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Feb 29,2008
Gunning for parks
by The San Diego Union-Tribune

Planning a nice family vacation this summer to one of the country's 390 gorgeous national parks? Great. But be warned: You may soon have to worry about park visitors legally packing loaded guns at the ready.

Nearly half the U.S. Senate - eight Democrats and 39 Republicans, including GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain - signed on to a December letter urging Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to eliminate the decades-old requirement that rifles, shotguns or other firearms carried into or through national parks or wildlife refuges be unloaded and stored in a way that prevents their "ready use."

That letter, initiated by the National Rifle Association and organized by Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, has not yet been acted upon.

But the supporters have a second arrow in their quiver. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., plans to offer an amendment to an otherwise noncontroversial bill authorizing various programs for national parks and other public lands. Coburn's amendment would prevent the government from enforcing the current gun regulations, requiring national parks and refuges to instead observe state gun laws. A spokesman said the senator hopes to bring the amendment to a vote this week.

This is absurd.

It is easy to see the problems that officials were trying to fix when Interior Secretary James Watt - no anti-gun liberal, he - enacted the firearms restrictions in the first Reagan administration. Wildlife were being poached in what were supposed to be animal sanctuaries, and people were being endangered.

But what problems are the NRA, Crapo, Baucus, Coburn, et al., trying to fix?

Crapo said in his letter to Kempthorne that there is inconsistency in firearms regulations between different federal agencies. So he's going to fix that by having national parks and wildlife refuges follow the hodgepodge of differing state gun laws?

We wondered, at first, how Crapo and Baucus managed to get 45 other senators to sign the letter. Just maybe it was a little deception. The letter describes the current regulations as "prohibitions on law-abiding citizens from transporting and carrying firearms" on park and wildlife service lands.


According to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, the current regulations specifically say that firearms "may be possessed" in national parks and refuges as long as the weapons are unloaded or packed, cased or stored away - in a car's trunk, for example.

Denny Huffman, a leader of that organization, has it right when he says, "It is a hoax to suggest that there is some big demand out there for people to be able to tote semi-automatic weapons on the trails of Yellowstone or nine-millimeter pistols on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial." Responsible sportsmen and gun owners, he added, "know that the current rule on guns is no infringement on their Second Amendment rights."

We urge Kempthorne to stand fast. And we urge California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to do what they can to shoot down this ridiculous amendment.

Reprinted from The San Diego Union-Tribune. CNS

2954 times read

Related news

Florida to loosen park gun restrictions by UPI posted on Mar 24,2008

Denying guns to the mentally ill by Lionel_Van_Deerlin posted on Mar 07,2008

NACo applauds Senate for support of public lands by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Mar 30,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 4.03Rating: 4.03Rating: 4.03Rating: 4.03Rating: 4.03 (total 29 votes)

  • This idiot author should move to Australia where freedom has been removed from the residents. He/ evidently doesn't like the 2nd amendment and is probably a typical liberal pinko doing his part to turn America into a socialist state.
  • (Posted on March 2, 2008, 3:58 pm Dave)

  • The author of this garbage is just like all the other whiners that because they do not have the trust or courage to defend themselves they do not wish for anybody to have that right or even the means. I mean, how fair is it that they have to watch helplessly while their girlfriend is dragged off the trail and raped? How fair is it that when they are mugged they get a beating and lose their money? Geesh people, how dare you wish to defend yourselves, submit, be sheep, be cowards. It will make a liberal happy!!
  • (Posted on March 2, 2008, 3:58 pm Scott)

  • The original law was to make it easier to catch poachers. This refinement in the law will not harm that aim; most states' firearms carry permits require that the gun be kept concealed. Poachers' guns are not easily concealable, and to the extent that poachers are able to keep their guns concealed then the law wouldn't help rangers catch them anyway. No one is asking to be allowed to carry guns in the National Parks for sporting purposes. We're asking only to be allowed to carry the kind of guns whose only purpose is the shooting of rapists, robbers and such.
  • (Posted on March 2, 2008, 8:46 am fsilber)

  • I've read trashy books and articles, but this is the trashiest article I've read so far. The article talks about poachers. Poachers don't care about rules, if they did they wouldn't be hunting ILLEGALLY, would they. People talk about fear mongering, this is a very good example. There are more predators out there than just the furry four-legged kind. My family and I are law abiding and that we were not put on this earth to be food for our furry four-legged friends, nor harmed by the unfriendly two legged critters.
  • (Posted on March 1, 2008, 5:53 pm outspoken2)

  • To all you stupid sheeple out there baaaaaaa ing to "feel" safe, guess what. There are ALREADY guns in the parks whether you like it, know it or not. Our National Parks are more of those "Gun-Free, Victim Disarmament Zones" that you've been reading about where only the criminals have ready access to guns and you are just ripe for the pickings. Has it NEVER occurred to you that there is a REASON that massacres never happen at gun ranges, police stations, cop bars and gun stores??
  • (Posted on February 29, 2008, 9:41 pm Craig Baker)

  • What amendment do you think is going to be shot down? The second amendment? The department of interior may change the rule without amending anything. In 2006, our national parks saw including 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults. Where were these rangers durring these? They were doing their jobs, which does not include protecting individuals. That is the job of the individual.
  • (Posted on February 29, 2008, 9:40 pm Kimberland)

  • "prohibitions on law-abiding citizens from transporting and carrying firearms" on park and wildlife service lands. False." No, that would be true. Unless of course you can carry your car in your pocket. Is it too much to ask that when you start a liberal antigun rant you could at least give a passing wave to the truth? The guns are ALREADY there. Carried not by law abiding, concealed weapon permit holders, but by speed cookers, gang members and rapists. The law abiding are just asking for the government to recognize the God given right of self preservation we all have - until you enter a National Park.
  • (Posted on February 29, 2008, 8:29 pm K. Mitchell)

  • This is typical anti-gun nonsense. "Oh no there will be shootouts because people can legally carry gun!"? Well it hasn't happened anywhere else over the last 20 years of concealed carry reform why would parks be any different? People have the right to defend themselves and unless you are going to hire half the adult population to work as security guards, there is an awful lot of park out there. Why should law-abiding citizens, who in most states can already carry in most places, be disarmed just because it's a park?
  • (Posted on February 29, 2008, 5:50 am Ben Miner)

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