Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is going to bat for legal gun owners singled out by a federal law banning those otherwise allowed to carry pistols to pack heat at the post office.

With the backing of gun-rights and constitutional groups, the Republican senator on Wednesday plans to push an amendment to the U.S. Post Office reform bill that would remove the ban.

“It would allow the carrying of firearms subject to state law on federal post office lands,” said a Paul associate. “Gun groups support it; we expect it to pass.”

If passed, it would simply allow gun owners already approved to carry weapons to do so inside the post office — and save them the hassle of unholstering and locking their gun in their car.

A few years ago, lawmakers approved a ban on guns in federal buildings and postal officials decided to join in, barring weapons from their grounds. Those carrying guns at the post office could face a year in jail.

While some foes charge carrying guns in public isn't safe, gun advocates cite studies showing that crime is lower in states and areas where Americans are allowed to carry a weapon. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that a majority of Americans prefer to live in areas where citizens are armed.

“ ‘Gun-free zones' are really ‘criminal safezones' that only serve to provide would-be criminals a place to find unarmed victims,” said the National Association for Gun Rights, which is urging supporters to back Paul's effort.

Dudley Brown, the group’s executive vice president, said in an email, “Our ultimate goal has always been to make the U.S. Postal Service a safer place by getting rid of their ludicrous ban on your ability to carry the tools of self-defense. That's what Senator Paul's amendment would do.”

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, which is considering the post office reform bill and Paul’s amendment, is controlled by Democrats.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at