Yellowstone National Park: Poster Child For Goofy Gun Laws

For all, including Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who thought the rules change concerning carrying concealed weapons in national parks would simplify life, Yellowstone National Park is proving the case of some of what's wrong with that rule change.

The problem, you ask? One park, three states, three different sets of gun regulations. Indeed, apparently Idaho has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country when it comes to honoring another state's concealed weapons permit, while Wyoming has reciprocal agreements on concealed carry with 23 other states, Montana with 40.

Cory Hatch of the Jackson Hole News & Guide points out that while a gun owner from West Virginia could legally enter Yellowstone in the Bechler region in the park's southwestern corner, which spills over into Idaho, once that individual crosses into Wyoming they'd be breaking the law since Wyoming doesn't honor West Virginia's gun permits. But if that same individual made it quietly up to Mammoth Hot Springs, which is in Montana, they'd be legal once again.

Beyond the state laws, Yellowstone officials still are trying to sort out exactly what is a "federal building," which are off-limits to guns. While it's obvious a visitor center is a federal facility, how are lodges -- which in most cases technically are owned by the federal government but run by concessionaires -- categorized?

And what about trailhead restrooms? If the later is off-limits to guns, what will an armed hiker, who just came off the trail, do with their weapon if they want to use that restroom?

While Secretary Kempthorne applauded this rule change as a step towards simplifying gun laws in the parks, Yellowstone's situation would seem to run contrary to that interpretation. And, of course, there are other parks that span multiple states: Death Valley, Great Smoky Mountains, Natchez Trail Parkway. Blue Ridge Parkway just to name four.


And, here is another thing - judicial jurisdiction in Yellowstone is in the federal court. I guess they are supposed to apply to state law to the federal regulation, but it seems to me there would have to be all kinds of complications involved with that. How do they figure out punishment, etc.? Yellowstone is a unique judicial circumstance. Does anyone know how that's supposed to work?

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

I thought Yellowstone National Park did not recognize state border lines within its boundaries since it was established as a National Park a decade and more before Wyoming, Montana and Idaho became states :-)

Actually, Jim, Yellowstone is not a unique circumstance. Some other parks have what is colloquially called "exclusive" Federal jurisdiction (though to be technically correct each actually has partial legislative jurisdiction but let's not get hung up over terms.) A famous example being the original portions of what is now Denali National Park.

Under the Assimilated Crimes Act, in these areas (and in many others with concurrent Federal jurisdiction also) state laws that do not conflict with existing Federal statutes can be cited as Federal law for the purpose of criminal prosecution. But that issue is not in play here.

Don't get wrapped around state law. The way the change in the regulation was written (quoted below) was that the carrying of concealed firearms is allowed by Federal regulation in accordance with the laws of the state. Accordance being defined as "in conformity."

State law isn't being applied in the parks by this change. Our regulation is simply conforming our practice to what the state practices. Sort of. Allegedly.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.

And Yellowstone has always recognized state boundaries within the park for a multitude of purposes. Applying Wyoming sales tax, for one. Deciding which state traffic codes should be adopted in any given area. Deciding which Department of Environmental Quality to consult with over water and sewage issues.

And, of course, there are other parks that span multiple states: Death Valley, Great Smoky Mountains, Natchez Trail Parkway. Blue Ridge Parkway just to name four.

Lake Meade National Recreation Area, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Dinosaur National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Gulf Islands National Seashore, St Croix National Scenic Riverway, Fort Smith National Historic Site, Harper's Ferry National Park, Delaware Water Gap NRA, Gateway National Recreation the patchwork quilt surrounding DC, Virginia, and Maryland...

That this message didn't get out is either a failure on someone's part, or a resounding success on the NRA's part.

Surely it is not asking too much that our LE rangers know the most relevant laws for the states they are likely to operate in, and know what state they are in when in a border area? I would have thought this was standard practice. Else, how can they call for assistance in case of need? How can they assist other local LE agencies when asked?

