Feb 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm #1227135
I find it interesting that presidential candidate Ron Paul is introducing legislation (H.R> 1897) to abolish federal gun restrictions in National Parks.
Without getting into a tit-for-tat discussion over broad spectrum gun ownership rights, I was curious as to what others think about this proposal?Feb 5, 2008 at 6:29 pm #1419282
Firearms aren't allowed in National Parks for the general public, with an incredibly small number of exceptions, and this won't change. This is a non-issue, not to mention that Ron Paul is a non-entity in the primary.Feb 5, 2008 at 8:31 pm #1419300
I respectfully disagree that this is a non-issue. Explain how this is a non-issue with 47 Senators signing a letter urging the Bush administration to lift regulations?
Ron Paul will not win the presidency, but that is not the same as saying his run will not have an impact. He's resounded with a segment of voters, who, in a tight contest, will be courted by candidates.
Personally, I have no attachment to the man or his campaign. I am concerned that this rule could be changed.Feb 6, 2008 at 5:45 am #1419341
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
Were the ruling to apply only to the back-country, I could live with it. I certainly don't see much need for it though; and don't think it is likely to happen. But the thought of swarms of armed front-country tourists in the Grand Canyon or Yosemite sure gives me the willies.Feb 6, 2008 at 10:02 am #1419379
In all fairness, I am much more troubled by the urging of 47 Senators than I am by the platform of Ron Paul. Shawn is correct, Paul isn't gong to win the presidency and is a fringe candidate. It's just that park service is a highly political body, at the behest of the Senate for funding.
Introducing guns into the front-country, as Charles suggested, is a bad idea. Accidents will happen. Also, where does someone place their gun in a campground? Their car? Their tent? And inevitably, someone will say they "felt threatened" by some animal and shoot it. Now, this is where it gets tricky. How does one judge the extent of the threat? What happens if they have no experience with said animal or have no idea of what constitutes a threatening animal. I remember the first time I saw a bear while hiking: it was a thrill but at the same time, kind of scary. But I had read up on bears enough to know that if I gave it space, it was likely not a threat. In some parks there are typically enough people around that taking a shot in the front-country places others at risk.
Overwhelmingly, the greatest threat in any wilderness situation comes from the very person who put us there: yourself. Poor judgment (I'm guilty), getting over your head (guilty again), unwillingness to change the plan despite the obvious danger imposed by conditions (guilty)and lack of preparedness (guilty) are responsible for the overwhelming majority of incidents.
Certainly bad things do happen in the National Parks. Things that had a gun been available may have ended differently and a tragedy averted. However, introducing guns would, in my estimation, would introduce new and unacceptable risks.Feb 24, 2008 at 5:21 am #1421807
This looks like it is going to pass. See below.
All gun free zones do is keep the legal citizen from protecting themselves. The criminals don't follow the rules. Sure it makes more sense in the back country, but we can not choose when/where violence will occur.
What legitimate reason is there to limit law abiding citizens from their right to defend themselves in a public place? It's not like you're bringing a gun to Riker's or something. Oh wait… No crimes ever happen in federal parks or buildings. I forgot.
Look at the safe zones on college campus's. They are well meaning but it is a fantasy to think they are effective.
Interior Department To Propose New Rules Regarding Right-to-Carry In National Parks
It would be great if all guns disappeared overnight, but that is not going to happen. Usually the only way to stop violent wacks is with overwhelming force.
Friday, February 22, 2008
After nearly five years of effort by NRA-ILA, the U.S. Department of the Interior has finally responded to the many requests for a change in its policy on carrying and transporting firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. In a letter hand-delivered today to the U.S. Senators who wrote him asking for this policy change, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has directed Lyle Laverty, Assistant Secretary for Fish, Game and Parks, to “develop and propose for public comment by April 30, Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on these lands to reflect existing Federal laws (such as those prohibiting weapons in Federal buildings) and the laws by which the host States govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands.”
“This announcement represents an important and overdue change to now-outdated federal regulations imposed 25 years ago. Once this new federal regulation is proposed, published for public comment and then finalized, law-abiding citizens will have their right to self-defense restored and be able to legally carry and transport firearms through national parks and wildlife refuges for a variety of lawful purposes — just like in national forests and BLM lands,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.
The move for regulatory change by the Administration will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes in most national park lands and wildlife refuges and will make the laws consistent with state law where these lands are located. Fifty-one U.S. Senators from both parties sent a letter to the Department of Interior late last year supporting the move to make state firearm laws applicable to national park lands and wildlife refuges. (Click here to read the letters: Letter 1, Letter 2)
“These changes will respect the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens, and we look forward to the issuance of a final rule this year,” concluded Cox.
