Bush Administration's Haste Could Doom New Gun Rules In National Parks

In its apparent haste to rewrite the rules so national park visitors could arm themselves, the Bush administration might have shot itself in the foot.

According to documents obtained by the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, the Interior Department was advised to perform, but refused to do so, an environmental analysis of the rule change's impact on national parks.

The Bush administration in December finalized a rule to allow loaded, concealed firearms in all national parks except those located in two states: Wisconsin and Illinois, which do not permit concealed weapons. The former rule, put in place by the Reagan administration, required that firearms transported through national parks be safely stowed and unloaded. The rule change took effect January 9, before President Obama was sworn in.

When his group announced back in December that it would seek to overturn the rule change in court, Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke said the change would endanger national park visitors.

"The Bush Administration's last-minute gift to the gun lobby, allowing concealed semiautomatic weapons in national parks, jeopardizes the safety of park visitors in violation of federal law," said Mr. Helmke. "We should not be making it easier for dangerous people to carry concealed firearms in our parks."

The lawsuit, which named as defendants Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, claimed Interior officials violated several federal laws to implement the rule before President Bush leaves office. Specifically, it charged that Interior failed to conduct any environmental review of the harm that the rule might cause, as is required by the National Environmental Policy Act.

The Brady Campaign also believes the rule violates the National Park Service Organic Act and the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, which created the parks and wildlife refuges as protected lands for safe enjoyment of all visitors.

Now, in a column Mr. Helmke wrote Thursday, he says there is evidence that the Bush administration ignored NEPA requirements:

...the previous administration ignored warnings from Interior Department officials that the rule was being changed in violation of Federal law because of a rush to get things in place before Bush left office.

These internal Bush administration documents were acquired by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in response to our lawsuit against the Interior Department. You can read the documents here.

These documents show that the Bush administration ignored the procedural concerns and safety warnings of at least two federal agencies in order to push through the rule in time to deny the Obama administration a chance to review it.

For example, on April 3, 2008, the National Park Service's Chief of Environmental Quality, Jacob Hoogland, warned that the rule "required additional NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] analysis" and that "at minimum an Environmental Assessment should be prepared on the proposed revision to the existing firearms regulation."

In the same vein, Michael Schwartz, the Fish and Wildlife Service's Chief of Policy and Directives Management, warned on May 14, 2008 that "The rule was published before they did any NEPA analysis. Last week, I pointed out that this is a procedural flaw."

Comments

Morons. And the Brady Bunch has proven themselves to be the biggest bunch of hysterical, opportunistic, lying, misusers of data. Talk about a group that lives by promoting fear. So now, following my training and FBI background check, I have to unload and lock up my legal weapon, just to drive into a National park. That's just stupid. Once again, liberals treat the legal and law-abiding like criminals.

What do we do if terriosts have guns and we do not??? Lets think about this before we give up our 2nd ammendment rights!!please use fire arms responcible and remember the life you save may be your own.

I don't see any need to bring guns into our National Parks.
What is the point?

Sometimes you just have to wonder: Why would anybody want to carry a semiautomatic weapon while visiting a National Park? One can probably only hope that the procedural flaw will make it possible to overturn the rewrite...

YES!!!!

Haven't seen many "terroists" in National Parks lately. I wonder where Mr. Williamson has been visiting.

Why is it that Bush tried to shove this through at the 11th hour and skip all the required steps in the process?? Because it made no sense. This stinks of working behind closed doors without public input and without considering common sense to sneak something through knowing that the vast majority of people living in this country don't feel like they must carry a gun (of any type) on their person at all times (excluding people with positions in law enforcement) let alone while visiting this countries natural or historic sites. The previous law says you can have the gun, own the ammo, take it with you, and (following federal / state rules relative to hunting) use them for hunting or target practice or leave it in your car while traveling. It also says that it's not ok FOR ANYONE to carry a concealed weapon with them to visit places like the Washington Monument, Independence Hall, etc...NOBODY should need to carry when visiting those locations. If anyone is identified with a weapon, authorities will not have to guess: law abiding citizen or someone with ill intents when dealing with the situation. This is safer than the alternative - hundreds / thousands of people carrying guns on them to be some sort of super citizen in the unlikely (based upon the odds) event that an act of aggression occured during their individual visit to one of these sites.

