House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System

Thanks to a brilliant tactical move, gun rights advocates are a step closer to arming themselves in national parks and national wildlife refuges across the country following a U.S. House of Representatives' vote on a credit card bill.

By attaching the gun legislation to the widely popular bill that would redefine the ground rules for credit card companies, Congress essentially made the firearms provision bulletproof. The House passed the measure, which earlier this week cleared the Senate, on a vote of 279-147 Wednesday, and sent it on to President Obama, who is expected to sign the legislation into law this weekend.

Condemnation of Congress's move came quickly from park advocacy groups.

Theresa Pierno, Executive Vice President, National Parks Conservation Association

“We are disappointed in the members of the House and Senate who allowed this amendment to pass, as well as in President Obama. By not taking a stand to prevent this change, they have sacrificed public safety and national park resources in favor of the political agenda of the National Rifle Association. This amendment had no hearing or review, and will increase the risk of poaching, vandalism of historic park treasures, and threats to park visitors and staff.”

“These are special protected places, where millions of American families and international visitors can view magnificent animals and majestic landscapes and experience our nation’s history, including sites where lives were lost to preserve our American ideals.

“The Reagan Administration’s regulation requiring simply requires that guns carried into these iconic places be unloaded and put away is a time-tested, limited and reasonable restriction to carry out an important and legitimate goal of protecting and respecting our national parks, monuments and battlefields. It is a tremendously sad day that it has been thrown out by political leaders from whom we expect more.”

Bill Wade, Chair, Executive Council, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

“Passage of this legislation that would allow firearms of all kinds in national parks is an absolute travesty. There is simply no need for it, given the extremely low risks that visitors face in national parks compared with everywhere else.

"Legislators who voted for this amendment now have to live with the fact that they have, in fact, increased the risk to visitors and employees, as well as the risk to wildlife and some cultural resources. Moreover, they've just contributed to diminishing the specialness of this country's National Park System. We hope the American people register their disappointment in the actions of these legislators.”

Scot McElveen, President, Association of National Park Rangers

“Members of the ANPR respect the will of Congress and their authority to pass laws, but we believe this is a fundamental reversal from what preceding Congresses created the National Park System for. Park wildlife, including some rare or endangered species, will face increased threats by visitors with firearms who engage in impulse or opportunistic shooting.”

John Waterman, President, U.S. Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police

“One should ask, what do guns have to do with credit cards? We are disappointed that Congress chose to disregard the safety of U.S. Park Rangers, the most assaulted federal officers, and forgo the environmental process set up to assure the protection of our national parks. If signed by President Obama, this will clearly be a change in his rhetoric towards taking better care of our environment and protecting federal employees."

Comments

Back to rebut Rick T. There is no requirement of need in order to exercise a right. It is my right to have and carry an firearm by the 2A. The need is irrelelevant. I do not have to justify my need to any equipment I bring when I visit any location including a National Park. That is what it means to be free citizen of America.

The votes in both the House and Senate were overwhelming in favor. Next year I will plan a horse riding trip and be able to carry if I choose. I will not be a victim to any predator, human or animal. No one has the right to demand that of me. Yet those who puposedly want to disarm me be are choosing that I have no right to live if attacked.
So, No I do not have to state a need, Rick T. You have to abide by my civil rights next February 2010.

Those of us who believe in the Constitution and are determined to regain our rights won this battle. If the control freaks had not pushed it and stopped the regulation change this would have stayed at only allowing CCW holders to carry in National Parks. Now they have to allow open carry also and any firearm, pistol or longarms according to state law. That is a lot of states that allow CC and OC.

Now I do not expect many will do this, but the vehement control attitude on the anti gunners will certainly have groups who plan OC trips in the National Parks jsut because they can. Just like many have picnics in state parks already. Guess what, the guns do not jump out of holsters and shoot people or animals.

So if those who will be uncomfortable and there will be those wil have to accept due to the intrangicence of NCPA. People would have been more polite but I expect that in your face attitude will be more common.

I doubt the story of greenriver kate but if someone is flashing a gun and shooting then I expect tht rangers to arrest the idiot. At least if he threatened me I will be able to defend myself.

The only way that a bad man with a gun is stopped is by a good man with a gun. That may be police or a armed citizen.

Memorial Day, a most auspicious day for our country, yes? Sticking up for something…both an admirable and caring trait. You should take pride in that and pass it along. It is contagious!

