Skip to comments.National gun rules for national parks (From the left!)
Posted on 01/15/2008 6:02:24 AM PST by fweingart
OUR OPINION: SENATE MOVE TO CHANGE MODEST LIMITS IS PURELY POLITICAL
Welcome to the American national park system where the camper in the next space over may be packing heat. What a peaceful thought as you try to snooze under the stars.
Yet, there's a letter circulating in the U.S. Senate that has attracted 47 signatures including that of Florida Republican Mel Martinez, aimed at easing federal regulations on the carrying of firearms in national parks.
Written by Idaho Republican Mike Crapo, the letter is directed to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and seems reasonable on its face. It would require the park system to recognize state firearms laws in national parks. This would make department policy consistent because state firearms laws apply on other Interior lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
The proposal doesn't turn the national parks into a Wild West of gun-toting hikers, but it isn't necessary. Currently, the park system permits the presence of guns for authorized hunting and target shooting and allows park-goers to carry guns in car trunks or other areas of vehicles that aren't readily accessible. But holders of state gun permits aren't permitted to openly carry accessible weapons.
First off, these are national parks with visitors from states throughout the nation with a variety of weapons laws. The interests of consistency should lie with all visitors at all national parks. It should be little more than a minor annoyance for, say, residents of states bordering Yellowstone to stow their rifles when driving through the park.
Second, there simply is no good reason to have a weapon handy while visiting a park. The numbers of attacks by wild animals on park visitors complying with park rules and the dictates of common sense do not justify the danger to others of, say, city folk firing at strange noises in the night, which may be someone else at the campsite or a bear more interested in potato chips that weren't properly stowed than in human morsels in the tent.
Third, national parks aren't hotbeds of crime, but they do suffer from an overtaxed ranger service that doesn't need more law-enforcement responsibilities. Throw in the accessibility of guns -- and the perception that it's OK to have guns in the parks -- with the mindlessness some display when on vacation, and the mix isn't pretty. Nor should rangers be faced with yet more complications for controlling illegal hunting and poaching in parks.
The current regulations have been in effect for more than two decades. Changing them doesn't solve a pressing problem in the parks; rather it serves only to make a political statement at the expense of the safety of people and the wildlife they come to see.
Sometimes Mel gets it right!
This editorial is typical of the MSM reception of a welcome addition to our constitutional right to bear firearms.
I don’t really worry much about seeking government’s blessing or permission.
Welcome to the National Parks system, where the rapist or mugger is packing heat because he doesn't care if the law says he can't.
what an imbecile to think that the law keeps criminals from packing heat in the parks.
Guess what. That camper next to you may already be armed, if I’m armed then I can snooze peacefully.
“Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue steel beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received, or would ever receive. Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pringing ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots.”
In 2002 we visited the Grand Canyon for the first time. Our little Mossberg 500 shotgun with a legal 18” barrel and pistol grip, loaded as usual and in a carry case, was in the station wagon. On the way up from Flagstaff my wife was looking over a guide pamphlet we had picked up, and it said clearly that no firearms were permitted in the Park. It was too late to do anything about our “firearm” so we just continued our trip, no questions were asked. I don’t know if any regulations have changed since then. I’ll be very surprised if any existing ones are relaxed.
My late husband and I spent a lot of time camping in national parks and we always “packed heat.” We also always slept really well.
Bullseye! If that young lady had been carrying she might be alive today.
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Let Freedom Ring,
This kind of article perpetuates the dangerous myth that parks are places only of wonder and innocence, and will only lead more young hikers to peril.
You can leave a comment on a discussion thread right at the MH link. You don’t have to sign in or anything, just comment and submit.
The same applies to Padre Island National Seashore, for the same reasons.
I imagine even the staunchest anti-gun liberal would have a change of heart when they have an 800 lb bear gnawing on their skull.
Even a call to the Hillary campaign at a time like this won’t help you...you have to pack heat to be truly protected.
Another point that the writer missed is that if I'm from Florida and drive my RV to Yellowstone, what am I supposed to do with my firearms while I'm in the park? Should I give up my 2nd Ammendment rights because I plan on visiting or driving through a National Park?
My wife hiked in Vogel SP, alone with one of our Labs, two weeks before that incident. If this 'perp had confronted my wife, I assure you things would have come out much, much differently, if you get my drift......
“Welcome to the American national park system where the camper in the next space over may be packing heat. What a peaceful thought as you try to snooze under the stars. “
Yes, currently I can sleep peacefully at night because there are laws that prevent the campers from packing heat in their tents. </sarcasm>
My Sturm and Ruger .44 mag accompanies me on all camping/hiking trips. Guaranteed to be helpful in confronting black bears and all people intent on doing me harm.
When I’ve gone to national parks, I’ve carried a pistol in deep concealment on my person. It’s not the four legged animals that worry me, it’s the two legged ones that may pop up, particularly in wilderness areas near the Mexican borders.
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