Screaming about the second ammendment does not over rule common sense.

Yea, these zealots and their rules....I'm never without a gun, you never know when a crazed druggie or wild boar may corner you. I even shower with it duct-taped to my thigh.

Morons? lets be realistic. Both ends of the spectrum (NRA to the "Brady Bunch") have proven themselves to be hysterical, opportunistic, lying, and they misuse data. All special interest groups do it. That doesn't make it right, but it means that you have to be critical of all data sources. And using fear to promote a groups interests works quite well as has been demonstrated by all sorts of groups.

Obviously to protect ourselves from the hotbed of terrorism that occurs in national parks! ;)

It's ironic that there have been attempts in the past to disarm park rangers in recent history because it was shown that the crime rate in parks was so minimal. Here is an article discussing it (there are other viewpoints out there)

Pendleton, M. R. (1996) Crime, Criminals and Guns in Natural Settings: Exploring the Basis for Disarming Federal Ranger. American Journal of Police, Vol. XV, No. 4.

I have been sitting here wondering how my carrying a pistol while I am hiking in the boondocks in a national park has any enviromental impact. If I accidentally encounter a grizzly bear and am attacked, I should have the right to protect myself and my family. The above post by Cris indicates that he has never been in the back country and a "semiautomatic" pistol or revolver is irrelevant-just hyperbole and scare tactics. I personally don't want to try to load a pistol while I am being charged by a bear. In addition, three shots is a sign of needing help.
Persons who have concealed permits have already been verified by the FBI, fingerprinted, and passed proficiency tests to have that privalege. These are not the people you need to worry about. You do need to worry about the Drug/alcohol crazed individuals and sex deviants that do not wear a T-shirt indicating such that do visit our National Parks.
I personally do not see a problem with the new regulation. The people that do want to pick and choose which part of the Constitution that they agree with and force their personal beliefs on others.

If you think terrorism is not likely to occur in national parks (and for the most part, I agree), ask yourself why the government has spent millions training NPS law enforcement offices in counter terrorism measures. Several NY national park officers responded to 9/11, and don't forget that the Statue of Liberty, a supposed terrorist target, is a NPS site. Plus all those dams, such as Hoover and Hetch Hetchy. Supposedly the terrorists are targeting those. While I don't know of any data to suggest that CCW could prevent terrorist acts in these areas, I don't see the harm in trying.

I personally don't care what Obama or the Brady Bunch say. Im gonna carry my gun wherever I want, whenever I want. As an American, I'm guaranteed the right. So all you disgusting hippies can know, try to convince the crackheads you've all let out of prison not to rob me. I've got something for them if they do. And I will carry my gun in a National Park. Leave my guns alone and go after the real threats to this country, like the economy, immigration, and drugs.

While I'd argue that there are very few ways in which 2nd Amendment rights can be legally limited, there are some, most especially with regard to "sensitive places such as schools and government buildings." Given that this is accepted by the Supreme Court (those words are from Justice Scalia, no infringer of gun rights, in his majority opinion designating DC's gun ban as unconstitutional), how exactly is it that public parks, where large, unpredictable animals and small, unpredictable children often abound, are not considered sensitive in their own right?

And with all do respect to carriers of concealed weapons permits, passing a proficiency test on the use of a handgun seems unlikely to do much for the piece of mind of the average family-of-four on vacation. Did the test include understanding threat displays of bears, bison, or elk so you even know when might be an appropriate time to pull a gun or when to leave it holstered? Did your FBI screening certify that in an intensely stressful moment you'll still be able to put all rounds on target rather than into the crowd in the background gawking at you and the enraged deer? Did this intensive check test your knowledge of ammunition so that you'll even know which handgun calibers and loads will actually be affective against a grizzly (the majority are outright useless) versus just wounding it, sending it into a further rage toward the unarmed family of four?

This doesn't even touch on those rather annoying details of implementation. The 2nd Amendment applies only to what the Federal government can't do -- not to what states can -- and given that any number of National Parks extend over multiple jurisdictions, likely with inconsistent rules, the question of whose laws get followed seems relevant. Why we should add answering this to the list of Park Service duties I have no idea.