It is and always will be my opinion that the rank and file members of the NPS are dedicated and skilled individuals possessed of the abilities, intelligence, will, and shear heart to accomplish their mission, with or without many of the shackles imposed upon them by their management.

In my experience, when the objectives of a mission are tarnished it is generally due to a combination of poor assessment of available intelligence, a questionable application of assets and resources, miscommunication, lack of foresight in planning for alternatives and contingencies within the mission plan, or simply poor follow up. These issues all rest squarely on the shoulders of command most of the time, not on the individual men and women on the ground and doing the job! The fact that most serious crimes are turned over to local, state, or federal agencies, who have greater resources and manpower expressly designed to deal with criminal activities, demonstrates both good and sound judgement in the proper utilization of assets and resources. Consider they deal on a daily basis with more than 18,000 permanent structures, 8,000 miles of roads, 4,400 housing units, and God knows how many tunnels, bridges, dams, and other operations over vast expanses of this country. According to GAO reports the average for each law enforcement officer in NPS is over 100,000 visitors and 100,00 acres of land to watch over. Given that, it is an even more remarkable job they do with what they have.

Their action speaks for themselves and most often with great conviction. Even though one might think they already know… it’s a good thing for them to hear a “Well done!” on occasion.

Yes, I do have an agenda here.

1) This issue has never really been about guns in the park or crime in the park. These are contrived arguments. It has always been about the individual’s rights. Weather I choose to carry a firearm or not is my choice. Barring certain constraints, which we (the collective country) have agreed to I do not have to prove a need to anyone. Nor do have to prove that I am not a criminal. Some people have cars that will do 200mph just because they want it, the same reason here. “Just because I want to.” The US Constitution is more important than the NPS, now and always. I give you this though – Should the first amendment fail, see the second.

2) I refer you to my response to DVP. The people, or bureaucrats if you prefer, who tend provide misleading intell and data for their own reasons take the tack that if they say it loud enough and often enough it will be true. After that, we have make decisions based on what?

I note you cite no references and instead offer conjecture and anecdotal items only. There is usually no need to use a sledge hammer to drive a nail, however in as much as you remain unconvinced I will restrain my references to more traditional types. Since you have chosen to overlook the reason I choose 1996, I will restate it. I reviewed every 3 years; looking for patterns over time. I chose 1996 because Mr. Wade retired in 1997, therefore he would have had input into and review of the data for the last annual report he would have contributed to. Just trying to make it easy.

As I indicated the number was an average complied from multiple informational sources and intended to be on the low side of the example. I used the-eggman.com just for the complied chart, since nothing like that is available from DOI or NPS, and have found it to be accurate. If you prefer you may look these entries up in the US Dept. Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics “Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics”. It has the same numbers and notes just not as easy to get to. The comments regarding drug arrests, machine guns, other investigators, etc. were quotes taken from “The National Drug Control Strategy, 1997: FY 1997 Budget Year”, http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/toc2.htm ,specifically under the section of NPS’s accomplishment for the year. These are annual reports so just change out the year to whichever one interests you. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd to say one thing 364 days out of the year and then go before congress on budget day and state something else?

The actual report, National Park Service FY1996 Interior Accountability Report, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/acct1996/nat_nps.pdf , states that Park rangers reported over 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests and USPP reported over 11,000 criminal acts with 3,500 arrests. Additionally, a report from the IG office, #97-I-908,Audit Report on the Automated Law Enforcement System, National Park Service concludes “Thus, there is little assurance that the Park Service will be collecting and reporting all law enforcement data from all of the park units.” I think that means understating, but in all fairness in part was due to lack of manpower.

There are 8 Part 1 crimes in the uniform crime report, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm, 4 crimes against persons and 4 property crimes- murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. These have very specific conditions associated with their reporting. An attempted rape becomes aggravated assault if there is a weapon, otherwise it is just simple assault and may not be reported as a Part 1 crime. That being the case for 5,992 offenses reported by NPS/USPP out of 85,000 reported offenses would be low by an overall factor of at least 14. If we assume the same percentage (10%) of 85,000 to be crimes against persons than 8500/509 is approximately a factor 17. A report from USPP indicates offense handled by them to be in the 1000 range so 17 divided .83 is approximately a factor of 21.

