Senators Pushing To Allow Concealed Weapons in National Parks

Should national park visitors be allowed to carry concealed weapons?

There's a move under way in the U.S. Senate to have Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne reverse the National Park Service's ban against the public carrying concealed weapons in the national parks.

This is a highly charged issue, as long-time readers of the Traveler well know. The latest push is being led by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican. Mr. Crapo says the Park Service's ban needs to be overturned in part because different land-management agencies have different rules on concealed carry and that can be confusing to gun owners. The senator also claims the prohibition infringes gun owners' rights.

In a somewhat related matter, Texas officials who want to sell the Christmas Mountains, a nearly 9,300-acre range near Big Bend National Park, are resistant to selling the land to the Park Service because of its ban on weapons.

Comments

I am a licensed Florida gun owner. There is no facility for checking my weapon when entering a local National Park. My choice is leaving the weapon at home (not an option) or locking it in my car. Another poor choice.

What part of "NO" don't you understand, Senator? This policy is only confusing to the lower intellects on the evolutionary scale. Your freedom and your "rights" ends the minute my freedom to my family's safety is threatened, whether that threat is real, or just "an accident waiting to happen". I know, you're just carrying your gun to protect you from the big bad bears and mountain lions, right? Maybe my cross-bow would be a welcomed visitor too. What the hell, why stop at guns? How 'bout we bring in some grenades and a laser range finder too! Bet those mean old cougars wouldn't stand a chance against that arsenal.

This is a classic example of what happens when a politician loses what little brains they had prior to being elected to public office and is then subjected to the influence of the NRA and various other lobbyists.

Bruce, the worst choice of all is taking your weapon into the public arena. Cant' find a secure vault to keep the piece in at home?

It would be nice to live in a Utopian society where all the bad people stay at home and we can count on individuals to live up to the social morals we hold dear to us. That would be beautiful. It would be nice if we could count on everyone to drink responsibly and not get behind a wheel of a car. It would be great if we didn't have to worry about a pervert putting an image of an erection in Disney movie just so he can laugh with his cartoonist buddies. It would be incredible if marijuana was used just for medicinal purposes (maybe we'd stop hearing about how it's better for clothing than cotton....LOL). Ah peace and love....it sounds great. It's also safe to assume that if someone wants to target children they will continually find places where children go (i.e. family vacation areas or maybe even a national park). A lot of people would assume that we have the second amendment so we can protect our homes from intruders but I highly doubt that Thomas Jefferson had a bunch of masked men enter his home looking for new stereos. More than likely, the writer and signers of the declaration intended we had the RIGHT to protect our "pursuit of happiness". At the time this was intended against Tyranny (a government that doesn't fear its people rules its people). Basically we have the right to own any weapon to compete against our own military so that if it were needed we could defend ourselves against our own government. So while it's funny to you that someone would protect their family in the realm of "PUBLIC PROPERTY"...and you use clever remarks about bears and cougars because you have seen then in the wild and feel all warm inside, to me it's a sad state of our government that our 2nd amendment right has been reduced to discussion point of where and when I have the right to have the ultimate ability to level the playing field with any "would-be evil doer". Here's a challenge...find the number of times individuals like Bruce or I (Concealed Carry Permit Holders) have used our weapons to hurt families. Don't be childish. It's time to look at the truth. Good people with guns don't make news. You are a product of modern media. What if you are wrong on guns? What if Bruce or I had our gun in a N.P. and saved you or your family from someone who intended you horrible harm? Should we go to jail? Should we have our gun taken? C'mon don't hide behind what sounds good at a dinner party.

Perhaps this will cause a boom in the bullet-proof tent industry.

I've spent approaching 500 nights out in wilderness areas throughout the 48 states and a few places in southern Canada. I've never been in a survival situation where a deadly weapon would have been an effective solution to the problem. As far as I can recall, I've never even heard, second-hand from someone who was there, of a situation where a deadly weapon would have been the most effective solution to their predicament.