To read the NRA Press Release on this development, please click here.
For more information about this issue and the efforts behind it, please visit: http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?ID=3529 .Feb 28, 2008 at 12:01 pm #1422401
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"Without getting into a tit-for-tat discussion over broad spectrum gun ownership rights, I was curious as to what others think about this proposal?"
My only question is how you expect folks to share their thoughts about this GUN proposal — without getting into a tit-for-tat discussion??? :)Feb 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm #1422418
You do it with lots of smileys
;?)Feb 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm #1422423
@alohatinkLocale: In the Middle of No Where!
I found this interesting…Did not even realize hunting of any kind was allowed!! I wonder if this is hunting with rifles, shotguns, or ? guns?!! Perhaps it is limited to bows and arrows…WOW and here I thought I was safe in my little U.L. Single walled tent LOL
Another comment asserted that hunting is a competitive event that
BLM should prohibit. In general, hunting is not a competitive sport,
but the regulations do prohibit organized competitive hunting events.
The regulations treat orienteering in the same way–prohibiting it only
One comment suggested that commercial hunting be prohibited. We
assume the comment refers to commercial guiding and outfitting for
Commercial outfitters often serve as guides for hunters, and
this activity is considered among the recreational purposes
contemplated in the Wilderness Act.Mar 12, 2008 at 3:04 pm #1424078
I think the person painting the picture of hundreds of tourists armed to the teeth is really unrealistic. There are at least a dozen states that have unregulated open carry laws, that means ANYONE who is not a felon can legally open carry almost anywhere in public. Arizona is probably the most open and tolerant of open carry laws. I lived there for 4 years. I would see someone with a gun about 3-4 times a month. Thats it. Out of the thousand of people I passed on the streets, malls, grocery stores, and restaurants, a very very small part of the population actually chose to open carry a gun. So why would we think that people would show up by the thousands armed in national parks if the ban was lifted?
It is simply just not gonna happen that way.Mar 22, 2008 at 4:51 am #1425192
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Disclaimer: I am a strict-constructionist 2nd Amendment guy, so I believe that the phrase "the people" in the Second Amendment means "every individual," just like it does everywhere else in the Constitution. (And the Supreme Court agrees with me.)
However, I will say that I have very little confidence in the judgment and gun-handling skills of the vast majority of Americans, and the thought of running into one armed in the back-country chills my spine. Perhaps I could distract him by tossing a microwaveable burrito into the underbrush and running the other way.
On the other hand, I can think of precisely (only) one good reason to carry a firearm on a hiking trip in North America: Bears. And even that is a stretch. 99.9999999% of bear encounters are non-threatening, I know. That said, if I run into bear number 0.00000001 I want to know that I can take him with me.
I was recently planning an Alaskan trip and was very uneasy about not being able to carry a rifle into a national park. I know that Alaskan natives are not shy about carrying firearms in bear country. Bear spray is good for morale, but discounting individual testaments when one looks at the well-constructed studies no one is really sure how well it works. At all. Rarely, some bears are even attracted to the smell. The Alaskan, B.C., and Yukon natives I talked to seemed to think bear spray is charming, but not very practical.
So I changed my trip to one where I could carry my rifle, even though I had to jump through hoops to do it (because part of the trip was in Canada). Never did see a bear. But that's the thing about guns: You'll probably never need it, but if you do you'll need it VERY BADLY.
But back-country Alaska is a special circumstance, isn't it? As I said, I'm a 2nd Amendment guy, but from an environmental viewpoint I just don't trust most beer-swilling Americans. Thus I also have worries about some camper-cowboys gunning down elk "that were about to charge." Honestly, how can we expect an urbane retired New Yorker who has barely ever left the city to make informed judgments about when an elk constitutes a threat? There are too many people in many (not all) of our national parks as it is, dropping litter and stomping on the undergrowth, and I really don't want those teeming masses armed. They have driven me into the back-country already.
I admit I'm being elitist, here, in that I have no objections to ME going armed. I know what I'm doing. (Seriously.)
Anyway, wouldn't the people who really need a gun in a national park probably be those back-country campers, not the drones there to see Old Faithful? I haven't heard of many bear maulings in the vicinity of Old Faithful. The tourists there are all either in the lodge or camped in massively populated campgrounds. Perhaps a back-country pass could act as a gun permit as well? I think that would be ideal.