Now, an anecdotal story- once a pair of sunglasses was stolen from a convertible while parked in the lot at a visitor’s center, a relatively expensive pair I might add. The complaint was not turned over to the FBI or the US Marshall, the DEA or BATFE, or the state police because apparently they have criteria for what they will send an investigator out for and so it was dutifully reported by NPS. There has been much conjecture that the crime rate for any given park is comparable to the surrounding area. This seems to be a reasonable assumption. One could construe from this that the majority of offenses turned over to FBI et al. are likely Part 1 crimes. What’s a majority? Since we are a republic, how about 2/3rds? (make your own number up based on your opinion) 85000 x .66 / 5992 = 93.6, just conjecture. Based on the reporting all I can really say it the Part 1 crime rate for NPS is off by a factor between 14 and the national average. Weather 14 or 21 or 93 or 459 the point is still the same.

For whatever reason, officials, bureaucrats, or agencies who knowingly would allow the planning and allocation for assets and resources to be expended based on misleading or questionable intelligence should be sat down hard or at the very least shot down in flames. Yes, yes not intended as a pun... however not a cheap shot either, that's intended.

It is difficult to get info for the past few years since Automated Law Enforcement System, National Park Service this is being replaced by IMARS at DOI. ”Currently, the Department is unable to provide the full range of data and information on incidents when asked, and lacks meaningful information to report…”, http://www.doi.gov/e-government/FY2005%20E%20Gov%20Annual%20Report%20-%20DOI.pdf. The implementation was to be complete by 2006 however meaningful info is still not available. I should warn you that in 2004 it changed slightly to be like this www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2004/. This table, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2004/par04_goals_glance4.pdf says that Part 1 crime rate is 14.6 (see page 142) with only 3 of 4 agencies reporting. I wonder which agency is not in here. By the way, LE funding requests from 2003 to 2005 increased by almost 50 per cent for annual expenditures although they only received about a 40 per cent actual increase. Check the annual budget requests and approvals, my math could be off a bit.

NPS–Park Police, http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/summary/10003727.2006.html, program assessment (latest available) indicate that the Part 1 crime reporting is up for 2007 from the establish baseline 2003-2004. From the program performance measures come the following quotes- ”In fact, increases could be a good thing, if it reflects better reporting.” and ”… the 2006 IG progress report showed USPP as the only DOI bureau making satisfactory progress on all of the Secretary's directives for law enforcement reform. These follow-up reports suggest that, while the program still has work to do, the USPP has become more effective and will soon be able to better demonstrate results.” Oh, it appears USPP may be using the UCR and NIBRS, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. According to the annual DOI/NPS 2008 report nothing really happened in 2005, 2006, 2007 except a few crimes on the Indian lands. Go check it out, if you can make sense of it, http://www.doi.gov/pfm/par/par2008/. Side note- based on informational reports for 2006, the last year I make sense of, total number of offenses in the parks was in excess 116,000 offenses. Should we we assume the numbers have gone down for 2007 and 2008?

NPS does not earmark exclusive law enforcement expenses when they request funding from congress. When congress denies or lowers or increases the allocations it is usually due to lack of meaningful data or the inclusion of supporting data in this area. See the following individual sections relating to NPS, http://www.doi.gov/budget/2005/data/pdf/05_HouseInteriorSum.pdf, http://www.doi.gov/budget/2006/data/pdf/06_HouseInteriorSum.pdf, and http://www.doi.gov/budget/2007/data/pdf/07_HouseInteriorSum.pdf. Once the monies are allocated NPS may spend the monies on anything they choose to after received. Which leads to funds needed for law enforcement spent on operations or in the parks that need it- money being diverted from operations to security and law enforcement as an example. This can lead to all kind of unintended consequences. Like the "Chambers treatment". Look it up yourself- see Teresa Chambers USPP or ask Mr. Wade, he was very outspoken about that. No bureaucrat every willingly gives up the power of discretionary spending over even a dollar unless they have to. One wonders why DOI/NPS wishes to re-invent the wheel of crime statistics, to the tune of many millions of dollars, rather than use the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting and National Incident Based Reporting Systems that are already in place. Unfortunately these systems are not mandatory.

