Congressman Calls for Full EIS of Proposal to Allow Concealed Carry in America's National Parks

Congressman Raul Grijalva, calling the Bush administration's efforts to allow national park visitors to arm themselves political pandering, wants a full Environmental Impact Statement, complete with public hearings, performed on the proposal.

The congressman, who chairs the House subcommittee on national parks, public lands, and national forests, says the proposal is nothing more than "election year pandering."

“Our parks already operate under common sense regulations that have served the public and the Park system well for many years," the Democrat from Arizona said in a release from his Washington office. “The administration is attempting to foster a sense of fear and paranoia about safety in our national parks that statistics show are among the safest areas of our country.

"This National Park Service proposed rule, coupled with other ill-conceived proposals for private shooting ranges on our national forest lands continues misguided attempts to mandate incompatible uses on our public lands that do not comply with their established missions and just increase the financial burden on our already overtaxed public land systems."

Representative Grijalva believes the proposal, if adopted, will create confusion and management conflicts for Park Service employees.

"Numerous national parks cross state lines where state regulations conflict with each other and would be an enforcement nightmare. Funding for needed signage and public notification of these proposed gun
regulations is simply not available and will force NPS units to shift funding from existing strained management accounts to cover these unfunded mandates for implementation of this proposed rule," he said.

Among other concerns, the congressman worried that the proposal could lead to safety problems due to "reactionary discharges aimed at wildlife" and increased poaching.

“Accommodating concealed, loaded weapons in our National Park System’s diverse parks and educational facilities makes no sense," said Representative Grijalva. "Locally in the D.C. metro region the NPS operates Wolf Trap National Park and Performance Center. Allowing concealed loaded guns where alcohol is served, and where large groups and families gather could create potential situations where impulsive actions could easily undermine the tranquil atmosphere and safety of patrons to this and many other park system facilities.

“This proposed rule and other demands for increased gun use and accessibility will only foster greater uncertainty and conflicts among users of our public land and should not move forward. I call upon the Park Service and the Department of Interior to reconsider moving forward with this proposal and instead retain existing regulations which are protective of visitor and wildlife safety.

"I also urge the Park Service to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement under the National
Environmental Policy Act with public hearings around the country so that the public has the opportunity to comment on this misguided proposal.”

Comments

I'm not sure I would use the term "backbone". A recent survey showed that 73% of the American people think the right to bear arms is an INDIVIDUAL right. To deny me my God-given right to defend myself is not "showing backbone" It is criminal and immoral.

That saw cuts at least two ways, Fred;-)

I don't believe my eyes. A member the ruling elite openingly identifying this pitiful maneuver of legistlative pandering as nothing short of electioneering geared toward pacification of special interests? From a Western state no less. And a LIBERAL to boot! What's this world coming to.......his term must not be up anytime soon!
Well done Raul. Let me know if you need any help stuffing the election box when your time comes around. I'll show you how to retain your seat without the lobbyist money.
Vote early and often is the mantra in my State. It's worked for local Dems here for decades........why not share the wealth?

Well said Kurt. I'm composing a slightly more intelligent response now. I'll post it later.

Thank God someone in DC has some sort of backbone.

Got to speak out for my gang back in DC. Please stop confusing the politicians with the people of the city; they already don't have any representation from those bozos (whatever way the saw cuts). There are almost 600,000 people in the city, many of them who have plenty of backbone but no say on this or any other issue (and then have to suffer the further indignity of having their very identity as residents of the District of Columbia confused with the politicians who serve as rulers of the colony).

Taxation without representation,

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

"Election-year pandering"? When is the Congressman up for re-election? Sounds like he's trying to get his name in the news if you ask me.

"Common-sense regulations"? What sense does it make to leave your firearm in the trunk of your car while you hike in the backcountry? Here's a link to an article that appeared The Colorado Springs Gazette: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4191/is_20031009/ai_n10028946

I quote, "Absurdly and inexplicably, the carrying of firearms is banned in all but a very few U.S. national parks, though visitors to these largely peaceful and bucolic places are not magically insulated from either criminals or potentially dangerous carnivores."

And this, "Crime does not take a holiday in national parks, either. On the contrary, reports suggest public lands are becoming havens for drug cartels and other criminal enterprises. The dangers facing park rangers and others who patrol public lands reportedly are rising. Thousands of serious crimes occur in national parks annually, including murders, rapes and assaults. And some national parks and forests reportedly now double as pot plantations and meth labs - not only due to their relative remoteness, but perhaps because the criminal element feels it can operate there with confidence they won't likely encounter anyone armed for self-defense."