That doesn't mean such situations might not exist. But by several orders of magnitude, people more often meet unpleasant fates by hypothermia, and then less frequently, by drowning, suffocation, or falls. Attacks by animals and humans are much fewer by comparison. (My unquantified sources are a combination of anecdotal discussions with SAR experts, and frequent review of daily reports from various national parks.)
__________
The WildeBeat "The audio journal about getting into the wilderness"
10-minute weekly documentaries to help you appreciate our wild public lands.
A 501c3 non-profit project of Earth Island Institute.

Well, for those of you promoting guns in national parks for safety, here's a tidbit of information for you. Success in using bear spray as a deterrant to attacks from wildlife -- 94%; success in using guns as a deterrant from wildlife attacks: 60%. Any questions?

Further, how many people are threatened by others in National Parks? Not enough, if any, to allow the gunners in. I feel safer WITHOUT the guns thank you.

Can someone produce some hard statistics or a study that can back up Anon's statements? It would be nice to be able to point to something specific instead of making claims without giving the source (no offense).

---
jr_ranger
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Emerson
http://tntrailhead.blogspot.com

Your 2nd Amendment right was originally intended to field a militia to support, as in function as, not supplant the military. When the Bill was written, the newly founded States had no national military, unlike those with whom we were warring such as France and England. We possessed no naval capability either. To "level the playing field" as you say, the government solicited assistance from farmers, businessmen, stable hands, preachers, and whoever else could effective fire a weapon in DEFENSE of the nation as it stood at that time. So your entire tirade, based on the statement "Basically we have the right to own any weapon to compete against our own military so that if it were needed we could defend ourselves against our own government" is completely inaccurate. Typical NRA disinformation, intended solely to cloud the issue and sway the opinion of the ignorant masses by adding the emotionally charged "defending against the government" rhetoric. Unfortunately for that crowd, I've read more than just the opening sentence of the 2nd Amendment, studied US history extensively and have the ability to think for myself, not be easily influenced by the fire and brimstone rants of special interest groups.

Nice try though.

Insofar as my attitude being childish, a more accurate assessment is that of being realistic, unlike the stance which you support. I propose to you that the instant someone discharges a weapon in public they are placing any "civilians" who happen to be in the vicinity at imminent risk. Whether intending or directing personal harm or not, and I have to assume that yours would not be so, is not the issue to debate in the least. Your "logic", if it can be referred to as such, is based on hyperbole and as such is not sufficiently grounded in reality. And for what it's worth, I couldn't possilby be a "product of the modern media", most of whom actually support your side of the issue at hand. I support law enforcement, to whom private citizens carrying concealed weapons , legally or not, are an accident waiting to happen. Consult your local agency before spouting data purporting the success ratio of the number of "bad guys" taken down by private citizens versus the number of accidental deaths (mostly children), crimes of passion by pissed off drunks and other bodily injuries directly attributable to the card carrying (and other) gun owners of our land.

And I'm SO sure that the national parks are teeming with "evil doers" that you have no other recourse but to enter armed to the teeth, right? If you're that much in fear of your life during a walk in the woods, stay home. Or go practice at the gun range. But keep that stupid machine away from the general unsuspecting public.

This is a law that is way past due being changed. Many NPS campgrounds house derelicts who overstay their allowed period and pose a reasonable risk to families. I, as well as many folk I am sure carry anyway to protect our families.
Most rangers wouldn't mind good law-abiding citizens packing anyway, for to possess a concealed-carry permit one has to pass a background check.

Well, there is a very simple rule. You may carry a weapon in those federal areas where you are allowed to hunt. And you are not allowed to carry it, where hunting is not permitted. If you have to think twice, in which category the National Parks fall, well - congratulations - you just qualified for a seat in the Senate.

I travel to the States from the UK each year to visit your wonderful National Parks. I think I've seen about 80 or so Parks and Monuments over the course of maybe a year's travel in total. Not once have I ever felt threatened, intimidated, suspicious or otherwise alarmed by my fellow park-goers. To be honest in all that travel around your country I haven't ever felt any of the above emotions outside the parks either. I'm sure I could if I wandered to the wrong places, but I try to be a sensible traveller.