Actually, anonymous, the point is whether park visitors will be familiar with what state they're in and what laws apply. Is there a sign along the West Boundary Trail delineating the Wyoming-Idaho border, or one along the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone Trail to denote the Wyoming-Montana border?

More so, under the old rule things were much simpler. Visitors could not carry guns, concealed or otherwise, in the parks, period. Visitors knew it. Rangers knew it. If a ranger saw someone with a gun, they knew that individual was up to something illegal. Under the revised regs, it's not exactly that simple any more.

As for the laws of the state the LE is operating in, in Yellowstone's case then the rangers would have to know which other 23 states Wyoming has reciprocal agreements with on concealed carry and which 40 Montana has agreements with.

Regardless of whether you support the change in regs, how anyone can describe the new rule as simpler than the old one is baffling.

CENTERVILLE, Utah - The man escaped with a few cuts to his arm, but the toilet made out much worse.

Police say a man's gun fell out of its holster while he pulled up his pants after using the bathroom at a Carl's Jr. restaurant Tuesday. The gun fired when it hit the floor and shattered the commode.

A few shards of porcelain cut the man's arm, and a woman in an adjacent restroom who was frightened by the noise reported she was having chest pain. Both people were checked at the scene and released.

Police say they confiscated the 26-year-old man's firearm while they review the incident. The man had a concealed weapons permit. No charges are being filed.


Rick Smith

Sounds to me like the "training" for CCL holders touted by some proponents of concealed carry failed to address good techniques for securing his "piece".

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good - or competent.

The second Amendment is an individuals right to CCW, or for that matter open carry of a fire arm, it is the law of the land. These so called laws and impediments that require permits and registrations etc are violations of that law, simply put they can not exist while the second Amendment exists, states can not take away from individual rights, nor can any other part of the gov with out so amending the Constitution.
I have carried for a long time. I have thank god never had to use my gun against man or beast, there have been times when I thought it could come down to it, but I have never taken it out.
So why do I carry? Why do I carry something I have not had to use, or may never have to use? Because if I am so unfortunate as to be in a situation where it is my last choice, I have the right in that moment to make that choice. Much for the same reasons Noah built the Ark before the rains came, you can not use what you do not have.
I find it so very odd so many people are so alarmed by guns. Guns are very simple, yet many in our society enshroud them in myth, and mystery, proclaim "guns are dangerous and no one should have one" When this same person will get behind the wheel of thier ford or chevy or BMW talk on the phone, roll slowly through stop signs...all the while operating the single most dangerous piece of equipment in the country, one with far more energy than my 44 revolver, one that when he/she, hits some one calls it an accident, when negligence is far more likely.
Guns are tools, no different to me than the hammer or screw driver or chain saw or truck. The command respect and practice. No more, or less than any other activity. In the end they are a right, most other things in life are not. So instead of wondering if your fellow American is carrying gun, wonder if he/she might have reason to use it, to help you if your in a bad way and you have not chosen to exercise your right. Wonder how it is possible the gov of the people is so grossly over paid, and in recent history managed to vote to pay themselves for life, when they have done little to support our Constitution. Bodies that raise property taxes on retired Sr's forcing them out of their "dream" retirements...or how gov robed social security and bankrupted our that is far to depressing. Live your life right, be good and kind to those you meet in hopes they return your kindness, and be ready for what ever the day has in store for you and Im sure we will all do just fine. Guns, food, water, snacks, smiles, good boots and sense of humor can get you through any thing, and for the things they cant there is always your MC with a 29% Apr default rate....that is prime +28% right now by the way (maybe we should come down on Washington and our corrupt leaders and tell them CC companies have no right to more than Prime +5%...but that could be to good to many folks....I dont care I live on cash and have for several years..but I still hate the gangster CC companies who think they have rights...never saw them in the Constitution).

This is what happens when you have too many cooks with their hands in the pot. It happens to many laws that cause federal law to bump heads with state laws. One reason why the overabundance of lawyers in this country can stay in such high income brackets.