The one restriction that is unquestioned by anyone is that guns can be prohibited on property when it is at the request of the landowner. Given that the Federal Government is the owner of record for parcels controlled by the NPS, they're free to place such a restriction just as they have elsewhere. Why would they want to? Well, they serve all of the citizens of the United States, not just the gun owning one's, and they are under no obligation - Constitutionally or otherwise - to allow guns on the people's (as in "we the people...") property. In fact, they may even decide that National Parks are "sensitive" places too, and that the self-assurance radiated by concealed weapons permit holders is not something upon which the majority wants to rely.

While there are many silly comments here I won't bother responding to, there is one that I frequently that I simply cannot ignore this time: "If I accidentally encounter a grizzly bear and am attacked, I should have the right to protect myself and my family."

The problem is that bear attacks are exceedingly rare, while bear encounters are commonplace. Take the Sierra Nevada for example - visitors and rangers get bluff charged all the time by bears. However, a black bear has never actually attacked a Yosemite visitor - they are afraid of people are are simply trying to scare them away. Will a visitor with a gun realize that the bear running at their campsite is simply bluffing? Or would a visitor fire, in an attempt to protect his or her family?

A well-meaning, responsible gun-carrying individual might be an expert in guns, but is likely not an expert in wildlife encounters. This is a major environmental risk of guns in parks, as bluff charges are commonplace, while LelandG's hypothetical grizzly bear attacks are not.

"I have been sitting here wondering how my carrying a pistol while I am hiking in the boondocks in a national park has any enviromental impact. If I accidentally encounter a grizzly bear and am attacked, I should have the right to protect myself and my family." - LelandG

That is the exact sentiment that is dangerous to visitors and wildlife like a griz. A grizzly bear has little chance of being stopped by a weapon that was designed to take down a person. And a loud gunshot meant to scare off a trail bear can often do more to incite a situation than diffuse it. Also, bear attacks happen very quickly and many people who have been attacked while holding a gun report that they didn't even have time to aim their gun.

Finally, you, like other concealed weapons permit holders have been vetted by the authorities but you may still know very little about how you and your gun will react to wildlife.

Here is the environmental impact: While the populations of grizzly bears in the lower 48's parks are doing well, the number of breading females in these areas are key to their long term viability. If a percentage of breading females were killed or injured by guns during self defense encounters with visitors that could be a significant impact to a population.

"If you think terrorism is not likely to occur in national parks (and for the most part, I agree), ask yourself why the government has spent millions training NPS law enforcement offices in counter terrorism measures. Several NY national park officers responded to 9/11, and don't forget that the Statue of Liberty, a supposed terrorist target, is a NPS site. Plus all those dams, such as Hoover and Hetch Hetchy. Supposedly the terrorists are targeting those. While I don't know of any data to suggest that CCW could prevent terrorist acts in these areas, I don't see the harm in trying."

They train NPS to respond to terrorism is mostly about politics and fear (and policy guided by fear). Like you said some if the policy, fear, and politics is, perhaps, relevant.

MHopper1000, wow, these comments have been pretty calm until now. I'm thinking people like you and your comments are part of the reason some don't want people like yourself to carry a weapon in the National Parks. Sounds to me like you don't like "Hippies", which I believe went out in the 70's anyway. I was on the fence about this subject until I read your comment. Now I believe there is good reason for no guns in the parks. Why not leave the law the way it was (no cwc) inthe parks if people like you are going to do it anyway? Nice comments, WOW!

You do all realize we, (CCDW) permit holders, carry all over the united states right now, right? And there already are thousands who do. What is so different about me carrying it in a NP? As for the training. You lump everyone into a non trained don't know caliber, etc, category. I myself am in the military. Infantry (door kicker/grunt) and have been for 13 years. Been to Iraq over 30 months, been in very stressful situations, am trained to know when to pull my gun and when not to. I also have been hunting 16+ years and have been in the woods more than most of you traveling tourist posting quotes and stats. Speaking of stats... check the one on Australia's guns law and how well that one worked out. How much training do people get before driving a car? Statistically these are more deadly than guns, especially legal guns! Should we ban all motorized vehicles from NP? What's their impact on the environment? Bet it's worse than my gun's. I could go on and on about how ridicules the gun ban and your reasoning for it. Just make sure if, God forbid, you ever find yourself being robbed, your kid is being taken from you, etc. you let me know NOT to use my weapon because you don't believe we need them in the hands of people who can use them correctly. ( Oh and drugs aren't smuggled across the borders in NP either so don't worry about criminals with fully auto guns in your NPs. )

Nothing like an angry rant with a little ad hominem assault thrown in to engender confidence, eh?. I'm sure everyone fells much better knowing our new self-appointed protector, Amstutz, is on watch. Enjoy your next trip to the park, folks. Stay low.