So, then, as an outsider, I can't see any need to have a concealed firearm about my, or anyone else's person in a National Park. What would you use it for? How many people get murdered, raped or robbed inside the Park system each year? Would that figure be any lower if deadly weapons were allowed in? I really don't think it would and suspect it might even rise.

Looking in from afar the American attitude to guns really does seem very strange and very polarised. There seems to be very little middle-ground.

Lone Hike, I totally agree with your comments which are well structured with excellent points.

Your comment is perfect...Our original military was brought about by farmers and other common men to form a militia to overthrow its current government which had become corrupted. Our argument will continue to go in circles because you simply feel that "the people"(2nd amendment) is talking about a collection of men as 1 body (which is government, and that would be gov. infringing on gov.) and I feel that "the people" is talking about each individual rights. While you feel there is no reason to carry a gun and carrying by a law-abiding citizen is dangerous. I feel that I should carry so that I won't have to use it. Every time you hear a story of a sad gun attack you want to blame special interests instead of the sad reflection of the degradation of society. I see that it's all the more reason that I need to carry and protect myself. You see violence as something that can have a happy "sit around the campfire and cry" ending. I feel that I am more realistic in knowing that bad people will always exist and I should have the right to protect myself. You feel that a good government will always stay that way. I feel that the evolution of all government everywhere is to limit freedoms. Our system is setup so politicians want to pass more and more laws so that they can say "look at me! Look what I did!" With virtually no sunset on laws eventually there will be a time when all freedoms are gone. You feel that when this time comes we can all sit around a table and talk it out and everyone will have common interests and want to have a common ground. I feel that a view of history will show that men have their own selfish desires and the only way government can be changed (eventually....not immediately) is through drastic means. When government wants its people to comply with just or unjust laws they use lethal force (eventually). What happens when the people want to have a new government in say…150 years? What happens when they want to retake their freedoms and take power back from the few? What happens when our own US military rapes, tortures and stores in a shipping container, a Halliburton employee and Dick Cheney and George Bush and the “good-ol’ boys club” just want to cover it up for each other? Do you really think corruption will stay stagnant? Do you feel that it won’t get worse? I’m just trying to be realistic. The world would be better without violence and bad people. (At least from my prospective). I just don’t believe it’s gonna happen.

I can't believe with the rate the world is falling apart with all the shootings that we have to ask permission from anyone to protect ourselves. Isn't carrying a gun that simple? I haven't owned a gun in years only becuase I can't afford it. If anything should happen they should make it easier to get one.

Joel is the only one who's not making personal attacks. What he said is reality. I have 4 kids and I'm a single mom. I love to watch cops and pepper spray doesn't stop drugged out freaks. I don't care about what you want. I want my kids protected and that is why I carry my berretta .380. I can't believe you can watch a few incidents a year and think that gun violence is the norm. Most people are good people who want to protect themselves.

This is an old, volatile issue. I go hiking to SEE the creatures of the woods, not to SHOOT the creatures of the woods. However, to wander off in the wilderness without some form of self-defense is dangerously irresponsible. You would never think of hiking without a first-aid kit or matches, would you? The same goes for other "one chance in a million" emergencies.

Currently I don't hike in National Parks because I can't bring my pistol with me. I assume people who don't want me to carry my pistol don't hike in places that DO allow concealed-carry for the same reason. Of course, you must remember that the "bad guy" will be carrying his pistol whether it's legal or not, wherever you go. Laws only apply to the "law-abiding", NOT the criminal.

Here is the link where you can read about the countless occurrences of self-defensive uses of firearms. Read for yourself, then decide. By the way, as a typical concealed-carry permit holder, I have had THREE FBI background checks. Bad guys don't take background checks; THINK about it ......

http://www.keepandbeararms.com/opsd/

Just a quick note from the editors: While the give and take of comments is interesting, let's try not to stray into personal attacks, which will be edited out. Please try to stick to constructive input.

