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NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks

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The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees opposes a change in gun laws in the national park system.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees sees no need to change gun laws in the national parks, saying that allowing the public to carry weapons in the parks could jeopardize the safety of visitors.

Last month, you might recall, the Traveler pointed to an effort by nearly half the U.S. Senate to allow concealed weapons to be carried in the parks. Current Park Service policy allows permitted weapons to be transported through the parks, but they must be unloaded and stored so as they're not readily accessible.

Forty-seven senators, led by Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, don't think that's good enough. He says varying gun laws on federal lands can be confusing to gun holders. (The New York Times pointed out, though, that if gun holders are confused, perhaps they shouldn't be permitted to carry guns.)

In a letter to Representative Nick Rahall, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, the coalition asked that if legislation proposing a change in the current regulations reaches his committee, that it not gain favorable consideration.

We believe that to change these regulations so that visitors might wear or keep firearms close at hand in national parks - guided by differing state laws -could significantly increase the danger to visitors in national parks. Equally worrisome is that such a practice would almost certainly put wildlife in many parks at greater risk, wrote the coalition. Poaching would become easier. And visitors who believe that carrying a firearm provides them with extra “security” and the authority to shoot animals would be far more likely to use deadly force whenever they feel the slightest threat. Information gathered by State and Federal wildlife management organizations throughout the country overwhelmingly indicates that both people and wildlife are safer when guns are not the first choice when people feel threatened.

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Oh yes, I'd feel safe camped next to a confused gun-loaded holder. NOT! A loaded gun at your side may makes you feel brave in a national park where wildlife has the right-of-way, especially when you stumble into the path of a bear because you're not paying attention - feeling brave. What about poachers; the people that will have "license" to kill whatever they want? I don't want to ever see anything like this! But I especially don't want to see some child hurt or killed by a wayward shot. The parks have done fine without loaded weapons. Why change the law now?


I agree most people with conceal carry permits are less likely to pull or use their weapon, because they know that pulling that weapon can in most cases cause them to wind up with feloney charges. I as a gun carrying American hope and prey I never have to use my gun on another person but with our world today I will not think twice about using it to protect or defend myself or my family. Most people who carry know that a gun for self protection is not the same gun you use for hunting. I think we/I have more respect for wildlife in their natural enviroment than you uneducated anti gun people, which are the same people who I've seen trying to walk up to wild animals to either pet them or try to feed them even though there are signs telling them not to approach animals .


If you read the Constitution, you'll see that the Second Amendment states "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." There's been some argument over what these phrases mean, but it really seems to be common sense to me. The current federal law permits people to keep their guns while traveling in national parks, but it denies them the right to bear, or carry, guns on federal land. Each federal employee takes an oath to defend the entire Constitution, not just parts that individual likes. I suggest that if the NPS wants to keep people from carrying guns on federal land, then the Constitution, specfically the Second Amendment, needs to be amended, not ignored.


This isn't supposed to be about gun people bashing anti-gun people and vice versa. This is about the safety of the parks, the safety of wildlife and the safety of people. I don't oppose owning a concealed permit, but there is a time and a place and the parks are not the place to carry. Follow the law (don't change it) and just enjoy a nice visit to our wonderful parks.


So all the wilderness and animal lovers actually believe that the concealed permit holders HAVE NOT been camping or hiking along side of them for years. Naive!
I can assure you that many more people than you know have carried pistols in their backpacks. Haven't heard of any Dodge City shootouts around the campfires, or piles of dead wolves and grizzlies.
The senators are only trying to keep otherwise law-abiding people from becoming convicted felons, if they should get caught with a handgun in their backpack. The same gun that they have probably been hiking with for years, and not felt the need to shoot man or beast yet.


I have been hiking all over the US and overseas. For the most part I have carried a firearm every time, with the exception of Hawaii, and Europe. I have never needed to use it, but it gave me great comfort knowing it was at my disposal. I find it unthinkable that I could be arrested for carrying a pistol in the dangerous back country. Especially when you can go for long periods of time before someone could come to aid you after an attack from either wild animal or man. I would feel that my Govt. was at fault and forced me into unnecessary danger by denying me the right to bare arms in the wilderness.


The senators are only trying to keep otherwise law-abiding people from becoming convicted felons, if they should get caught with a handgun in their backpack.[i/]
Doesn't make you much of a "law abiding citizen" if you're willfully disregarding the current the law, does it?

I find it unthinkable that I could be arrested for carrying a pistol in the dangerous back country.[i/]
I've spent numerous nights in the backcountry. Just where is this alleged "dangerous" territory?

I would feel that my Govt. was at fault and forced me into unnecessary danger by denying me the right to bare arms in the wilderness.[i/]
Oh, please.............

The current federal law permits people to keep their guns while traveling in national parks, but it denies them the right to bear, or carry, guns on federal land.[i/]
Wrong. The current law prohibits carrying LOADED firearms in the national parks. You can keep you weaponry cased and in your possession at all times, provided the piece is UNLOADED. Let's attempt not to misrepresent the facts for our own benefit.

I think we/I have more respect for wildlife in their natural enviroment than you uneducated anti gun people,[i/]
Funny how anyone who disagrees with our viewpoint is immediately tagged "uneducated". I take umbrage with your stereotyping, and will compare favorable in any educational forum you desire. Bet on it.

Laws are for the law-abiding, not criminals.[i/]
Again, not quite true. Criminals are deemed as such due to their purposefully ignoring societal rules and regulations. Anyone can be a "non-criminal element". It's a choice we all make, every day, in many aspects of our daily lives, hopefully with some fore-thought as to the consequences associated with the wrong choices.

The tax code is confusing to most, should we stop paying taxes? [i/]
DEFINATELY!!! You really need to ask?

Well put Jon!

and all of us "hick" gun owners are so dumb)[i/]
Guilty conscience? I never saw the term "hick" in the text of the Times article referenced above. And by the way, many laws vary from state to state, including basic automobile operations, business practices, warranties, schooling, marital prerequisites, etc. And as any judge or peace officer will attest to, "ignorance of the law is NO excuse".
That was a pretty poor arguement on your part. One could just as well reply with sonething akin to "show me the data that purports to raise the safety levels in areas where persons with concealed weapons trod". In neither instance does the data exist.

I like your logical tirade Barky. One a a pitiful few comments in this segment that elicits any manner of thought progression sans emotion and testosterone.

I'm back Kurt!! Hope the holidays went well for you all.


Awesome...It's great to have Lone Hiker to tell us all how stupid we've been. With all the time he spends posting for the anti-gun platform we'll be singing sweet songs to each other in no time. Talk about a last word freak! If he truly feels that the data doesn't exist on either side of the isle then why would he feel it's a better option to limit the freedoms of those who have a preference? I'm not truly asking you to answer Lone Hiker (although obviously you will...it's called a rhetorical question). We know the reason you will answer is because you have to be the one to set everyone straight on each and every line item on national parks. When is the last time you were actually able to look at an issue and step out of your own experience? (Rhetorical questions again....you can't get out of your own experience) Stop trying to limit other people’s freedoms and worry about your own. If you don’t' want to defend yourself then stop trying to take the ability away from other people.


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