Judge Rules Ban on Firearms in Post Offices Unconstitutional in Landmark Case

This week, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle issued a consequential ruling regarding the prohibition of firearms within U.S. Post Offices.

The case centered on Emmanuel Ayala, a postal worker facing charges of illegal firearm possession in a federal facility. Ayala founded his defense on the monumental United States Supreme Court decision in Bruen (June 2022), contending that the ban on guns in post offices was “unconstitutional as applied to him” because of a lack of historical precedent.

usps firearm ban violates constitution

Judge says:USPS gun ban violates U.S. Constitution.

United States V. Ayala: Ayala's Argument:

Ayala's argument collided with the U.S. government's position, which maintained that the Second Amendment permitted the punishment for bearing arms inside any government building.

Since 1972, the United States has designated United States Post Office buildings and parking lots as “sensitive places,” justifying the prohibition on carrying concealed firearms while asserting 39 C.F.R. § 232.1‘s alignment with historical traditions of firearm regulation. One of the many cases challenging this prohibition is Bonidy v. U.S. Postal Service (2015).

The Government's case did not sway Judge Kathryn Mixelle, who President Trump appointed as a U.S. District Judge. She underscored Bruen's requirement for historical support, a requirement that the U.S. failed to meet.

Despite the existence of post offices since the nation's founding and potential threats faced by postal workers, Mizelle found no historical regulation addressing safety concerns through firearm restrictions within post offices.

Judge Mizelle wrote the following: [Bruen] requires the United States to present historical support for § 930(a)’s application to Ayala, which it fails to do. Post offices have existed since the founding, as have threats to the safety of postal workers and the public entering those locations. Yet the historical record yields no “distinctly similar historical regulation addressing” those safety problems by regulating firearms in post offices….Bruen deems this absence strong evidence of the statute’s unconstitutionality.

Mizelle's Opinion Affirms Bruen:

It's clear Mizelle's opinion is that the law prohibiting guns in federal postal facilities violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The case, United States v. Ayala, No. 8:22-cr-00369, recorded in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. This ruling is just one of the many monumental post-Bruen, 2nd Amendment cases that's driven broad discourse on gun rights in America.

The government has long enjoyed a powerful and unconstitutional overreach in firearm regulation. Proponents of gun restrictions always say their oppressive gun laws are necessary to keep the public safe.

Ayala, and every other freedom-loving American that doesn't want to re-write the U.S. Constitution, believe gun restrictions not only are ineffective because they only punish the law-abiding, they violate the individual's legal rights.

This clash of perspectives exposes the intricate interplay between individual liberties and governmental regulations.

Lack of Historical Support for Firearm Ban:

In pointing out the Government's failure to provide historical support for banning firearms on USPS property, Judge Mizelle again affirms the incredible significance of the Supreme Court's decision in the Bruen case. as mandated by Bruen.

Mizelle's rejection resonates with those who have for years insisted the Second Amendment precludes the government from instituting arbitrary firearm regulations. Here is another excerpt from Mizelle's opinion:

Since the Post Office’s creation, mail carriers have faced the risk of violence. Passengers of nineteenth-century stagecoaches, which carried mail, “risked death or injury if coaches were attacked by robbers or Indians.” USPS, AN AMERICAN HISTORY at 5, 17. Recognizing this reality, Congresses in the first half of the nineteenth century appropriated money to reward individuals who helped apprehend postal robbers. See, e.g., An Act for the Relief of D.W. Haley, ch. 66, 25 Stat. 713 (1838). In the latter half of the nineteenth century, when locomotive became the dominant way to move mail, bandits threatened postal workers aboard trains. Colorado Train Robbers, N.Y.TIMES, 2 Sept. 1891, at 8. Yet the federal government never sought to ban firearms to protect employees or secure mail delivery. In fact, when mail train robberies became a growing threat in the early twentieth century, the Postmaster General armed railway mail clerks with “government-issued pistols” from World War I. USPS,AN AMERICAN HISTORY at 23, 107

Ayala's Legal Battle isn't Over:

Ayala still faces a charge from resisting arrest, related to the charge that he violated the law in carrying a concealed handgun on USPS property. His argument is that the state should pull the resisting arrest charge because the arrest itself was illegal. Mizelle didn't address that charge, and so Ayala still battles in court.

