Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue

Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association.

In a strongly worded letter to the Interior secretary on his efforts to allow national park visitors to arm themselves, the Democrat from Arizona asserts that the proposal "is not sound policy; it is pandering to an interest group with no interest in National Parks."

In the two-page letter (attached below), Representative Grijalva not only points out misrepresentations in the NRA's push to see concealed carry allowed in national parks and national wildlife refuges but also says the secretary's proposal will not simplify gun laws across the country as he contends but "will destroy uniformity of application and hopelessly muddle visitor understanding of the requirements."

The congressman also maintains the proposal, if adopted, will further undermine the safety of park rangers.

"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd.

Grijalva_Kempthorne_Letter_05_22_08.pdf54.49 KB


I repeat - NO metal detectors. If you don't have ENFORCEMENT, all you have is a rule. Rule-breakers don't obey rules. That's why we call them that.


Several studies measuring the effect of concealed carry laws upon crime show that "shall carry" laws do not decrease crime. Even John Lott, the original proponent of this controversial theory, has stepped back somewhat from some of his assertions. A Texas study performed in 1995 (a "shall carry" state) found that concealed carry license holders were arrested for 5,314 crimes, and that between 1996-2000, concealed carry license holders were arrested 81% more often than non-licensed persons for crimes; Crimes include murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, and DUI. Furthermore, defensive use of firearms accounted for a mere 147 of the approximately 30,000 gun related deaths in 2005. Ayers and Donohue show that states having "shall carry" laws before the late 70's have a higher incidence of certain crimes (rape) than "no-carry" or late adopting "shall carry" states, and that their rates of other types of violent crime are not appreciably different. Ayers & Donohue, Shooting Down the "More Guns, Less Crime" Hypothesis, Stanford Law Review Apr. 2003.

You ask for an incidence of a concealed carrier committing a crime [in] a National Park. I don't see how that is possible, since concealed carriers to date are required to "conceal" their inoperable weapons in the trunks of their cars. However, in 2007, a mere 12 murders and 380 assaults were recorded in all national parks; few, if any, of these crimes were gun related. One wonders why.... oh wait....

Even many ardent gun-rights advocates recognize that the "law abiding" gun owners requiring little qualification to get a gun license in a "shall carry" state have the potential to use them irresponsibly. See Jeffrey P. Mayor, Debate on Carrying Guns Plays Out at Mount Rainier National Park, THE NEWS TRIBUNE (Tacoma) (Mar. 27, 2008) available at (last visited Jun. 11, 2008).

There are a mountain of statistics showing that domestic squabbles (the vast majority of "crimes" committed national park lands) tend to escalate to lethal proportions when readily available guns are present. Rangers also routinely report that persons brandishing loaded firearms in National forests tend to opportunistically shoot at wildlife that appears near roads. One need only read the history of America's settlement of the great plains to recognize the potential for people to engage in such impulsive behavior.

Just as anti-gun advocates argue that all gun-owners are impulsive and dangerous, pro-gun advocates labor under the fiction that "only the good guys" get gun licenses. Neither side is right, of course, but when we err on the side of the former, we end up with a handful of crimes committed by clear criminals. On the latter side, we don't necessarily make things harder for criminals, as having a gun doesn't necessarily render a victim safe from attack; we do, however, increase the potential for ugly situations to escalate to something lethal. As much as you try to argue the point, having a loaded gun in a national park doesn't make you safer; when you're in one of the safest places in the country, you have to wonder how common-sensical it is to increase the potential for every visitor in the park to visit lethal action upon other visitors, or upon wildlife so deserving of NPS or FWS protection.

Anonymous sez:
> having a loaded gun in a national park doesn't make you safer; when you're in one of the safest places in the country

It does if you're one of the potential victims of a rapist, robber or murderer. Gun control laws don't work (see the DOJ study). John Lott never backed away from his data. Kleck and Gertz, authors of the defensive gun use study have had anti gun hordes try to pick apart their data. Even in a low-ball scenario (I'll spot you this one) an absolute, bare minimum of 100,000 citizens use firearms to defend their lives or prevent crime. That's a hundred thousand people who would have been victims in some way. Right to carry laws DO reduce crime. It's happened in every one of 41 states that have implemented the policy. And with no adverse affect. Toss your Texas data, we've already covered that one. Arrests and convictions are totally different.

Just as the First Amendment requires no demonstration of proficiency, neither should the Second. There are laws regulating both.

> in 2007, a mere 12 murders and 380 assaults were recorded in all national parks

That's pathetic. I don't have a clue who you are but since you've clearly shifted the burden of your personal defense to a non-existent law ENFORCEMENT officer (not a body guard), there is a chance this will result in your "mere" death or victimization.

Heller 5
Washington D.C. 4
Winner - The Second Amendment


In Oregon we can carry in Schools, Churches, museums and libraries but not courthouses, post offices, police departments and federal buildings. I honestly thing we should be able to carry in all places. The more places "off limits" to CHL holders, the more chance of one getting arreste for a firearms crime and the more statistics the gentlemen above have to banter about.

A note on the the statistics these fine gentlemen are bantering about. Please keep in mind that a good majority of those that commit a gun crime are: 1. Not supposed to have a gun to begin with. 2. Supposed to be in jail but have been let out early. 3. Don't care what gun laws we have on the books.....they are going get what they want when they want.

The sad truth is: the only thing intricate gun laws do is turn otherwise law abiding citizens into unknowning criminals.

I've read the stories of the patients in the Los Angeles Drug Rehabilitation. Marijuana should be the least of our concerns. No one there has an addiction problem from smoking only pot.