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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.


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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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