My Take:

In conclusion, this legal saga encapsulates the tension between individual liberties and government-imposed restrictions, with Ayala emerging as a symbol challenging the constitutionality of firearm bans in federal postal facilities.

As the discourse on gun rights in America evolves, Mizelle's ruling in United States v. Ayala adds a chapter to the ongoing narrative, underscoring how understanding historical context is shaping constitutional interpretations within the realm of the Second Amendment.

Do you carry a gun for self-defense? Have you considered how much money a legal defense for even an unconstitutional gun charge would cost?

If you haven't thought about it, consider reading this post, and checking out our full, side-by-side comparison of legal representation services for civilian gun carriers.

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About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.

8 Comments

  1. Tony on January 28, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    I assume it is still illegal to carry at post office (at least in most of USA), right? Seems like this needed to be addressed.

    • Jacob Paulsen on January 31, 2024 at 4:24 pm

      Correct. Certainly outside of that district nothing changes. Even within that district this decision might only apply to the defendant.

  2. Paul on January 28, 2024 at 11:39 pm

    Would you still advise against carrying in a PO at this point? Should we wait until this decision is appealed (maybe as far as SCOTUS) and a definitive statement emerges about carrying in the PO before attempting it? I carry everywhere and ignore signs when there is no magnetometer/LEO/armed security contingent present (in AL), but I always disarm when I go to the PO (a rare event) because I don’t want to risk federal charges if someone happens to notice me printing (accidentally) and calls me out.

    BTW, I appreciate your bold statement of your allegiance to Jesus, which I share.

    • Jacob Paulsen on January 31, 2024 at 4:23 pm

      I would still advise against carrying. At this point the best takeaway is that this particular defendant can now carry into a post office and for the rest of us we can have faith that this decision sets the ground work to have the ban removed in a more official or permanent manner.

      • Clark Kent on January 31, 2024 at 10:39 pm

        You do realize that unless rights are EXERCISED they become flabby, correct? And that the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights restricts the GOVERNMENT, not the CITIZENS, correct? And a right DELAYED is a right DENIED, correct? With friends like you, who needs enemies?

        • Jacob Paulsen on February 1, 2024 at 7:35 am

          Hugh, I’m sorry you think I’m your effective enemy. If I had my way all gun free zones would go away, the NICS system would be dismantled, and you could order a belt fed machine gun to be delivered to your home from Amazon. That is what I think the 2nd amendment means. However, I am not the court. I do not have the power to interpret the law the way I think it should be interpreted. You are welcome to act however you wish including carrying a gun into a post office but if you pose a question on this site about the effective impacts of a court decision I’m going to do my best to answer the question. In this instance its a very clear thing. Our legal system is clear on the lack of impact and precedent from this decision. It is a small victory to be sure but it has relatively little impact at this time. Should we continue to seek and push for our rights as we desire or interpret them? Yes we should. Should we ignore the current laws that restrict what we believe to be our rights? Well that is a decision each of us gets to make but it won’t cause me to lie to people or mislead them.

          • Clark Kent on February 5, 2024 at 12:15 am

            Blah, blah, blah. More excuses from someone who believes rights are instead privileges bestowed and denied by the government. Courts in the past ruled ‘separate but equal’ was Constitutional. ‘Laws repugnant to the Constitution are null and void’ – Marbury v Madison. WAKE UP!



  3. Gary on February 7, 2024 at 5:59 pm

    A law abiding citizen carrying a gun in a government building isn’t going to use his or her firearm to harm anyone, they are only going to use their firearm for self defense and to protect others that may be in that building that don’t have a firearm for self protection. Law abiding citizens are not looking to cause trouble. The only people that are looking to cause trouble are the criminals that don’t care about the law. All the gun laws that are out there don’t affect criminals, they are put in place to control the law abiding citizens from using their constitutional rights the way they were ment to be used. When are they going to ban cars, knives, axes, hammers, screw drivers, baseball bats, pipe wrenches, shovels, frying pans, rolling pins, to mention a few, think about how stupid that all sounds. I may have said this in the past but it needs to be said again and again and again. Post it again thank you

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