Thanks.

Let's face it folks, the NRA has held this country hostage with fear for years, and fear sells at your local gun shop. Spend some time at the city morgue and observe the dead bodies on the gurneys from gun violence. I have and it makes you puke!

Have you ever visited the morgue and seen how many people were in there who had died of a drug overdose? All violent deaths are bad. We must pursue prevention. Making something illegal only makes good media coverage. It does NOT prevent illegal activity.

Disinformation #1-
You feel that a good government will always stay that way.
Find me any mention of this quote in the text of my comments. You can't, because I never made this comment or inferred this opinion in any manner. At least have the decency to accurately quote my commentary.

Disinformation #2-
I can't believe you can watch a few incidents a year and think that gun violence is the norm
Gun violence is a daily occurrence throughout our nation. Accidental shootings, drive-by's, acts of domestic violence and the more typical injuries caused by the firing of a weapon during the commission of more "traditional" crimes can in NO way be classified as "a few incidents a year". The ignorance in this statement is overwhelming.

However, the aptly stated term within this context is "gun violence". It is that indeed. For what purpose do you suppose guns were invented if not for violence? As collector's items? For display purposes? Paperweights?

Disinformation #3-
a collection of men as 1 body (which is government, and that would be gov. infringing on gov.)
This may be the best of all.......Since when is every collection of men as 1 body classified as a government? What manner of ridiculous notion brought you that bit of wisdom?

Disinformation #4 & 5
Every time you hear a story of a sad gun attack you want to blame special interests instead of the sad reflection of the degradation of society
I feel that the evolution of all government everywhere is to limit freedoms
Other references above state things about the degradation of society as a whole and the govenment effectively strengthening it's stranglehold on personal liberties as the catalyst for "drastic actions" being required as a call to arms. Half correct. The liberties that were endowed upon us by the founding fathers were already in question at the time those original documents were being constructed. Research writings authored by Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and other "signers", and you will quickly discover that they had doubts whether a society would evolve that could maintain order within these guidelines, as too high a moral standard was required by EACH individual in order for the entire system no to implode. And implode is indeed has, for exactly the reasons forecast by these well-meaning, idealistic men. The only mistake they made was in not allowing for what they knew from history to be reality, that being the insatiable greed and immorality of men. As men exhibit more tendencies towards those ends, indeed efforting to escape the law, or at the very least circumvent it, most assuredly additional laws MUST be enacted to countermand that mindset and close loopholes. It is due to the immaturity of society as a whole that we are forced to enact laws, and our eacape from tyranny is to escape the hold that special interest place upon the government, not the government per se.

Our nation currently stands on the precipice of lawlessness, with no personal accountibility to anyone for anything, yet you feel somehow that this is due to the government? In a way, perhaps you're correct. The basic structure of our laws has allowed for this usurption of the "letter" to be confused with the "intent" of the law, thus encouraging social degradation by those in powerful positions, and unfortuantely for you, these are generallly NOT the ruling bodies, but the weathly businessmen BEHIND those in power. Then, like any good puppeteer, you find men upon whom you can endow the vestiges of power and prestige, but are willing to pay the heavy price of functioning as your marionette. They become your point man, your flunky, your fall guy, functioning only to keep your hands clean. If they win, they owe you. If they lose, they take the fall. What is it about our system of government as it relates to internal compliance and subserviance to special interests that you're not able to comprehend? You're targeting the wrong people.