My husband is a retired federal agent, and as such was issued a federal firearms carry permit, good in all 50 states as well as US territories. I'm sure there will bet yet another set of rules that will apply to his particular situation.

I never should have passed up going to law school.

Any concealed weapon carry has the responsibility to know the laws of the state(s) they are traveling through or in or suffer the consequences of being an idiot. For instance, when I travel from my home at Fort Campbell, Kentucky/Tennessee, yes I'm in the military, to my brother's home in New Jersey, I research the laws for all states I am traveling through so as not to be breaking the law. And, surprisingly enough, not all the roads I travel on are marked with a state welcome signs at the boarder and yet remarkably with the aide of this new invention called a map, (a graphic representation of the earth's surface as seen from above), or a GPS, I know what state I am in. It's amazing! My other remark would be that I guess since changing a law would be difficult we should just let the old law stand? Maybe it's the way I was brought up but I was taught not to avoid something or leave a wrong not righted simply because it would be to much trouble or difficult. I've carried concealed weapon for over 15 years. I've also walked around Iraq for more that 36 months carrying a loaded weapon everyday, all without incident. It seems to me gun apponents are grasping at any straw they can in order to defend the right to not bear arms. It' amazing that CCDW permit holders have been aloud to carry for years and years but now, all of a sudden, we are idiots and can't figure out how to carry legally in the holiest of holy state park.

(and how do police officer's remember all those laws and which states they have reciprocal agreements with? I guess the Ranger is not as smart as a "regular" police officer)

The point of conceled weapons laws originally was simply this: if you had a reason to have a weapon, you wore it openly for all to see. If you had a reason to hide your weapon, it was assumed you were up to mischief. Until the last few decades, concealing a weapon was illegal everywhere on the assumption that people who responsibly had a reason to have a weapon would wear it openly and only a crook would feel the need to hide it. That way if the police found some punk carrying, they had reason to check him out and possibly prevent some crime.

It doesn't have anything to do with the Second Ammendment, it has to do with your right to hide your weapon. In reality, gun advoctaes know that Americans are NOT comfortable with weapons in plain sight and would not welcome folks carrying openly, as few ever did, although this is widely legal in the US. Outside of TV news, where one or two scary events are found each night from a nation of some 300 million people, there is little need for anyone to carry a concealed weapon in daily life, especially in national parks, statistically some of the safest real estate in America. Leave the guns at home and enjoy your parks without making them yet another battleground in the gun control wars.

The is just belly aching about the NPS having to adjust to the rule. Prior to 1976 there was no problem, of course nobody opened carry in visitor centers Since this is for CCW only, NPS should presume that CCW citizens are no worse when carrying then they are when not, and treat all visitors the same, because they will not know who is and who isn’t. Most facilities should not be restricted and those that are posted should have a gun locker room like a secured coat check. Then when you go to the facility you declare your CCW and check the gun. When you leave get your gun. Not a big deal

As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law. So if a CCW from Idaho, who get Idaho law throughout the park and only other CCW that has reciprocity with IDAHO has the same presumption. That would encourage that laws would standardized the most liberal gun laws.

This is just because the nanny state liberals in NPS over the last 30 years do not like citizens being armed. We really need to have the public get over this idea that a man with a gun is a criminal. Get rid of that underlying assumption and most of these problem fade.

I do agree that The new regulation is cumberson. I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from. So in NH where no CCW rules there are no rules for NK residents on CCW in NPS.

Of course DOI could make is simple and just allow CCW period, no recourse to states rules and also open carry. Just punish those who misues the gun, like vandalism or target shooting in the park etc.

Punish the action if a gun is misused and not make the gun the focus but the shooters actions to be the focus.

Here in Tennessee I see armed citizens with weapons openly carried in holsters and leather sheaths all the time. It does not bother me nor seem to bother my fellow citizens here along the tranquil banks of the Tennessee River.

I've seen weapons worn openly in downtown Chattanooga and along many of the trails that I hike in the forests of the Cumberland Plateau. I've never felt scared or threatened by the sight of these weapons and welcome the protection they bring to society as a whole. The police should not be the only ones who are armed.