Rats, I'm getting really conflicted now, because I just remembered some ruminations of mine about an Appalachian Trail hike. There have been several well-publicized murders on the trail (rare though they are). AT through-hikers make excellent targets because they can't carry a gun for self-defense, since they travel through several areas where that is illegal. I'm not a big guy, so I'm pretty certain that if I ever through-hiked the AT I'd commit at least one felony, because I wouldn't do it without a derringer (American Derringer Co. "Lightweight", 7.5oz not counting ammunition). The most dangerous animal on Earth is man, after all.Apr 1, 2008 at 9:44 am #1426531
@scribblesLocale: Atlanta, GA
How could anyone possibly consider this a non-issue. Anything even REMOTELY related to your constitutional rights should be taken with such seriousness you should be willing to lay down your life for it.
Whether or not you would use this right, you must ask yourself "Will this law unnecessarily infringe on the rights of others?" In this case, yes it would.
Carrying a gun is a personal choice. I have friends who don't care to carry, but they care when they hear their right to choose could be taken away.Apr 1, 2008 at 10:04 pm #1426651
@back2basicsLocale: Southeast USA
Guns are already in the parks. It's just not the norm.Apr 2, 2008 at 7:10 am #1426686
I agree that anything in the Constitution is a big issue. Personally, I'm not a gun owner. I've never carried a gun, I've never shot a gun, and I know little to nothing about gun types, etc.
If you wanna carry a gun, I believe that's your choice, and I support individual choices of freedom. Strange how that works…Apr 4, 2008 at 2:30 am #1427059
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
True, but the website you linked admits that "Big South Fork is one of only a FEW National Park Service units legislated to allow hunting." (My emphasis added.) And although administered by NPS, I don't think it is technically a national park. I thought it was a "National River and Recreation Unit," whatever that means. And you can hunt in national forests, too.
Also, while the debate so far has included hunting use, most of it seems to concern concealed carry for personal defense from animals (especially humans). Does Big South Fork allow concealed carry?
I'll bet it doesn't.May 3, 2008 at 1:54 am #1431380
Well, it seems that the saga of guns in National Parks continues….
News story from Associated Press here —
Quoted from story —-
WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne proposed new regulations Wednesday that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon in some national parks and wildlife refuges.
The new rules would allow someone to carry a loaded weapon in a park or wildlife refuge only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and the state where the park or refuge is located allows guns in parks, Kempthorne said.
End of Quote from Story
Leave it to the Bush Administration to not only sponsor an unnecessary rule, but to implement in a way that is completely flawed.
I cannot understand the rationale to place National Parks under the purview of state gun regulations. Regardless of your views toward guns, the fact is that National Parks are among the safest places in the United States. The "personal protection" angle is, at best, a tepid argument for the inclusion of firearms.
Leaving it up to states will further burden and complicate the rules and regulations faced by our underpaid park personnel. And frankly, I can't imagine a more delightful situation than dealing with some yahoo who pulls out his handgun the minute a bear walks through the campground.May 3, 2008 at 11:07 am #1431421
@blister-freeLocale: Puertecito ruins
I propose a Guns-for-Pepper-Spray exchange program, to be meted out at the National Park entrance stations. Official slogan of the program, "Give a hoot, spray don't shoot."
When it comes to upholding the auspices of our increasingly antiquated national heritage, it seems the constitutional right to bare arms trumps our god-given right to clear skies, clean rivers, and uncluttered horizons. From ego and fear, we posture a strong defense, with increasingly little left to defend.May 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm #1431444
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Amen Brett. I'm a gun owner, and possess them for sport (target shooting) and defense. That being said, there are FAR bigger issues to be tackled on the public land management front than firearms regulations. The greatest dangers to most recreational users stem from abuse, neglect, and the budgetary shortfalls that create them.
I'd like to see 47 members of our Senate send a letter to the Secretary of the Interior expressing outrage at the assualts to our public lands over the eight years of the Bush administration.
Nature needs to be defended from humans far more than humans need defending from nature.May 6, 2008 at 1:32 pm #1431881
This would be a good first step into incorporating the second amendment under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. States and the federal government recognize my state issued drivers license and marriage license, but not a gun carry license. Even though that license entails a federal FBI background check and fingerprinting.