If you are so sure that a view of history will show that men have their own selfish desires and the only way government can be changed (eventually....not immediately) is through drastic means, you had best be certain that you're weaponry is pointed in the correct direction. If you all were so bold as to back up this paranoid diatribe with actions, and had any foresight at all, you would quickly realize that we stand at the brink of your dreams. After 8 years of ineffective leadership and with an overall public approval rating at it's lowest in our history, our current governing body is ripe for the taking. Over the course of the next 10 months, if your group had the stones enough to "walk the walk", you could leave the existing structure in the hands of a true incompetent, from which it would fall fast and hard in a heartbeat. Then you could direct your ire at the street gangs who give gun owners a bad reputation. Then you could clean up organized crime. Then you would be free to deal with the illegal aliens and the sea of internal terrorist, which by the way, would be exactly what you've evolved your organization into, like it or not. Then as the next holier than thou group targets you as you did the previous ruling body, you can take the self-righteous attitude of saying, "But look at all the things we've done for you" as they vent their frustrations on you. And on, and on, and on, which is why in civilized circles these ideals to which you hold dear are referred to as a "cycle of violence".

But enough of the dark side of human nature. Until we can all be intelligent enough to see through the "fog of war" so competently laid down by big business, we have no hope as a society. Happy holidays, if you believe in such things, to you all!

The Casper Star-Tribune has an editorial out yesterday that I think clears up some of the issues. They come out against firearms in the parks not because they are anti-gun rights but say that the claim of inconvenience to gun owners is unfounded because all the regulation is interpreted to mean is that the gun has to be disassembled or in the trunk. So, people passing through can have their guns. They just can't have them right next to them ready to use in the front seat.

I do think the ideological questions are important because they suggest something about government, about people, about their relationship with each other. That's what this discussion is about; it's just too bad that the discussion is fancied up by the senators as though this is really a practical consideration that needs immediate policy attention. Has anyone here ever asked whether they were carrying a firearm either when entering or while in a park? That would be an interesting poll question. (I never have in hundreds of encounters with rangers.) Because, if not, and if the policy really allows people to carry them through anyhow, then the dressing here is taken away, and people can have the important values question discussion.

I think that people avoid that discussion and couch it in practical window dressing in order to cherry pick support to make it seem as though one view is in the majority (I used to criticize fellow pacifists for trying to do the same in co-opting opposition against the war in Iraq). It would be much better that people had the confidence of their convictions to make the argument on the strongest possible grounds by acknowledging the strongest possible argument of one's opponents. Then, we might get somewhere here.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

This is just the same stuff politicians dust off and put out into the public debate when they want to energize their base before an election. And we're all the bunch of idiots who fall for it every time. There are so many more important issues these bozos can't seem to find the time to work on -- health care for children and the elderly, improved veterans' benefits, energy independence, the affordability of a college education, the accelerating destruction of global resources, Social Security solvency, and the list goes on.

Probably the best point of all Merryland...here here! I guess anyone of us would be shocked if the otherside suddenly said....Gee, I never thought of it that way and then changed our minds. Merry Christmas to all.

In western Montana the locals have more brains than to go camping in Glacier Park because of the Grizzly bears and out of control people from all over the USA and only the visiting Idiots go there.
The rest of us Montana’s with common sense go to other places in the mountains where we can carry guns and be safe.
It should definitely be legal to carry a firearm in the parks..............!

I'll keep this simple-I never even thought of carrying a concealed weapon until I heard about the lone girl hiking with her dog in Georgia. Some nut kills her for no reason other than he is a psycho nut. If she had a right to carry she could have defended herself against this nut. She is just one example of the many. How sad for her family. It sounds like you have a family, you are the protector of that family...what if you were to come across this nut or the many others that are out there that wanted to do your family harm. Don't you think the bad guys know they can prey on your family in the parks because sane good people are not allowed to carry protection. Sure they know this that is why they stalk in these areas. Your comment about bears and mountain lion is valid, they sure do exist but the human predators are also out there. Just the truth, doesn't mean I wouldn't like to live in your world where there are no bad people. But you are in a dream world. I am a mom of 2 and when I go out hiking with my children I want to be able to protect them from the bad guys if we encounter one. Hopefully we don't but if we do I sure want to use whatever it takes to defend my family. You can take anything over the top if you want to by saying where does it stop...A CCW stands for concealed meaning my little 38 fits in my pocket....there are regulations that go along with having this permit that must be adhered to. Talk to the victims families instead of siding with predators...my gosh you are a man, where is your protective instinct?