It seems that the discomfort with guns comes mainly from the urban professional left-leaning elites, who are the core supporters of wilderness and parks. It somehow frightens them when anyone but agents of the state are packing the heat. They need to get used to this concept because out here in the flyover country our guns are out and we feel safer knowing we can use them when we need to, which is hardly ever.

"Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

re: the comment by RAH:

As to the varying state laws I would enforce the most liberal state law.

A law enforcement officer's job would be a lot easier if he or she decided which laws to enforce - or ignore - but that's generally considered unacceptable performance.

I would have made CCW allowable in parks and the CCW holder has to abide by the states rules he has the CCW license from.

I suspect many people would have some heartburn with the idea that laws from another state could override the laws of their own state. That's analogous to saying visitors to the US don't have to obey U.S. laws - just follow the laws of their home country.

Re: Beamis and "open carry" vs. concealed carry:

"Open carry" was tried a few years back in places with names like Tombstone and Dodge City. I don't recall from my history class that it worked out so well in terms of improving general law and order :-)

I suggest you check the real history of Tombstone and Dodge City and not the fiction that was written by the penny dreadfuls that popularized the gunslinger image.

Those places had very low usage of guns ceratinly compared to cities in todays age. Crime and criminal misuse of a gun in DC,Baltitimore, Philadelhia, Ocala, NY, Boston are just an example. The amount of gangland killings, drivebys and crime are very Big compared to Tombstone and Dodge City.

Respectfully JimB, if your history class was in a state-run school in the mid-20th century, you probably got more propaganda than actual history.

Please consider Gunfighters, Highwaymen, & Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier by Roger D. McGrath.

Dr. McGrath writes:

Popular wisdom says that generations of living on and conquering frontiers have made Americans a violent and lawless people. Popular wisdom is wrong. So is much scholarly literature that has drawn conclusions about violence and lawlessness from anecdotal evidence and specious assumptions. The kind of crime that pervades American society today has little or no relation to the kind of lawlessness that occurred on the frontier if Aurora and Bodie are at all representative of western communities. Robbery of individuals, burglary, and theft occurred only infrequently and rape seems not to have occurred at all. Racial violence and serious juvenile crime were absent also. The homicides that occurred almost invariably resulted from gunfights between willing combatants. The old, the weak, the innocent, the young, and the female were not the targets of violent men. In fact, all people in those categories would have been far safer in Aurora or Bodie than they are today in any major U.S. city. Even most smaller cities and towns are far more crime ridden and dangerous than were Aurora and Bodie.

There simply is no justification for blaming contemporary American violence and lawlessness on a frontier heritage. The time is long past for Americans to stop excusing the violence in society by trotting out that old whipping boy, the frontier. On the contrary, it would seem that the frontier, instead of representing America at its worst may have, in many respects, represented the nation at its best.

"Urban professional left-leaning elites." Now there's a label. Does one size fit all?

I didn't say it was one size fits all but was simply pointing out that the anti-gun bias seems to mostly come from a class of people who look upon guns and gun owners as an unnecessary remnant of tribal primitivism which springs forth from the alien world of working class, blue collared rednecks. The very idea of guns in the hands of normal citizens predictably conjures up images of Tombstone, Dodge City or Jed Clampett stalking possum for dinner.

It's the same with their disdain of Wal-Mart. It is a class based bias rooted in their sense of moral and intellectual superiority. To them the swarming masses of Untermensch with their gun rack bedecked pick-up trucks wheeling their way out of the Wally World parking lot with a plastic kiddie pool tied to the bed liner is nothing short of true barbarity.

I remember once attending a yuppy party in some tony townhouse in DC back in the late 80's and during said affair retrieved a pellet gun pistol from my car to show a friend. When I appeared with this gun in the living room amidst the party goers a shocked hushed silence descended upon the room which eventually led to quiet murmurs and then outright rebuke. It seems that they were insulted that someone in their set would have such an item in the first place and that I would deign to bring it into their sanctified home for show and tell. You can bet I was never invited to another party by these staunch members of the Sierra Club ever again.

