You are here

Whatever Happened to That Rule Change To Allow You to Pack Heat in National Parks?


Remember earlier this year all the controversy over a proposed rule change to allow concealed weapons holders to arm themselves in the National Park System? Well, it's still lurking out there.

Some had gotten optimistic that perhaps this effort had been lost in the shuffle in Washington, as the Bush administration focused on things like energy exploration near national parks, opening up public lands to oil-shale speculation, and relaxing clean-air standards.

After all, those optimists noted, there's been all that focus on getting rule changes promulgated 60 days before the Obama administration came to town so it couldn't simply quash rules it didn't favor.

Well, it turns out that Interior Department officials apparently believe the rule change on carrying weapons in national parks and national wildlife refuges won't result in a $100 million impact, and so it only needs to have the rule promulgated 30 days in advance of Team Obama's arrival in Washington. So, more than likely this rule change will resurface before December 20.

That said, it's also likely that a group or two opposed to the rule will sue over its legality, arguing that Interior failed to conduct an environmental impact study on the rule change. Whether this rule change is significant enough to trigger such a study under the National Environmental Policy Act is the curious question at this point.


I guarantee you that cars have a larger environmental impact in parks than concealed weapons, yet why do I never hear of a ban on cars due to environmental impacts?

IF this rule change does take place, you can be SURE that the Obama administration will work TIRELESSLY to strike it down. We now (on Jan 20) have in place the most gun-hating government in more than 33 years.

Take heart Fred. Gun sales in the post-election era are up over 20% nationally.
I'm not sure if that's good for Obama or not........

It would be nice if each park put a system -- maybe something like Zion -- in place to limit car pollution in the park. It didn't seem to have a significant impact on tourism when I was there. Also, what on earth could the use of hand guns be in a protected park provide? I personally don't feel comfortable backpacking around and running into people that have guns. I live in IL so concealed weapons are illegal here, but I'm not afraid of them when I'm out in the open in legal states. I do feel a little uncomfortable people have guns in the back country that have no use for them but to shoot them off, or potentially kill protected wildlife. I imagine it's a principle issue about guns rights, but it's difficult to trust an interest group's explanation.

You can debate guns or no guns till the cows come home. The bottom line is our constitutional rights will be and are going to be restricted and sadly licensed after 911 changed all the rules.

It seems the enemy has suceeded in changing America They didn't do it alone however! They did it with the help of history ignorant well meaning Americans who become activist just to have a cause to fight for.

All you good Republicans and maybe even a few Democrats who support the Second Amendment need to make more noise in Washington. I voice my beliefs!

Not being able to carry a licensed firearm in the wide open spaces of a National Park is the last resort. We do need to be aware however that this could be a security issue in a parks congested public spaces.

Codification of the right to keep and bear arms into the Bill of Rights was influenced by a fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule

How many of you reading this knows a well meaning, voting, citizen who thru igorance of US history supports a cause that reduces our constitutional rights?

We need more history taught in public schools.

Questions for so-called advocates of the Second Amendment:

Why would a anyone ever need a gun when visiting a National Park?

Self defense against wild animals? Shooting a protected animal would certainly violate established wildlife protection laws.
Self defense against humans? ANYONE could claim self defense for a shooting without any witnesses...
Roughly two/thirds of NPS sites are cultural or historical in nature; should concealed weapons be allowed in these many Federal buildings?

Personally I could care less whether or not a US citizen chooses to own legal firearms and keep them on their own property. But I just don't understand why a gun owner would ever need one on vacation in a National Park.
I wish that gun owners would stop whining about their "violated" personal rights and spend that energy on the broader spectrum of real human rights violations that plague our society.

Jay, if you don't trust an interest group, and I'm not a member of the NRA, you should look to the founders who made statements like, "it is their [the people's] right and duty to be at all times armed". I don't leave the defense of the Bill of Rights and Constitution to interest groups, nor should park rangers who take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Defending the Constitution should be the interest of every American, not just groups of Americans. And defending the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights against tyranny is impossible without the second.

The issue is not the use of guns in backcountry, allowing indiscriminate carrying of weapons in parks, or poaching, because the proposed legislation would not legalize these actions. The issue revolves around allowing law-abiding citizens who have gone through an expensive and extensive process (which includes criminal background check as well as gun safety training) of applying for a receiving a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon on federal public lands under the Department of the Interior's purview.

You mention that you don't feel comfortable around people with guns in the backcountry (how would you even know if they're concealed?), but a little discomfort is a small price to pay for preserving the integrity of the Bill of Rights.

Frank C:
... "it is their [the people's] right and duty to be at all times armed" ...

Why do you gun rights folks always refuse to look at the historical context in which the original statements of the Bill of Rights were made?? The "tyrants" at that time were the British, a completely separate government seeking to abolish our nation.

If you feel your own government is acting as a tyrant you are inherently devoted to overthrow of the government you claim to be a loyal citizen of.
Sounds crazy, right? But that's where the logic of your argument leads.

Keep your damn guns at home where they belong.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

Recent Forum Comments