Just stating facts fontinalis. I'm not angry at all. As for protector, do you sleep good at night? If yes then I, and my other brothers in arms, are doing our job. You are welcome. As a friend and author wrote in his book "On Killing" you are just a sheep and we are the sheep dogs. You follow along doing what everyone else does criticizing the sheepdog until one day when the wolf comes by. Then we are your best friend. I'd rather be criticized by people like you and fight the terrorist in their "yard" than leave myself, my family, and my country vulnerable to threats foreign and domestic. So bash us gun carriers and military all you want, we'll still be here when you need us....it's our job. Sleep well tonight, and tomorrow when your driving down the road, feel safe that you won't be blown up by a roadside bomb . And know that your kids will be safe in school, unlike the massacre that happened at a school in the Soviet Union. Because terrorist " don't live here" and you don't need protection........right?

I've never had any problem with people carrying guns, generally dislike the gun-control lobby, am well trained and licensed to carry myself, and would fully support concealed carry in the parks...

...except for these "discussions" here. After reading this stuff I want to become a gun control activist. The ignorant, condescending, and melodramatic comments are certainly persuasive, thought not, I fear, in the manner intended. The views of the more measured and logical of the gun-rights supporters (surely, hopefully, a majority of that camp?) are certainly marginalized by this. Sad, but a similar fate as debates on any other emotionally charged issues, I suppose.

How does the world look from your holy perch, B. Amstutz? I don't understand how owning a gun has anything to do with keeping me safe from a terrorist. Terrorist attacks occur in all kinds of countries, both those with very strict gun laws and those with very loose gun laws. I don't see how owning guns has anything to do with this. Yes, I thank our military personnel for putting their lives on the line to defend the country, but I don't see how that justifies allowing guns in national parks.

I'm also wondering whether you really believe that guns and cars are equally appropriate for national parks, or if you wanted to rethink that point. I agree that cars have more overall impact, but I also have to believe that they might be just a teensy more essential for actually, y'know, visiting most parks.

a bunch of you guys are idiots. the law abiding, licensed to carry, would be able to carry. the criminals and non-law abiding will still carry, if they want; so who has the advantage here? who's safe? i don't feel safer knowing the fbi, or cop, next to me, can't carry and the criminal who decides to rob the store, while he's there, or take a pot shot, will. are the people in the gang infested neighborhoods safer, if cops didn't have guns and the gang members armed illegally? think about it, makes no sense, this is stupid. the people fighting this, are either stupid idiots, like carrying illegally, or know people who do.

FYI MH, there are tons of reports of CCDW carriers stopping crimes. Therefor we have shown that by carrying there is the possibility that we are keeping you safer. As far as the car thing I was simply responding to the statement "And with all do respect to carriers of concealed weapons permits, passing a proficiency test on the use of a handgun seems unlikely to do much for the piece of mind of the average family-of-four on vacation." By your rational I shouldn't carry because it's only a proficiency test, which is false. I was asking how much "training" do people get before they drive a vehicle and for that matter how long do they have to wait before getting their license back after say a reckless driving charge, DUI, etc? In my opinion they are more of a threat to my family of 6 the a legally caring, trained CCDW person. There are idiots out there that take carrying to the extreme, but I have yet to find where a legally carrying individual has been charged with, and convicted of a crime when trying to help. (I'm sure that's about to change). The 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with CCDW, that argument from my piers is ridiculous. However the law says that after training, testing, and a shooting test I am aloud to carry in certain places, abiding by certain rules. It allows me to protect my family if need be and others if I can do it safely. If the law reverses I won't like it but I will abide by it. I doubt though that the criminals, who you should be worried about, will.

"FYI MH, there are tons of reports of CCDW carriers stopping crimes"-Amststz

Hmmm, there are many more reports of people without guns stopping crimes.