I know who these people are and know what they think of the knuckle draggers out here in gun toting land. As far as I'm concerned they can have their crime ridden, gun soaked cities in which to lock themselves into their homes each night. It's what they deserve.


You have posted another over-the-top comment. Why not chill a little?

Rick Smith

Nuthin' over the top. Just the way it is here in these good ol' United States.

I still think you're brushing with an awfully big brush and can of paint. Some no doubt would describe me in some conversations as left-leaning, yet in others right of center. And I experience no shock and horror over gun ownership. In other words, I don't neatly fit your stereotype, and I don't think I'm alone in my views.

As for Wal-Mart (talk about thread drift, but what the heck), I think you again are using a pretty big brush in trying to explain the "disdain" folks have with the chain. Is it really over the "swarming masses" that shop there, or is it more tied to corporate practices that pay employees as little as possible, both in salary and benefits, and which drive home-grown businesses out of business?

RAH, as I stated over at another article in response to your misinformation, firearms have been disallowed in national park service units since the thirties. The change in the seventies was simply one of several revisions in the intervening years that actually weakened previous protections. This recent change in large measure overturned a lot more than just thirty years of precedent.

I also know of the attitude Beamis speaks. Humans are social animals and as such social position is very important. City folk throughout time have ridiculed the country bumpkin cousin. Hunting was a cultural tradition that both city and country folk enjoyed and it lead to a lot of conservation efforts and many of the NPS. Roosevelt is a classic example.

From the 1970’s and forward, hunting blinds on the Chesapeake have disappeared. The people who used bird dogs in MD also faded. My neighbor in Bethesda has national champion bird dogs and in my same neighborhood Sen. Pete Domenci lived up the street. Less people were familiar with hunting firearms and the gun control act of 1968 was a response to Kennedy’s assassination and the later riots that scared whites that blacks in cities were rioting and they have guns. So most of America was OK with the 1968 act, since it really targeted "those folks".

Later as Sarah Brady and other gun control activists managed to persuade that "guns are bad" They pushed the utopian line that if there were no guns then crime with guns would go away. That is when DC in 1976 passed its draconian gun ban. Chicago in 1972 so the educated urban elite adopted the same left liberal attitude that "guns are bad" and only barbarians such as the hillbillies used them. Thirty tears have shown that gun bans only affect the law-abiding from the crime stats of shootings and murders with guns by criminals in the cities such as DC. The gun ban was totally ineffective to fight crime. They did not even use it to add charged to criminals they caught. Only the odd case of a homeowner or a Congressman caught with a gun has been prosecuted and those were usually dropped.

Maryland passed a law against” Saturday Nights Special” that specifically target inexpensive guns that the poor could use for defense or for crime. They ignored the poor that were the crime victim’s and their need for a self-defense weapon, and only banned them to target the criminals. The criminals never had a problem getting guns, they would steal them. Some even came from police departments which had property losses over the years as they sold those guns to the street for their criminal relatives. So gun control was pushed as a mean to protect against the poor who might be criminal minded and the blacks. It definitely had a racist tinge.

For example in high school I shot skeet twice a week and always had shot shells not used in my coat pockets from the night before. I would take them out and cut them open when bored in class. It was no big deal. Teachers were not hysterical about that. Students would bring in long arms to show and the only comment was is the firing pin removed? That was in the 1970’s; now compare that attitude to the often hysterical ranting of anti gun folks in comments and letters to the editor?

Are the urban left leaning elite against guns? My opinion is yes, and that really does extend to suburbia. Guns are scary, they reminds people that danger exists. So people prefer not to see guns, because only criminals have guns.

James Watts, DOI secretary under Reagan put the regulation that guns had to be dissambled and not available . If Anonymous knows better please post the link so I can verify. I would agree that many parks had a patchwork of rules about firearms prior to that.

