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Guns in the Parks: A Bad Idea


    Senator George Allen of Virginia, you might say, is leaving Congress with his guns a-blazing.
    The Republican, who was ousted by Democrat Jim Webb, evidently has introduced legislation that would allow gun owners to bring their weapons into national parks, as long as the states the parks are located in don't prohibit the practice.
    Mike Kinsey, writing for Ohioans For Concealed Carry, says, "The arbitrary prohibition of your right to self-defense in a National Park needs to end."
    "Your life is not worth less while visiting one of our country’s beautiful parks than it is anywhere else you may be," argues Kinsey. "Personally, I believe that lonely wilderness trails may be one of the places that I would most want to have my self-defense firearm."
    Great. That's all we need, a backcountry full of pistol-packing hikers ready to take you on. This guy seems a little over the edge to me.
    "...any location that is known to be frequented by tourists would probably be very attractive to criminals," he goes on. "Tourists are generally carrying a lot of money and are unfamiliar with their surroundings. I am certainly not a criminal mastermind. If I can see that this environment makes one more vulnerable to violent attack, I am certain those with less scruples have realized it as well."
    Gee, Mike, we seem to have made it into the 21st Century without a spate of backcountry holdups (although there were a handful of stagecoach holdups back in the early 1900s in Yellowstone).
    Do we really want to legalize toting guns around in national parks? Frankly, I'd feel safer in the backcountry knowing that guns are prohibited rather than worrying that the next person I encounter might be packing heat.


Chris Chubb:

If you do run into a meth lab or back country marijuana farm run by a foreign cartel, they will use AK-47's to keep you from ever leaving. That's what happened a ranger quite recently. How helpful is your handgun going to be in those circumstances?


You have the law wrong. You can carry a firearm in a national park provided it is unloaded an inoperable. No need to re-route your trip; just keep your gun in the trunk. Moreover, your claims in your second post evidently re-stating John Lott's "More Guns, Less Crime" have been widely debunked. That study relied on data generated from 1977-1992; examination of subsequent data reveals that states with the most restrictive gun laws actually enjoyed substantially reduced crime rates, comparable to or greater than those of states who adopted concealed carry laws, or otherwise allowed "shall carry laws." Interestingly, the rates of forcible rape in "shall carry" jurisdictions was markedly higher than in "no carry" areas. See Ayres and Donohue, "Shooting Down "More Guns, Less Crime," Stanford Law Review. It is one of many studies that rely on Lott's data, and subsequent data, to arrive at decidedly different conclusions.

Note to others:

Criminals don't start out as criminals the day they buy their weapons. 53% of women killed in domestic disputes are killed by gun owners, most of whom did not have criminal records and have no prior history of criminal activity. Not everyone that has a gun is a good guy, and the deterrent effect of "the armed good guys" has been proven to be quite modest, and at times completely illusory. It is inconceivable to imagine that back country gatherings, which many rangers report are conducted with copious amounts of alcohol and (often) illegal drugs, could be rendered more safe if every back-country hiker were armed.

And to those of you scared of wild animals, an interesting point; Brown bears killed a total of 18 people between 1980 and 1995 (Herrero); that's 2 people in America per year. Your chances of getting hit by lightning are far greater than your chance of being attacked by a wild animal. I've encountered black bears on trails, and they scrupulously avoid people. Heck, even grizzlies don't consider humans prey, most often limiting their attacks to hunters who are going after them.

On the off chance that a grizzly does attack you unprovoked, pepper spray is a lot more effective than a gun, unless your gun happens to be a .44 Mag or a Desert Eagle.

Guns? cant you use one of your wrestling holds?

Do you think it will change my park experience to be sauntering along a trail in Big Bend National Park, and encounter people carrying rifles? You bet your sweet bippy it will! Ask yourself if it will affect your park experience, as you walk _____________ (your favorite trail) in _____________________ (your favorite park unit), and encounter someone "loaded for bear".

Hey Spectre, sounds like you and Mr. Povich are foaming at the mouth again. You must be blood brothers that never saw a riddled body in the City morgue that was past the age of 21. I have and it makes me angry and sad...especially at people like you who advocate that guns are good for society.

Povich, What truth? The truth that the NRA want's you to preach! Give me a break! Yeah, what? Spend some time in the emergency ward and just see what kind of society were breeding: guns & bullets! I patch them up and also bury them... you would encourage that? Cut down another Christmas tree for the kid that's not going to be around for this Christmas. I'm sure you really care!

Snowbird is worth ignoring...just another ignorant liberal....

Snowbird: "bit would nice if you would plant two trees, one that you just cut down cynically" I didn't cut it down "cynically." It was for the ol' family Christmas tree. A replacement will be planted. Snowbird: "please plant the other in memory of the young man that was shot today by accident" Not too surprisingly, accidental firearm deaths are statistically low relative to the number of firearms in the country (appx. 280 million). But what about the person who slipped and fell and hit their head in the shower (not to mention all of the other fall-induced deaths)? And what about the appx. 100 people who died in automobile accidents? That's a bunch of trees. Let's not forget that thousands of folks are killed each year just by physical violence. Don't have to register fists yet. Additionally, of the 9,369 firearm murders in 2002, 7,176 were actually committed by handgun. Again, mostly criminal on criminal. Snowbird: "Question, don't you ever come up for air?" Yeah, usually to do additional research to back my claims. ;^) I've been through this before and found truth to be the best tool.

Mr. Povich, it would nice if you would plant two trees, one that you just cut down cynically, and please plant the other in memory of the young man that was shot today by accident...check the national morgue registry! Question, don't you ever come up for air?

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