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Old September 7, 2021, 08:42 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 16, 2012
Location: ME
Posts: 719
Concealed Carry in National Parks

Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
It's arguable that the park headquarters or visitor center would be a place where "federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their duties." An outhouse or a toilet building, where someone checks it and mops it down once or twice a day, probably isn't considered a place where federal employees are "regularly" present.

I don't know if this has ever been tested in court. I also don't know how (or if) it applies to concession buildings such as the gift and souvenir shops that most national parks have, but which are not operated by the National Park Service.
Quoted because of a point further down… paragraph 3. Some of this rambling has little to do with conceal carry at National Parks, but putting how we apply this law locally. Not saying it transfers to buildings at National Parks directly, but might make it easier for some to understand. Or it might make more questions. [emoji1787]

Signs are usually posted visibly at entrances… at least our land border Port of Entry (CBP) it is. Visitor center at Acadia National Park is the same, as I was carrying there in July. Main public entrances have a sign stating no firearms unless X. Pretty much, on duty law enforcement, Federal L/E (on/off duty), and persons present incidental to hunting are exempt within 18 US Code §930. ME is Constitutional carry, but neither permit or permit-less carry trump that USC. The hunting exemption does also state “other lawful purposes,” but I’ve never seen Federal case law that establishes state permits (or Constitutional carry) as such. If someone does have an example, I’m interested in reviewing it.

For people that clean restrooms and alike, they usually are contractors… so take that as you will with that aspect of the definitions. We have one outport that has a separate part of the same building, which has a public room with a water fountain… and then two bathrooms off that. We use those bathrooms, but we also have bathrooms upstairs (port reeks of mildew, so we try to get outside as much as possible). That first room with the water fountain does have that same “no firearms” signage. Unsure if it is due to being under the same roof, or if people got sign happy. Me, personally… if someone is fishing on the bridge and carrying, I couldn’t care less if they need to take a leak/drop anchor. But per USC, that would be breaking the law.

Federal property is a big issue for different situations, not just firearm possession. If they say buildings, it likely means a structure that is on the specific property… which isn’t privately owned. Either a specific agency or GSA (sort of like the real estate managers for the Federal government). Our agency has ports that CBP owns, and ports that we lease from GSA… who owns it. In all intents/purposes, both categories are Federal buildings.

We have the same “no firearm” signs in the primary lanes, as we consider the inspection area part of Federal property. Depending on the officer, it will depend on how someone carrying is treated. I’m more of the stance that if they are declaring it, less of a threat than the guy who isn’t saying anything. Usually, I’ll ask them to keep their hands on the wheel/dash, verbally describe where it is, and then move from there (last one off the top of my head, I removed a P938 from a traveler’s holster, cleared, and then continued my inspection). Now, by legal letter of the law, someone carrying is breaking the law… that being said, you aren’t going to be jammed up for missing a turn, unless it was illegal prior to that (felon with a firearm, for example). Similar to possession of weed, as it is legal in Canada and ME… but when you are being inspected by a Federal officer after contact with the international border, it is a Schedule I narcotic that will be seized (cannot wait until it is legalized due to that BS).

Our port policy states we must confirm the firearm is not stolen, and that the person in possession of it is A) US citizen or alien that can be in possession of it, and B) not a felon. Most of the time, it is quick and uneventful. Once in awhile, we get serial number matches on older guns that are different types/calibers. I’ve seen one that was an exact match, because it was stolen, was found and given back to the owner… but the agency did not pull the NCIC record (guy left with his gun after a few calls between us, them, and MSP). Afterwords, we tend to place the firearm/ammo in their vehicle so they do not have readable access to it, and then say once you leave the property, you may grab it and reload.

Interesting aside that really has zero to do with the topic… we have had 80% firearms come thru. Can’t check a firearm without a serial number… but can check if the person is a felon. All of the ones that came thru, they went down the road with the person after checks were done.

The USPS topic is the one that I know has a lot of confusion, so why not bring it up with talk about Federal buildings. They are covered by the same USC as above, but they also have a separate set of regulations under 39 CFR § 232.1. “Official purposes” is the big hangup for most, and why people see to think even L/E can’t carry there. Obviously, shipping a firearm is “official purpose” if you are following USPS’ rules (dealers shipping handguns, anyone else shipping long guns). I feel this aspect expands the law more than it restricts, but ask people that work for USPS… and they like to tell L/E how you can’t bring guns inside. I have a friend, who’s wife told me I can’t go inside a post office if I’m shipping something for work… in uniform. First package of evidence that went off to be destroyed, sent her a selfie just to start with her. [emoji41]

Per 18 US Code §930, Federal officials may carry in Federal buildings, so my logic (not a lawyer, and no Holiday Inn Express in the past two years) is that constitutes “official purpose.” If I have my firearm, and stop a crime in a post office while off duty… I’ll cross that bridge when it comes up.

Now, I’m probably more conservative than a lot of L/E… but I hate all this crap. I personally rather have more “good guys” to back me up when some POS decides he wants to hold up the Post Office for Christmas cards. But jerks in power are going to do the same crap that has been done since the 1930s. Means more confusion on a constitutional right, and less safety for law abiding citizens. [emoji107]

Last edited by Screwball; September 7, 2021 at 08:47 PM.
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