My information I beleive is correct but I will be glad to check out any other claims.


I am a native-born, been-here-all-my-life Tennessean. I wear my camo and drive my pickup truck with pride. I come from a rural, agricultural background, and live in a community of less than 5,000 people in one of the reddest counties in the state. I shop at WalMart nearly everyday and spend most of my money there. I am a 'redneck Southerner', more or less.

But prepare yourself. You might not understand this next part...

I am a Sierra Club member. I don't think that guns belong in national parks.

And I'm not the only person who can be described by both paragraph #1 and #3. So please, do everyone a favor and stop painting people with such a confrontational and broad brush. It's polarizing and not constructive in the least, and gives Tennesseans a bad name (and we wonder why our state is seen as backwards and hick...)

James Watts, DOI secretary under Reagan put the regulation that guns had to be dissambled and not available .

Yeah, James Watt, a well known liberal, under the authority and guidance of President Ronald Reagan, put in place new restrictions on your ability to lawfully carry firearms.

Do you really need supporting materials to understand how that simply could not be true?

In case you do, here is some history gleaned from a variety of sources:

Prior to this latest change, the National Park Service (NPS) last promulgated a regulation on weapons on June
30, 1983 as part of a thorough revision of NPS rules. In general, the regulation prohibits the possession of weapons in parks but provides several significant exceptions. One of the most significant exceptions allows the possession of weapons in vehicles or in temporary lodging if the weapon is temporarily inoperable or is packed, cased or stored. Thus the NPS rule does not impose a general ban on the possession of weapons or firearms.

Prior to the 1983 regulations, the NPS last adopted system-wide regulations in 1966. The regulations of 1966 contained a provision on the possession of weapons at 36 CFR section 2.11. Under the 1966 regulations, the NPS prohibited the possession of firearms, traps, nets, and weapons in “natural and historical areas” of the national park system. “In recreational areas the above referenced items may be used or possessed in accordance with applicable Federal, State or local law.” 47 FR 11602

The 1966 regulation states:
2.11. Firearms, traps, and other weapons.
(a) In natural and historical areas and national parkways the use
of…firearms…is prohibited. The possession of such objects or
implements is prohibited unless they are unload (sic) and adequately cased,
or broken down or otherwise packed in such a way as to prevent their use
while in the park areas….
(b) In recreational areas (except national parkways) the use or
possession of all firearms shall conform with all applicable Federal, State
and local laws…The possession of loaded firearms…in developed,
populated, or concentrated use areas is prohibited.

NPS 1966 regulations prohibited the possession of weapons and firearms. The 1983 regulations liberalized the conditions for the possession of firearms by establishing exceptions that did not exist in 1966. On the other hand, the 1983 regulations tightened the condition for the possession of firearms by eliminating the different standard for recreational areas. But, in the final analysis, the 1966 regulations used very similar language as the current rule at 36 CFR 2.4(a)(3), in that firearms may be possessed in parks as long as such firearms are unloaded, cased, broken down or packed away.

The NPS regulations were revised in 1941 too:

2.11 Firearms, etc.
(a) Firearms…are prohibited within the parks and monuments, except
upon written permission of the superintendent. Visitors entering or
traveling through the parks and monuments to places beyond shall, at
entrance, report, and, if required to do so, surrender all such objects in
their possession to the first park or monument officer, and, in proper cases,
may obtain his written permission to carry them through the park or
monument sealed. Failure to obtain such written permission shall be
deemed a violation of this section.

