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Senators' Letter to Open National Parks to Concealed Weapons


Attached is the letter a number of senators sent to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking him to overturn the National Park Service's ban on concealed weapons in national parks.


I spent 8 months driving around North America on a motorcycle exploring the multitude of diverse people and places this continent has to offer. I slept on the side of the road, whether that was in city, suburb, rural, or extreme backroads (aka four-wheeler trails). From Wisconsin to Florida to Southern California to Alaska to New Foundland to the East Coast. If there is one lesson I have learned it's that it only takes one use of a normally never used thing during an emergency of life and death to justify carrying it in the first place. It's a life changing experience, until you have it you cannot realize how powerful it is. I didn't carry a gun, but I did carry peppar spray (masquerading as a small fire extinguisher). A gun (or any weapon) is merely a tool, to be used for good or bad. The "bad" will always have a gun, why take away that right for the "good"? This age old question cannot be answered for a reason. I would love to believe we are in a society where there are no "bad" people but that is not yet reality. And as far as defense against wild animals goes, why would we willingly remove a tool that dramatically helped us become a resilient species? Unless of course you think humans in general are just a virus. Try reading the book " Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond. He won a Pulitzer prize with that book for a reason also. Good day.

My wife and I have camped at Acadia National Park in Maine, 12 of the past 15 years. We have never encountered a "derelict" nor any other campers strolling about, packing their weapons. Both facts make us feel happy and secure. Packing a weapon is a sign of insecurity. Think about it.

Get real! I hope you never encounter an angry bear or mountain lion.

That sounds paranoid.

I believe that anyone who has a concealed weapons permit should have the right to legally carry in our national forests. After all, these forests belong to us. Recent events that have occurred in our national forests not only suggest that being armed could have stopped some very hideous crimes, but these crimes demand that since the government can not protect us, we must protect ourselves. Our police forces will tell you that they are there to protect us but really they are there to keep the peace. How often has someone called 911 emergency service with a life and death situation and then been found dead before the police could respond. I am not critisizing the police. They have a very difficult and serious job to perform, and I think they do a good job of it, but they can not be everywhere at the same time. So I feel very strongly in being allowed to defend myself, as I feel that others have that same right. So wheter they allow us to defend ourselves legally or we carry concealed illegally, the choice is up to us. Someone once said " I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six". This is my way of thinking and I hope more feel the same way.

I'm glad to see this issue being discussed, and I believe some modifcations to the current "no firearms in national parks" policy should be made. In my case, I have come across two particular issues. First, as someone who enjoys the backcountry areas of national parks, I would like to be a "legal" carrier of a loaded handgun. My justification being self-defense from dangerous wildlife. (Given the changing weather patterns, I can envision bears becoming more aggressive in the future.) Second, in discussions with rangers/NPS law enforcement personnel, I have personally seen what may only be described as a bias against legal in-park fire arms possession--or a lack of knowledge of actual firearms regulations.
At a minimum, national park firearms policy ought to reflect policies similar to a majority of city/county arrangements found throughout the U.S. (to include concealed carry provisions and associated safety/background checks).

I envision scenarios of armed campground users "protecting their families, in car campgrounds in particular" who end up taking potshots at passersby on their way to the restrooms in the middle of the night. Fearing that "Folks are quite vulnerable in their tents from all kinds of derelicts," they might shoot at anything that moves. Well-intentioned but trigger-happy campers seem to pose more of a threat than "all kinds of derelicts."

I agree...ban alcohol. I think we should ban alcohol. I can't think of any reason why someone should consume alcohol while in a NP. I have been camping and hiking and hunting for over 30 years of my life and I can think of no occasion that I needed an alcoholic beverage. I have however had to scare off animals with a firearm only twice. Once while camping and once while hunting. Indeed my food was in a sealed container hanging in a tree 100 yds from camp. I just couldn't control my breath or gas while I slept. Hey...there's a business idea. Camping mints...kill the food smell on your breath and you'll save rounds of ammunition in your gun. The can also invent a gas cap for the sphincter. Wow...I guess with mints and a cork we don’t' need guns.

Of course I didn't feel as though I needed to call the local news to report said incidents so they must be false if they can't be verified with needed data.

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