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Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems


A survey stemming from the Bush administration's plan to allow concealed carry of guns in national parks and national wildlife refuges predicts the result will be more wildlife shootings and management problems.

The survey, performed for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, found that 77 percent of 1,400 present and former employees of the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predict that the controversial proposed rule reversing the long-standing prohibition of carrying loaded, concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges will have an adverse affect on the ability of NPS and USFWS employees to accomplish their mission.

This finding and others are contained in Natural and Cultural Resource Impacts and Management Consequences of the Proposed Regulation to Authorize the Possession of Concealed Firearms in Units of the National Park & National Wildlife Refuge Systems.

While DOI has neglected to provide an analysis of the potential impacts of its proposed rule, the retirees group performed the survey to assess the impacts that these experts foresee should the regulation take effect. Other key results of the survey include:

* 75 percent feel that there will be an increase in opportunistic or impulse wildlife killings in parks and refuges; and

* 83 percent of survey respondents anticipated that the proposal will increase the overall level of complexity for management of their park or refuge.

In issuing the report, the coalition emphasized that Interior Department officials violated the procedural
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act in failing to adequately examine the foreseeable impacts of the relaxed gun regulation. Additionally, the coalition asserts that Interior officials should have consulted the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service pursuant to ESA, as 89 threatened or endangered species inhabit the parks that would be affected by the regulation.

Separately, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Ethics predicts that once the regulation is published in the Federal Register, a move anticipated to occur this month, “there would be a multi-group suit filed" challenging the legality of the regulation.

The new report from the coalition highlights the enforcement complexities and threats to public safety that should have been addressed in an analysis of reasonable alternatives to the rule under NEPA.

Based on the report, CNPSR is renewing its call for Interior officials to withdraw the proposed rule.

"We think the proposed rule is manufactured and driven politically to fix a problem that doesn't exist.
Data show that parks are among the safest places to be in this country," says Bill Wade, chairman of the coalition's executive council. "Moreover, we believe it will create more problems than it can possibly fix. It is likely to alter, over time, the friendly atmosphere visitors look forward to in parks, where they go to get away from the day to day pressures and influences of their everyday lives, including worry about guns."


I certainly agree with these true experts (in my opinion). Having a loaded gun handy will surely lead to problems. Too many people these days do not have any common sense and do not take responsibility for their actions. Guns in National Parks will lead to unnecessary wildlife deaths and unnecessary human conflicts.

People who would behave in the way you describe are poachers or some other type of criminal which is already prohibited from owning a firearm. Crminals already ignore prohibitions on firearms, and would prefer the rest of us unarmed. Concealed weapon permit holders have had training, been finger printed and have had backround checks. I would feel safer having these people around in a park.

"too many peoiple these days do not have any common sense and do not take responsibilty for their actions" is exactly why i or any responcible person would want to carry a concealed firearm in a remote area or where help may be far away and unable to prevent an incident

The survey, performed for the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, found that 77 percent of 1,400 present and former employees of the National Park Service

I question the validity of this survey. Is this the same survey sent out to CNPSR members that was hosted on Survey Monkey? If so (please correct me if I'm wrong--I'm not certain), this is an online questionnaire, not a scientific sample or a statistical survey. There are several problems with online questionnaires: Not everyone has access to the Internet, so the response rate is limited; many people are not receptive to completing questionnaires online; studies indicate that the demographic that responds to online questionnaire invitations are generally biased to younger people.

A valid statistical survey would be based on a random selection members of the group to be surveyed. To have validity, the survey must have a large enough sample size. (To survey the 20,000 or so NPS employees, a survey would need a random sampling of about 1,000 members.)

As a CNPSR member, I am one of the people who not receptive to completing an online questionnaire. I did try to complete a questionnaire emailed to me by CNPSR, but then I was asked to complete a second questionnaire and provide more personal data, including job locations and descriptions. I hold the (alleged) minority viewpoint and didn't complete the second questionnaire for fear of reprisal.

Also consider the following statement:

75 percent feel that there will be an increase in opportunistic or impulse wildlife killings in parks and refuges . . . (Emphasis added.)

This questionnaire seems to have been focused on feelings rather than evidence.

I would have to know a lot more about this "survey" (sampling size, distribution/collection methods, how questions were written, etc.) before giving it any weight.

As I see it now, this survey lacks validity and is being used to pressure political appointees. The CNPSR is now essentially a lobby group and is considering litigation on the proposed DOI rule to allow concealed-carry guns in national parks.

As a CCW Holder I have had training in the use of firearms and have had Background checks done by 4 States. I do not go to parks to shoot animals, I go to enjoy them. Any body thats thinks criminals are going to care what the law says, needs to be re-educated. I follow the law (all laws) that is why I was approved for a CCW permit. PLEASE WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! You may not care to defend yourself, but don't take away my right to self defense. I live in the real world not an "I WISH IT WAS WORLD!!!"

Add weapons and there will be problems.
Shot up signs, windows, the occasional wounded and dead animal or human will be a fact.
I completely reject waving a CCW/CWP in my face as proof that one is safe and sane.
I have been around a bit ya see..

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the more guns the better! Guns make it safer for everyone in society and besides why should the government be the only ones allowed to carry arms? The 2nd Amendment makes it abundantly clear that we have just as much right to be as fully armed as the tax funded jack-booted thugs defending the Homeland (whatever that is).

I live in the Deep South and see people all the time wearing guns on their belts and it doesn't bother me in the least. In fact I feel much safer knowing that there are armed people in my midst who can and will protect themselves and their fellow citizens when and if the occasion arises.

Criminals and the government (both two peas in a pod really) should never be the ONLY ones packing heat. Never! Remember folks that in the 20th-century governments murdered over 200 million citizens worldwide and that fact alone should steel all of our resolve to never back down when it comes to personal protection from predators of ALL kinds.

In the wild and wooly precincts of our national parks it makes even more sense to have a gun, whether you're in the urban wilderness of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Queens or deep in the outback of Glacier National Park in Montana. Are the rangers supposed to save the day for us when we encounter a wily mugger or a psycho grizzly bear, while they're safely ensconced in their Ford Excursion patrol vehicle sipping coffee and whining about not having a girlfriend? Not hardly my friends. Not hardly.

. . . the occasional wounded and dead animal or human will be a fact.

Are you talking about boats killing manatees, boats killing people in national parks, cars killing people in national parks, cars killing panthers in national parks, cars killing wolves in national parks, cars killing grizzlies in national parks? Cars killing deer? Turkeys? Black bears? Red-tailed hawks? Owls? Elk? Moose? Raccoons? Coyotes? And so on?

Oh, that's right. Those with concealed weapons permits are going to kill these animals. Concealed weapons permits holders are not the ones who shoot up signs or take shots at animals. Bored kids do that. And criminals are the ones killing people, not permit holders.

The "wounded and dead animals or humans" you've described already litter the roadways and waterways of our national parks, killed by motor vehicles, not concealed weapons. Cars and carnage in parks go hand in hand.

But the right to bear arms is protected in the Constitution. The right to drive a car? Not so much. If you really want to protect humans and wildlife, please re-prioritize what you want to (and can constitutionally) ban in national parks.

And read Beamis' comment above.

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