U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns
Why would a doctor be determined to provide more access to guns in the country?
U.S. Senator Thomas Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, will try to do that by introducing an amendment that would bar the Interior secretary from enforcing the current ban on carrying weapons in the parks.
The attempt by Sen. Coburn, who specializes in family medicine and "has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies," has drawn the attention of the Association of National Park Rangers, the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
Sen. Coburn's effort, which you can find attached below, would prohibit the Interior secretary from enforcing regulations currently in place that require gun owners to have their guns unloaded and stored while visiting most units of the park system.
In a letter sent to other senators, (and also attached below) the three groups say Sen. Coburn's amendment not only could lead to an increase in poaching in the parks but also impact the safe atmosphere that currently exists.
Senator Coburn’s amendment could dramatically degrade the experience of park visitors and put their safety at risk if units of the National Park System were compelled to follow state gun laws. For example, since Wyoming has limited gun restrictions, visitors could see persons with semi-automatic weapons attending campground programs, hiking down park trails or picnicking along park shorelines at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Moreover, many rangers can recite stories about incidents where the risk to other visitors – as well as to the ranger – would have been exacerbated if a gun had been readily-accessible. This amendment would compromise the safe atmosphere that is valued by Americans and expected by international tourists traveling to the United States.
There is simply no legitimate or substantive reason for a thoughtful sportsman or gun owner to carry a loaded gun in a national park unless that park permits hunting. The requirement that guns in parks are unloaded and put away is a reasonable and limited restriction to facilitate legitimate purposes—the protection of precious park resources and safety of visitors.
You can contact Sen. Coburn via this site to let him know what you think of his plans.