But the real point that I want to make is from something that you said later in your comment. "...the law says that after training, testing, and a shooting test I am aloud to carry in certain places, abiding by certain rules. It allows me to protect my family if need be and others if I can do it safely."

There you said it, "certain places", not all, and the reason for that is guns are not appropriate in all places. Part of understanding if guns are appropriate in parks is to study their impact (i.e., do and EIS).

As for an earlier argument about cars in parks causing more deaths to both people and wildlife there is one very important difference between cars and guns.... purpose. Additionally, before any road in built in a park today an EIS is done to help quantify its potential impact.

The very difficult task will come in defending the statistics used in an EIS. How do you compare potential human lives lost/saved/ or even changed to environmental impacts? I think the key there will be in the Organic act... it helps argue the purpose of the parks and in the end, the parks are there for preservation of the environment (not for the ungoverned use of the people).

Also... notice that is discussion is being framed around NPS sites and not around wildlife refugee sites.

MHopper1000,
I'm right there with ya, buddy. I'm tired of leftist liberals trying to destroy the constitution..."from my cold dead hands," filthy hippies! Bring it!!

1. It's spelled Amst U tz. 2. I'm talking about violent crimes not jay-walking or littering. 3. Places you cannot carry are already protected by officers with guns. ie. Court house, Police station, etc. 4. What negative impact on the park could guns have. I'm not being funny I am seriously wondering. Nobody has given one here yet. (unless I missed it.) And there are already guns in the NPs correct? If there are credible reasons I wouldn't have a problem with the law staying 5. Since you want stats here you go...just a couple to ponder....

Americans use firearms for self-defense more than 2.1 million times annually.

99.9% of self-defense firearms uses do not result in fatal shootings of criminals, an important factor ignored in certain "studies" that are used to claim that guns are more often misused than used for self-protection.

Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Department of Justice, 34% have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40% have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed.

The total Violent Crime Rate is 26% higher in the restrictive states (798.3 per 100,000 pop.) than in the less restrictive states (631.6 per 100,000).

These figures are compiled from the FBI's annual report on crime (Uniform Crime Reports), and from other law enforcement agencies.

Re:2. OK Amstutz... I was not talking about jay-walking... I would include all crimes in my assessment of normal humans stopping crimes. It doesn't always take a gun. A gun may make it easier but it may not make it all situations safer.

Re:3. Parks are already protected by LE's

Re:4. Negative impacts on parks. The most important, and EIS related impacts, could occur to wildlife that encounter or approach people with guns. For instance, in Glacier NP, Yellowstone NP, and Grand Teton NP griz and black bears will often purposefully approach or suddenly find themselves in close proximity to humans. Today people must rely on bears spray and other non-lethal means to get themselves out of those situations. In fact, even in places where guns are allowed ( FS lands) bear spray in advised over the use of a gun in bear encounters. With bears having a low reproductive rate an isolated bear population (especially Griz) can be quickly impacted through the loss of just a few breeding females.

Yes there are guns in parks. The loaded ones are in the hands of 2 groups: Law enforcement and law breakers. Gun owners who travel to or through a park must remove ammunition from the weapon. This rule stands not just for guns but also for crossbows and bow and arrows.

As for the stats you present...they are interesting but they really don't tell the whole story... but they definitely support you stance pretty well!

But this one is confusing "34% have been driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens; 40% have decided against committing crimes for fear their would-be victims were armed."
is it a percentage of the 2.1 million quoted earlier? or 34% of crimes committed against CCW permit holders? To me each explanation is not very impressive. Providing percentages without population or sample parameters makes understanding them very difficult.

Finally, the last percentages do seem to show that violent crimes are higher in restricted states... however it is not possible to directly link that change to the presence of CCW permit holders.

Many posting here have claimed that this rule change was the result of a last-minute push by an outgoing Republican administration, and was done at the behest of the NRA. This action was supported by the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and other organizations, but it was initiated, and guided, by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL,) a Commonwealth of Virginia gun-rights organization that has the slogan, "Defending Your Right to Defend Yourself." VCDL began this effort in 2003, and the effort took so long because the NPS dragged its feet throughout the process, and defended their existing rule not with facts, but with opinion and speculation.

