague provision of the U.S. code as its statutory authority.

But I know from bitter experience, one is ill-advised to carry a weapon of any sort into a federal building. As I am a federal employee, they chose the equivalent of "non-judicial punishment," but punishment it was. (If you're wondering, the weapons at issue were not firearms. So, I kept my job. Barely.)

If you want to be a test case, hire Alan Gura or Robert Michel and have at it. But you'd best be an ideal candidate, with your ducks bill-to-butt before testing both the statute and the regulation.
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Old July 29, 2012, 03:58 PM   #17
hermannr
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"not specifically authorized by 18 USC 930" As you read 18 USC 930..legal carry is authorized.

What would be interesting, as it is specifically called out, open carry a Smith 500 and a hunting license????
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Old July 29, 2012, 05:20 PM   #18
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I'm not disagreeing with your statutory exegesis. What I'm telling you are the facts on the ground. If caught carrying any weapon (knife, pepper spray, collapsible baton, striking implement, gun) in a designated "federal facility," you will be charged. Whether it is as a violation of 18 USC 930 or 41 CFR 102-74 will be of cold comfort to you, and of little moment to anyone else except, perhaps, your defense counsel.

Once, back in the pre-9/11 days, I had to pass my bag through the x-ray, which promptly disclosed the presence of a commonplace household steak knife - with which I planned to eat some leftover steak for lunch. They pulled it, pondered it, called over a superior before waving me through.

A much more recent case, to which I alluded in my previous post, didn't end quite as pleasantly. I was let off "easy" because I was one of "theirs," had a spotless 16-year record, and had some superiors willing to go to the mattresses for me. But some pretty heavy hitters wanted me arrested, criminally charged, and fired. I understand the discussions were quite . . . animated. Fortunately for me, the hardcore hoplophobes didn't carry the day.
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Old July 30, 2012, 08:14 PM   #19
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Pocket knives less than 2.5 inch are OK.

Quote:
(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.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:08 PM   #20
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What About Parking Lots?

I also work in a federal building in a gun-friendly state. Gun owners make up a large percentage of the workers in our facility and just this week we find ourselves gnashing our teeth over our administrator's apparently new policy extending the "weapons-free" zone to include our parking lot. I am curious if James or any other federal workers have run into this same issue. I should point out that our facility is in a rural setting and our parking lot is just that: a parking lot and not a garage or structure. The parking lot has recently been enclosed by a fence with a "badge-in" gate but the gate is generally left open during daytime work hours.

In the facility-wide e-mail that went out, the administrator cited 41 CFR 102-74.440 and 18 USC 930 as well as our agency's corporate policy (which uses the same wording). None of those citations say anything about a parking lot. In fact, the agency's corporate policy specifically defines the agency space as a "building or structure." We think the administrator is just reaching here.

In addition to firearms, the e-mail went on to include the oft-quoted list of prohibited items (batons, pocket knives over 2.5", pepper-spray, etc.). So, in this instance, our administrator has managed to upset a larger class than simply the firearms owners. We have night shift workers in our facility, a lot of whom are women, so many of them were upset to learn that they aren't even allowed to keep pepper-spray in their cars.

The parking lot policy sounds bogus to me, but I am curious to know if any of you have faced this same thing with your federal employer.
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Old August 25, 2012, 10:02 PM   #21
Aguila Blanca
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Federal law defines "facility" as "building."

I have the same problem when I go to the VA hospital. I know I can't carry within the building, but I used to be able to have firearms in the car and be able to proceed from home to the hospital, and then from there directly to the shooting range. Several months after Obama was elected, signs appeared at all entrances to the property saying that no firearms are allowed anywhere on the property. Interestingly, the signs cite 18 USC 930, which clearly defines Federal facility as follows:

Quote:
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.
Since an outdoor, surface parking lot is clearly not "a building or part thereof," it does not appear that 18 USC 930 applies to other than buildings. However, I can't afford to be a test case.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/930
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Old August 25, 2012, 10:34 PM   #22
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The CFR reads in its entirety:

Quote:
§ 102–74.440 What is the policy concerning weapons on Federal property?

Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons in Federal facilities and Federal court facilities by all persons not specifically authorized by 18 U.S.C. 930. Violators will be subject to fine and/or imprisonment for periods up to five (5) years.
While the wording suggests that "in" means, within a structure, I can't say how the courts may have already ruled on this. Apparently, neither can you.

Besides the obvious question, "Do you want to be a test case?" it's not yet even time to file for a civil rights violation (which will be costly).

"Why not?", you might very well ask.

Currently, we have several cases before the Circuit Courts of Appeal that may very well answer the question of whether or not we have the right to carry functional firearms, in case of confrontation, in the public space. A positive answer here, will have reaching effects on government parking lots.

More to the point, the Case Bonidy v. U.S.P.S. directly attacks such a provision as you have outlined (dispositive motions are due this coming Tuesday, the 28th).

The bottom line is that no one can honestly answer your question, at this time.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:40 AM   #23
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I work on a military installation as a police officer. We had an instance of finding a pistol during a random vehicle inspection. Individual had a valid concealed permit for the state where the installation is located. We called the US Attorney's office for guidance. They stated the weapons ban only is in effect for actual facilities (buildings) on base. They stated whatever our actions were going to be, their office would not prosecute.

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Old August 28, 2012, 12:31 PM   #24
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. James
I work in a federal building. It is posted as no weapons of any sort. The proper cite isn't the U.S. Code, but the Code of Federal Regulations, specifically, Title 41 CFR § 102-74.440:
The signs at my nearby VA hospital, and the signs at the former Social Security office (before they moved to a new location) do not cite 41 CFR 102-74.440, they cite 18 USC 930. IANAL, but I'm pretty certain if the sign cites 18 USC 930, then if you are charged with a violation you have to be charged with violating the statute of which you were given notice.
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