The way I see it this has more to do with the concept of equality under the law more than any descent into pragmatism or paranoid strawmen whipping boys. I mean, it's not as if they have metal detectors and x-ray inspections at the park entrances to keep the dishonest and the predatory from carrying all manner of intimidating and concealable weapons. Forcing permit holders to keep their sidearms disassembled and locked in a car at the trailhead only invites theft. It also sets up our federal servants as our masters. The traditional name for the disarmed class is slave. Either we are equal or we are not.May 8, 2008 at 7:15 am #1432194
@finallymeLocale: Utah desert
You know those crazy people that everyone is worried about carrying in NPs and not knowing how to be responsible and shooting things "willy-nilly", well, they ALREADY carry in National Parks illegally. We call them criminals. By allowing law-abiding citizens to carry in NPs isn't going to decrease your safety in the front-country. Also remember that BLM and National Forests allow guns. Law-abiding citizens carry there all the time. Why don't we hear much about these crazy people shooting up wildlife (apart from legal hunting)? Do you limit your outdoor experience to front-country National Park visits because it is the only "safe" gun free area with only criminals packing? Law-abiding citizens are responsible gun owners and should be allowed to lawfully carry on National Parks.May 8, 2008 at 8:21 am #1432206
It makes ya wanna carry when this happens?
A Giles County man paroled from prison after serving 14 years for killing two hikers on the Appalachian Trail in 1981 now is suspected of shooting two campers just off the trail in Giles on Tuesday.May 8, 2008 at 9:24 am #1432217
I would hardly characterize myself, a disarmed American, as a slave. That is the kind of rhetoric that makes this discussion nearly untenable. Would it be okay if I called the average gun-packing American a slave to his or her own paranoia?
Now, I can understand and even appreciate the argument regarding the right to carry a concealed weapon. Yes, under the Second Amendment, it is your Constitutional right to bear arms. Duly acknowledged.
I would argue, quite convincingly, if I want you dead that no gun in the world is going to stop me from making you dead. I will also acknowledge that in the extremely rare event that you need a gun for self-defense, that it's a very effective deterrent. I can't deny that. There are bad people out there.
Yes, the possibility exists that someone with a gun might shoot me in the woods. Just as a probability exists that I will be a victim of a terrorist act or struck by lightning. I think that probability overwhelmingly suggests that I will not be shot in the woods, that I will not be a victim of a terrorism nor that I will be struck by lightning. Heck, it's a lot more probable that we all die on the trail of a heart attack, and yet I don't see anyone packing a defibrillator out there.
Brett's eloquent treatise of this issue sums it up best from my perspective.
Of all the pressing issues we face in terms of our natural resources including National Parks and Wilderness, why do our Senators seem so concerned about the right of gun owners to bring their weapons into parks? Numerous attempts to gut the clean water and clean air acts have been attempted during the last eight years, and very little in the way of protest can be heard.
Over at whiteblaze.net, there was a recap of the killings on the trail. If I remember correclty, two women (one killed) were attacked by a guy with a .22 rifle when they were basically bushwacked. That's the problem with these things, the element of surprise makes defense very difficult.May 8, 2008 at 10:13 am #1432227
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
There’s considerable thought that this is more of a camouflaged move to assert state administrative rights over national parks and other federal lands under the rubric of “gun rights.” This has been going on since the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion of the early ‘80s.
And when you think about, it’s the perfect ploy, as the tussle over guns always shuffles people to their usual corners for the ritual dung flinging, while the real prizes are yielding to state control over road-building, logging, mining, gas and oil and real estate development of federally controlled land. The irony is rather delicious in view of the current administration’s assertion that states have no right to establish their own emission standards.
For the record, I see zero value in changing the current national parks rules, and further, see nothing good coming from a change to a crazy quilt of fifty different sets of rules within a single national network.May 8, 2008 at 10:23 am #1432230
You bring several salient points I had not considered. That's an interesting perspective and one that merits a lot more discussion. But it does make perfect sense considering what we've seen develop over the past 25 years or so.
Could this same state jurisdiction angle be used to justify oil drilling in Alaska parks and wilderness?
DirkMay 8, 2008 at 11:20 am #1432244
@blister-freeLocale: Puertecito ruins
>>By allowing law-abiding citizens to carry in NPs isn't going to decrease your safety in the front-country.<<
Is that true, though? It's difficult to predict the law of unintended consequences. Legalizing firearms in National Parks would probably mean more visitors packing heat. The majority of visitors are law-abiding citizens, and so it would remain, but gun accidents can still happen, as can poor judgment, and the odds increase as a function of the numbers.
The spirit of the no firearms rule seems most important. National Parks are fundamentally different places than national forest lands. Hunting is not allowed; human behavior is regulated for the benefit of the ecology; preservation is the overarching theme, and the land exists as a sort of museum piece to nature's handiwork. In short, National Parks are controlled environments for the masses. Banning firearms contributes to that spirit of control and order.
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