Just a few days before the public-comment period was to end in June 2008, anti-gun Congressmen persuaded the Department of the Interior to extend the period prescribed for public comment. (One might conclude that the comments to that time did not support their view.) As I recall, the legislators requested an additional 90 days, and were granted 45.

IF one considers five years of petitions and campaigns a "last-minute" decision, then that person's sense of time and mine are considerably different.

Still, NPCA, an organization to which I contributed for several decades (but which I no longer support,) and the leadership allegedly representing the retired NPS employees, are still struggling to obstruct the rule change. This opposition in spite of being able to provide no evidence to support their view, and in the face of recent academic studies from independent researchers that find no evidence that gun-control laws have any effect on reducing crime or suicide. I suggest that those really interested read those studies for themselves. (Google "gun control research.") My personal favorite is the multi-year, international study reported in a paper entitled. "Would banning firearms reduce murder and suicide? A review of international and some domestic evidence" published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy - March 22, 2007. It is available for purchase on Amazon, or to read on line at various sites. If you would like me to save you some time, the answer is, "No."

Thanks for enlightening us VCDL member. And I agree this was not technically a started "last-minute". However, the haste with which the rule was pushed through means it was sloppy and may have done more to harm the process than spur it along.

Also, Yes, there are lots of stats and evidence that guns (in the hands of law abiding citizens) do impact crime rates and save lives. However, where are the stats showing that crime rates in parks are high enough to warrant such a rule change? I have yet to see those. Also, in your list of sources I don't see anything about the unintended consequences of guns. In parks, the potential unintended consequences to wildlife and visitors are unknown. Because of that, this rule needs to be put on hold until we can study the risks that guns have to parks.

The last thing I want to say is the strongest argument against guns in parks has nothing to do with crime. It has to do with environmental impacts (in my opinion). And to understand the potential irreversible impacts on the environment studies need to be completed to help both sides of this argument reach a more educated and science based conclusion. And people keep asking for examples but other than the bear example I have seen few. BUT keep in mind that is not proof that the impacts would be few! It is instead evidence of how little we know.

This was not a last minute issue but it was a late change. It is not surprising that many not in the know of the beginning would not be aware that this rule change was attempted for 5 years. It is also known that NPS was against this rule change. But the DOI controls the NPS and they were not against the idea. They had a hearing of over 50 congressmen asking why Kempthorne was not allowing CCW in the parks. Kempthorne promised action and it took a while.

The major issue was not to protect against wildlife or people but because CCW holders who traveled roads and crossed NPS lines several time in a drive to work and back had to disarm and secure the firearm. I know roads that criss cross NPS boundaries 8 times in 5 miles.
This was ridiculous and this rule changed allow people to travel without having to stop everytime they cross a NPS boundary.

The other issue was that since states allow CCW and there has been no major problems to extend that into NPS since already allowed in NFS areas.

CCW holders know the restrictions about unlawful discharge and brandishing and these restrictions still apply in NPS.

This is not a big deal. Most visitors will not be aware since it is CCW holders only and they gun has to be concealed. Several here has displayed an unreasonable fear of guns . A few posters have been belligerant about their right to carry guns. Previous discussions were more reasonable about how this made it harder to show evidence of poaching since possesion of an gun provided evidence of poaching.

Personally I believe that to prove poaching they should not use the crutch of gun possession. That is akin to police using the same rational that a person carrying a gun is a criminal without any other evidence. If a true crime is committed use the evidence of the crime to make a case agaisnt the defendant.

Without even bothering to provide link after link to case after case of violent crimes occurring in national parks, specifically what superior anti-crime measures or magic spell causes criminals to eschew national parks?

Until someone can provide a 100% guarantee that criminals can not enter, then there is just as much reason to provide for self defense in those areas as in any other. In fact, the remote locations and relative scarcity of any type of official presence makes a good argument that such areas are MORE important to provide for one's own safety and self defense.

I hate to break it to you, but there are already, and always have been, armed people in national parks. They're called "criminals".

Sure, crime rates are relatively low in such places. Perhaps citing the statistics will make the victims feel better about the fact that they were victimized, or the families of victims feel less grief over the senseless death of their loved one.

Opining that there is no "need" to defend oneself and one's family in any specific place is akin to saying that there is no "need" to breathe there. We ALWAYS have the right and duty to defend ourselves and our families...no matter how remote the chances of actually being required to. Singling out certain places because of some emotion laden, completely irrelevant "feeling" that it's not "needed" is simply ridiculous.