The 1941 NPS regulation was more restrictive on firearms than any of the successive rules. But one thing the 1941 regulation shares in common with the rules of 1966 and 1983 is that guns may still be possessed in parks but ONLY if sealed, i.e. rendered temporarily unusable. Unlike the successive regulations, the 1941 rules required an NPS issued written permit to possess the sealed firearm while in the park or monument. Note that the 1941 regulation defines “parks” and “monuments” to include national military parks, national battlefield parks, national historical parks, national parkways, Boulder Dam recreation area national historic sites, and battlefield sites and miscellaneous memorials. 36 CFR 2.1 (1941)

Prior to the 1941 revisions, on June 18, 1936, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes promulgated the first set of
general NPS regulations ever adopted under the Organic Act of 1916 (16 U.S.C. 3). The first NPS regulations say this about firearms:
8. Firearms, etc. - Firearms…are prohibited within the parks and
monuments, except upon written permission of the superintendent or
custodian. Visitors entering or traveling through the parks and
monuments to places beyond shall, at entrance, report, and, if required to
do so, surrender all such objects in their possession to the first park or
monument officer, and, in proper cases, may obtain his written permission
to carry them through the park or monument sealed. Failure to obtain
such written permission shall be deemed a violation of this regulation.

The 1936 regulations permitted possession of a firearm in a park upon the issuance of a NPS permit, and then only if the firearm were “sealed.”

That laws respecting the right to carry arms have been somewhat liberalized by this rule change is a good thing in and of itself. Civil liberties are like that, but their rightful expansion often comes with some confusion and getting-used-to.

Greatly relaxing carry laws or removing the licensing requirements would surely make for less confusion, but such moves are probably unwarranted or unlikely. I firmly suspect that the best solution is a national reciprocity bill, and we are sure to see one coming along soon. There can really be no other way ... currently, 48 of 50 states issue (in one form or another) licenses to carry protective arms. They too issue driver licenses ... but at this time, carry licenses are not nationally-reciprocal like driver licenses are. There can be no other way but to make the licenses nationally-reciprocal, and draw boundaries around some maximally-restrictive standard.

Indeed, the best solution is to make all carry licenses nationally-reciprocal, and to define some maximally-restrictive standards. That way, carriers would know what is maximally restrictive ... and more liberal states could relax those maximal standards as they see fit.

Just make it like old west and let everyone open carry! Ok everyone who is legally entitled to carry. This concealed is crap! Makes me look like I got a hip tumor!!!

"If Guns Kill People, Do Pencils Write Mistakes"? This was in the back window of a car in front of me the other day. The point of all of this is people right? Those of us who are charged with day to day operations in parks were ready for the gun law. It's our job. It's also our job to understand intent of the law. While I appreciate the "what if's" I can tell you from being a ranger in one of the crown jewels the only time I responded to "shots fired", both in camping areas, resulted in off duty police officers shooting through tent walls because they thought they heard a bear. I’m far more worried about our “visitors” who carry guns in parks who don’t have concealed weapons permits (felons in possession). I’m also far more worried about the “visitors” who consume large quantities of alcohol and careens down the road. I’m far more worried about the “visitor” who takes advantage of the unsuspecting tourist who left their possessions in the car at the trail head….

You want to really see people get upset look at the ATV laws for park units in multiple states. There’s a fun one to deal with….


The spread of weapons in parks makes what you describe--While I appreciate the "what if's" I can tell you from being a ranger in one of the crown jewels the only time I responded to "shots fired", both in camping areas, resulted in off duty police officers shooting through tent walls because they thought they heard a bear all the more likely. That is what I am worried about. Shooting at night through tent walls in a campground is not responsible gun use, and these officers were far more hiighly trained than the average concealed weapons permit holder.

Rick Smith

Mr. Smith,

I appreciate your perspective. I might be underplaying this. I can only go on what I see happening now. The individuals carrying weapons in parks who are getting arrested do not have concealed weapons permits.

JD - you are so wrong! Read the 2nd amendment again. Nowhere does it give you the "right" to CCW or open carry a fire arm, anywhere! The 2nd was established when we were at war and the need to arm citizens against an aggressor was vital to our new nation. The 2nd amendment was not established to allow individuals to protect themselves from wildlife that might choose to eat them while they wander through the woods. The 2nd amendment was not established to allow you to protect yourself from an individual with felonious intent on the streets of New York. The 2nd amendment was established to protect this new nation from aggressors looking to destroy our new democracy.