As for the Environmental Impact Study, besides being grossly expensive, it is absolutely unnecessary. Kurt has already provided us the information we need to post any comments about this issue we have. I posted my comments yesterday. I spent more than an hour composing them but it only took a few minutes to post them. The comment period is open until June 30. ANYONE can post any comments they like. An EIS is a total waste of the taxpayer's money when they already can say whatever they want at no additional government expense.

Pro-gun advocates commenting on this issue seem to forget what national parks are. They are not all Yosemite. They include Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ellis Island, the home of Frederick Douglas, the Washington Monument, Lincoln's home, and similar sites. Do you really want people carrying guns into Ellis Island or Independence Hall? Would the NPS have to start supplying gun lockers at the Statue of Liberty so they can store guns for visitors while inside? Really, this is absurd. Parks are about the safest place you can go. You don't need a gun unless you are in a park with legal hunting. Logistically, this would be a confusing and expensive nightmare.

Good point. Places like you mention are no places for guns. None needed. They all have metal detectors and security guards. The backcounrty I'm talking about does NOT. My point is that if you aren't taking EVERYONE'S gun, don't try to take MINE.

"geared toward pacification of special interests"

I don't see defending civil rights and the Bill of Rights as a "special interest". Do the members of this site refer to the outcry at the NPS's proposed ban on assembly on the National Mall a "special interest"? Is the First Amendment--and its guarantees of freedom of the press and assembly--a special interest?

Are the protections in the First Amendment individual rights? Absolutely. Those who argue that "the People" in the First Amendment and "the People" mentioned in the Second Amendement are somehow different use a twisted form of logic to defend their special interest, namely the erosion of civil rights and the support of a more totalitarian state.

Mr. Grijalava is a proud former member of La MEChA and an open borders advocate. Given the dangers that exist along the Arizona Border including this congressman’s 7th district I feel it is safe to assert that law abiding citizens would be crazy not to be armed in the back country there. While I respect Mr. Grijalavas support for the environment I find his reluctance to disassociate himself from a group that wants to take over the Southwest United States for Mexico dismaying. He is a poor choice for a spokesperson on this issue.
In 2003 the Arizona Republic ran a story 'It's the Wild West every night' along border "By Judd Slivka. I don't think much has changed since then with this weeks bloody border machinegun cartel shoot out.

What people seem to very conveniently dismiss is that both the"rights" of the individual and of the group cease when they infringe in a dangerous, malicious and potentially harmful manner on the existence of society as a whole. As our sponsor has regularly asstered, your "right to free speech" has certain common-sense limitations, those being, but not limited to, speech that is potentially, or willfully, intended to create a circumstance whereby the common good is threatened, and the risk of injury or death is a potential outcome of your actions, again, whether it be your intent or just the end result of you enacting your "freedom". As will all good things in life there is a certain responsibility associated with freedoms and "rights" that are an integral part of ensuring a safe society. No "right" is exclusive to this group, nor should it be so. Cooperation, or as some would have it, common-sense is the keystone to a soceity that functions for the common good, and it is our responsibility as citizens of this nation to ensure that no one or group oversteps the bounds of these individual or group freedoms to their own benefit, specificially to avoid propagation of totalitarianism, caste system, dictatorship or the many other forms of elite rule. It one reads our Constitution carefully, without objectivity, you will discover that the intent and structure was based around a vision of socialistic government. To discard that vision for the convenience of but a few would truly be a tragedy for America in the 21st C.

"soceity that functions for the common good"

Hmm. But the Bill of Rights was established not for the so-called "common good", but to protect individual rights from infringement by the federal government.

"It one reads our Constitution carefully, without objectivity, you will discover that the intent and structure was based around a vision of socialistic government."

Without objectivity? You mean with a particular bias? That would be the only way one could read socialism into the Constitution. Socialistic government was the intent of the Founders? Are you kidding me? "Socialism" as a term didn't even exist until the 1800s, and it emerged from Western European social critics, not Americans. The federal government outlined in the original Constitution was hardly socialistic as it protected private property and did not allow for state means of production.

A quick primer on socialism:

"It is the aim of Socialism to transfer the means of production from private ownership to the ownership of organized society, to the State. The socialistic State owns all material factors of production and thus directs it." http://www.econlib.org/library/Mises/msS.html

Anyway, this is all a red herring to destract from the fundamental issue: the Second Ammendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was intended by founders to protect an individual right.

Finally, the individual rights in the Bill of Rights do not cease to exist; they are not to be infringed upon by the federal government.

The entire 2nd amendment reads as follows: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." If you're going to quote it, quote all of it not just the parts you like. Really, the Bill of Rights were those points so important the framers felt they needed to be outlined in addition to the body of the document. If we need to form Militias to protect all of the Parks, then lets rework the gun regulations, allowing personal concealed weapons will not protect anyone. And not all parks have metal detectors.