Your lack on understanding confounds me. You must live in a shell and never be exposed to the real world if you don't believe the necessity of self defense and firearms. Maybe you will turn up as one the the "lone hikers" found to be the victim of crime on a hiking trail with no way of defending yourself. I hope for your sake that you are not caught in the same circumstance as Meredith Emerson, recently murdered while hiking in NC. I'm sure she did not understand the need for firearms either.

I must assume your comments were pointed in my direction due to your poor reference to my user ID. The only item that should confound you is your and many other posters to these gun issues lack of original thought regarding methods of self-defense. It seems as though without your guns you're totally out of your element, which doesn't bode well for you in times of true crisis when one is forced to respond in an emergency with quick thinking and actions rather than brute force. The sad truth of the matter is that if and when one of you is finally confronted with an armed person intent on doing harm, your weapon will be of little use since they will already "have the drop on you" as the saying used to go. Generally, in this type of encounter, the person who "displays" first has neutralized the other party most effectively, to the point of relieving you of your "protection", if you should be in possession of such. That's the cold reality of these encounters, which is never told by the NRA. What logic do you follow that because your piece is "concealed" that you'll be any more safe than would anyone else? Is it the general consensus that unless your gun is visible you're assumed not to be carrying? Is it also conventional wisdom that dictates you won't be assaulted prior to your ability to utilize your weapon? Do any of you really believe that these creitons give a rat's ass if you're armed or not? The chances of you escalating your attacker's norepinepherine level to an most unfavorable conclusion by them detecting your arms are now far greater, since they feel you were out to do THEM harm and thereby why would they not seek to end the perceived threat to THEIR lives?

And just exactly what in your lack of critical thinking skills would make you assume that I and others like myself are not equipped to defend ourselves, just because we make the conscious effort to NOT carry the extra burden of firearms? Speaking strictly for myself, I have no issues with one of these lower-intellect morons "relieving" me of my chosen method of protection. That's actually what I'm counting on if such an incident were to occur. Go ahead, take it......by all means, open it! That will serve as your last action on God's earth, and provided I'm still alive, yes, I will indeed sleep soundly at night knowing there's one (or more) less of them in the world. If I'm not still alive, 1-for-1 is a fair exchange, and since I'm not trying to set any longevity records, I could care less. I like my plan much better. It's lighter to carry, doesn't look dangerous and I don't have to be concerned with being accurate. Simple and fool-proof, what could be better? I can't be responsible for the fact that you didn't think of it first and chose the hard way.

As a veteran in a wheelchair I always carry my concealed weapon because you just never know who wants to do you harm. This includes are national parks. I have very few options if me or my family were in danger. I wish I lived in Lone Hikers world but I dont I live in reality.

Dear Lone Hiker. I live in Cody wyoming and something that big city folks do not understand because they have been brainwashed for years now is that the honest concealed weapons permit holders are not your enemy! These folks have been through complete background checks and are found to be quality citizens and are the most decent patriotic folks I have ever known. Do you really believe that criminals don't travel into National Parks? Do you really believe that while camping in one of these parks no one in the very same campground is already carrying weapons, and that a percentage of these folks aren't of a criminal mind set? One more thing, you either believe in all of the constitution or you believe in none of it! You cannot pick and choose which rights you wish to believe in. You may not agree with all of them but as a true American you must stand up to protect them. I do not believe that the 1st amendment was written to protect Hollywood scum bags from bad mouthing our country and putting porn on cable T.V. but I have to stand up for the 1st amendment as an American and you and others need to do the same for the 2nd. What you do not seem to realize is that if we loose one of our amendments others will follow and the it will be to late. You and your children are completely safe being around concealed weapons permit holders. In fact, if something were to happen these same folks may save your life and the lives of your family. not the other way around.

Yes, bear spray works. I live in Wyoming and know this. What you need to understand is that this is not about bears. This is a right of the people and if you are afraid of the honest man who carries a gun [then] you are afraid of freedom and should think about moving to Europe.


