University Shooting Doesn't Bring A Halt to Interior Department's Review of Weapons Ban in Parks
This week's deadly shooting at North Illinois University hasn't prompted the Interior Department to table a request that it lift the ban against carrying loaded weapons in national parks. It only spurred the department to postpone consideration of the matter until next week.
According to the New York Times, Interior officials were to announce today that they would reconsider the existing ban against "concealed carry" in the parks. The shooting Thursday prompted the department to put that matter off until next week, the newspaper's editorial board said.
And so, out of respect for the dead and injured, who were killed by a handgun and a shotgun, the Interior Department has —what? Changed its mind? Thought better of its plans? No. It has merely postponed its announcement until next week.
Given the current political climate — in which the National Rifle Association calls the shots in Washington — we expect to hear soon that it will be legal to carry a loaded gun in the national parks. Fifty-one senators, all of them feeling the pressure of the NRA, have written to the Secretary of the Interior asking for this change.
If Illinois had allowed concealed carry on university campuses, would that have prevented the deadly shooting? We'll never know. But when was the last time you heard of someone with a concealed weapon, someone who wasn't a security guard or off-duty police officer, step forward in such a situation?
A year ago there was a deadly shooting in a Salt Lake City mall. And yet in Utah, one of the most conservative states in the nation and one where concealed carry is legal, only an off-duty police officer stepped forward to confront the shooter.
In the wake of Thursday's rampage the predictable debate over the pros and cons of concealed carry was contained in an article published today by Newsweek.
This is an emotionally charged debate, one that there doesn't currently appear to be a logical solution to -- there are countless Americans who believe they should be allowed to carry a weapon wherever they go, and just as many who find that appalling.
To find the national parks -- places of incredible beauty, poignant history, and even the cauldron of our country's birth -- the latest battleground for this issue shouldn't please anyone.