Avon couple volunteers for gun-rights fight
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Tab Bonidy and his wife, Debbie, can legally carry concealed handguns most places they go, except the local post office. And that’s a problem.
Like most of us, the Bonidys don’t have the option of home mail delivery, so they get their mail at the post office, and the U.S. Postal Service prohibits firearms on their property, including parking lots. That means those who carry firearms – or stop by the post office on their way to or from the shooting range – are breaking the law even by leaving their guns in their cars when they get their mail.
So, working with the National Association for Gun Rights and the Mountain States Legal Foundation, the Bonidys have filed suit in federal court to have the postal service’s rule overturned.
U.S. District Senior Judge Richard Matsch earlier this month dismissed a Postal Service motion to dismiss the case. That means the next step is a scheduling conference in January.
Bonidy said he and his wife agreed to participate in the case after the National Association for Gun Rights put out a request to its members last year, asking for someone to volunteer to challenge the Postal Service rule. Given their situation, they agreed.
But why don’t the Bonidys just leave their guns in their vehicles? They’re in Avon, after all, and it’s not likely anyone will notice.
“Well, it’s against the law,” Bonidy said.
Attorney Jim Manley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation said that’s a common response from gun owners, especially those who have invested the time, effort and money to obtain a concealed-carry permit.
“These people are scrupulously law-abiding,” Manley said of permit-holders. “They don’t want to violate the law.”
Besides his unwillingness to break the law, Bonidy rides a motorcycle in the summer, which means he’d have to remove his firearm in public before going into the post office. That sort of defeats the intent of concealed carry.
And the Bonidys carry firearms almost all the time. The couple received their permits about three years ago, a process that requires training, fees, and, ultimately, the permission of the county sheriff. It was something the couple had wanted to do for some time, Bonidy said. And, having lived for some time in a “not-great environment” in south Florida in his youth, Bonidy said he’s used to carrying a gun, and values the ability to protect himself.
The case is about individual rights, Bonidy said.
“When you go to the post office, you have to decide whether you’re going to carry or not,” he said. “And when you carry all the time, you feel naked without it.”