Dear Anonymous:

what is it about a certain strain of opinionators who seem to say THEIR opinion is simply about freedom, and everyone who disagrees should just leave the country?

Is it the SIMPLICITY of it, and the inability to recognize the complexity of the situation? Or is it the inability to tolerate any opinion but their own, and to seek a country with people exactly like them? Will these people remain wracked in anxiety as long as they can identify the possibility of any other point of view? And when they achieve such beautiful uniformity in the USA, will they be content to stop here, or find causes of anxiety and instability throughout the world??

Now, tell me again, what is your idea of freedom? You can use the little words, it will be ok.


Dear Anonymous:

I was thinking about your comment " this is not about bears.. . . this is a right of the people. . "

You make this sound as if a Right does not have a practical basis. All the points were put there in the constitution because they actually MEANT something and were NEEDED.

Did you hear the Mayor of Chicago rant about the Supreme Court Decision and the rule of law? He seemed to be saying that we have come a ways in our civilization, it was now a body of law, and individual guns alone are no longer required to create 'order.' I think, originally, guns were permitted, among other reasons precisely because of bears and the peoples' need to protect themselves. Also because at the time, we had no standing army.

Times change. Oliver Wendel Holmes said dishonestly crying "FIRE" in a crowded theater was not free speech. so, just how many theaters do you think actually existed when the Framers wrote "congress shall make NO LAW . . " abridging free speech? Do you think Holmes was right to place the original provision in the context of the current reality?

Rights exist in the real world. They are not abstractions.

I just read the thread about the kid being tossed by the bison. I was thinking: what would have happened if the parents had a gun? If they had a gun, "honest" or not, I hate to think what would have happened next.

Unless you are seeking the right of revolution -- are you?? -- there is no practical basis in today's world for guns in parks. The discharge of weapons, inevitable if guns are permitted, compromises the peace and quite for people and wildlife that are essential to a national park.

Your statistic "crimes of passion by pissed off drunks and other bodily injuries directly attributable to the card carrying (and other) gun owners of our land. " is simply not true. Those types of crimes are commited by people not legally carrying a weapon. Please get your facts straight before you start spouting that off. There are very very few incidents of people licensed to carry being involved in shootings at all, and even less where any criminal behavior is involved.

Your arguments show a serious lack of maturity as well. "Keep that stupid machine away..." wow you sound intelligent. Please if you are going to be involved in this kind of a discussion be an adult about it. Not a deliquent.

I would encourage you to show me any specific instance where a legal concealed weapon carrier illegally used his weapon to shoot someone or something in public. Good luck, you will need it.

Thanks for your input, it was not useful or tasteful, nor did it argue your point very well. Please review some tips on debating before speaking again.

Have you ever had a bear come at you? Have you ever been hiking and come across a mother an cubs? Any person with any intelligence can tell you have never been outside your shallow world. Don't talk about bears and cougars until you actually come across one that is aggravated or aggressive. [Edited for unacceptable language] look at the facts. I would be more than happy to welcome you to my home and introduce you to a brown bear. That would be far too intimidating for you so maybe just a black bear for starters; they are far less aggressive. Where are you from again? Have you ever seen a wild animal that is know to hunt man?

Dear anon: your point is?

I have encountered a black bear with two cubs in a distance of less than 15 feet. I have to admit though, that it happened just across the border in Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada, so US gun laws did not apply anyway. I did not carry any weapon, not even pepper spray, and it took place close to developed areas while I was on an evening stroll. There was no aggression involved, just an accidental encounter on the trail that was by far too close for my taste. I retreated talking softly so fast that I don't even have a picture. The ranger I met in the valley minutes later told me that she and her cubs were well known and not aggressive at all.

So what is your point about this issue? Are you in favor of carrying firearms in National Parks? And what good would that have done in my case? A bear with cubs coming out of the vegetation less than 15 feet away from you: If she is aggressive you have already lost. No way you can get any weapon out and use it in time. And what good would a hand gun do against a charging bear anyway?