Finally, the effort to change this rule began some six years ago, required two petitions for rule making to the Department of Interior, required a lengthy public comment period which was extended and the decision delayed in order to allow more public comment (which were overwhelmingly in support of the chnage, the Brady claims of being ignored notwithstanding), before the new rule (which had the support of over half the Senate) was implemented.

This was hardly a "last hour" action of the Bush Administration. That claim is nothing more than rhetoric and posturing from people who can't tolerate the idea of free people not acquiescing to their control.

Why do Park Rangers carry weapons? Are they making our parks more unsafe? Are they a danger to wildlife? What is the environmental impact of the rangers carrying weapons? Has the E.P.A. completed an impact study on rangers being armed?

Well said Sailorcurt.
Thank you for posting in such a logical manner without the usual emotionally-charged rhetoric.

I don't recall having a Bill of Needs. A Bill of Rights we do have. I don't see the Need to allow you post your drivel on the internet. However I do see you have the Right.

-TF...

Sailorcurt,
Sorry to be the one to inform you that you have your facts 180 degrees off! The overwhelming majority of respondants, to the tune of 73%, were adamently opposed to the rule change.

This policy change clearly did not have the support in congress to pass, so the Bush administration defied the legal rule making process and scrambled to pass it before he left office without the required assessments and votes from congress .

Thankfully, this rule change will not stand, and will be overturned by the courts or the Obama administration!!!

Anonymous said, "The overwhelming majority of respondants, to the tune of 73%, were adamently opposed to the rule change."

Actually, the majority of the respondents were in FAVOR of the rule change! I assume you've been following the Brady Bunch's teaching fairly closely. If you'd like to do a little independent research, you can follow this link and read the comments for yourself. There are thousands of them. Pick a dozen or so AT RANDOM. See what they say, then decide.

http://www.regulations.gov/search/search_results.jsp?sid=119C6B4B6492&Ntt=e8-09606&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchall&N=0&css=0&Ne=2+8+11+8053+8054+8098+8074+8066+8084+8055

President Obama's administration might reverse this rule change. But it will not be done quietly. There will be a lot of loud voices from the people of this country who are tired of being treated like criminals while the REAL criminals walk the streets "on probation".

There do seem to be an overwhelming proportion (identified by very unscientific means) of comments in support of the rule change. So much so I had to do some digging to make sure that mine was still in there.

I haven't spent much time studying the public comment process... but is there an actual report that breaks down the 26,000+ comments into some numbers? Clicking through the comments one by one is not a very reliable way of building a conclusion. It would be pretty easy to run the comments through a qualitative analysis program to give us a better idea of what is going on. Further, it would allow for some demographic analysis to help show how statistically representative of the US population the comments are.

Even if a report shows that there is strong support from the public (that did comment on this rule change), it should not mean that the proposal is automatically made a rule. It should start the process of better understanding all the impacts associated with changing or not changing the rule.

Any decisions made concerning national parks and other protected areas need to based on the best available science, not just public opinion. (Yes, I know that you can probably find examples of bad science being used to support past rule changes in parks.)

I remember a researcher asking people about putting a new building at Logan Pass in Glacier NP. He found that there was overwhelming support by visitors to build a revolving restaurant at the pass. Just because a bunch people want something doesn't make it a good idea.

#1 We don't need a "reason" to carry firearms in national parks. It is the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution garuntees the right of the PEOPLE to keep and Bear Arms.

#2 Crime could happen any where and any time. Do you think you anti-gun commies could engage a little of that good ole common sense and put your rhetoric aside.

#3 Besides the criminal element (park kidnapping of children, violent robberies of campers.) There are wild animals that have also, on rare occasion, attack hikers and recreationalists. Now they would have a fighting chance.. Wouldn't you want that too?

#4 Being forced to use a firearm to thwart criminals, animals, or otherwise is extremely rare. You have better chances of being killed under a doctors care than by a criminals bullets. So why try and block responsible, law abiding Americans from being able to protect their families any where including National Parks?

It's funny that almost all the individulas that are in support of guns in parks have never even been to a national park, while virtually all regular visitors to national parks are opposed to concealed carry in the parks.