I disagree with Mr. Burnett’s assertion that there are no new ideas to be had here. The UCR is a system which can accurately track crime statistic down to a local junior college. If NPS/USPP reported all criminal offenses by park than there would be accurate data for NPS as a whole and for LE funding that could be earmarked for each park based on need. This could be accomplished by executive order and in place before the new law takes effect. The current administration, which declined to even comment on the amendment due to that rare splitting of the house vote (only 2/3rds required to become law without a presidential signature and if you have 85 per cent going in...why bother), could support it and be on the pro-gun, anti-gun, pro national park, and pro-states rights issue all at the same time. What politician could resist that! When the stats come in then the pro-gun, anti-gun, pro national park, and pro-states rights people could set back and say “See, I told you so” depending on who’s really correct of course. Changes can be made if required at that time.

According to NPCA’s report, "Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage", the top 10 reasons America’s national parks need more money: Reason # 1: Parks are vulnerable to crime…

So, I think everyone concerned should write your President, your Governor, and both your state and national Representatives and Senators to suggest that NPS should report all criminal offenses (even those turned over to another agencies) and be included under the Uniform Crime Report by park. Providing accurate information for the assessment of LE funding needs not only for each individual park but the NPS as a whole based on a standard used by the rest of the country. Life could be simple. Did I say I had an agenda?

There's definitely a lot of material here to sort through and digest.

That said, and without having scoured it all, just a quick note that your statistics in graph six are a tad out of context. For instance, while you noted that the USPP reported more than 11,000 criminal acts with 3,500 arrests, you failed to complete the sentence from the report, which added that those numbers were compiled from "crimes committed on park lands and adjacent areas and captured 281 fugitives and wanted persons. (my emphasis).

As you undoubtedly know, the USPP is called upon quite frequently to matters outside the National Park System, and it'd be good to know how many of those incidents went toward the 11,000 crimes and 3,500 arrests.

Also, in pointing out that park rangers reported more than 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests in 1996, you dropped the following sentence that noted that of those totals, 4,400 were felonies, "including 15 murders and 158 aggravated assaults."

Without further detail into those 74,000 offenses or 20,000 arrests, it's difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks. How many arrests were for speeding? How many for disorderly conduct? How many were in urban settings, such as Golden Gate NRA or Gateway NRA or the National Mall? How many murders were committed outside a national park, but the bodies were dumped in a national park and so were recorded as a murder that occurred in a park?

Nevertheless, I'm sure everyone would agree that even one murder, whether committed in a national park or in downtown NYC, is too many (ditto with the aggravated assaults). But against the 265.7 million visitors the national parks counted in 1996, these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is.

"...it's difficult to get an accurate picture of crime in the national parks."

"...these numbers show how very, very low the crime rate in the National Park System is."

First you state it's difficult to get an actual picture of crime but then go on to say the crime rate is low. Which is it?

This arguement is over. Gun carry is to be allowed. NPS is not a separate sovereign agency that can make it owns rules contravening the Constitution.

Now the issue on reporting is a side issue and should be done if only to allocate resources to the NP. Rangers in some parks I have heard are in danger and should get more resources. A ranger is a person that has multiple responsiilties snd should not have to take on the armed soldier hat too often.
I hope with experience that many here who advocated the restriction of gun carry will change their mind as may have about CCW in the states. Now it is up to us who advocated gun carry to push our fellow lawfully armed citizens to be responsible and be extra careful. The last thing we want to prove the fear of that lawfully carry increases danger in the parks.

Noe NPS has 9 months to figure out how to manage carry issues. Some places like Washington state courts have storage for gun carry when entering the court. If they would provide that and it would be secure from theft then many would be glad to hand over their firearm when in the museum or the facility. These are the practical issues that come up and need to thought out.

Frank, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. So let me walk you through my thinking.

My comment regarding the difficulty in fully assessing crime in the parks: The figures Mr. Kane cites are simply numbers in broad categories. They're not broken down enough to fully understand what sort of crimes were being reported, or even where they were committed.

My comment on the low overall crime rate: Using the document for 1996 that Mr. Kane himself provided, it's clear that crime in the parks is very low no matter what approach you take. When you realize that some of the murders stemmed from crimes committed outside national parks, those numbers go lower.

One of the problems with this entire debate, and there are many I'm sure you'd agree, is that people cherry-pick data (some intentionally, some unintentionally) to support their arguments. For instance:

* For those who contend that the latest on guns in the parks stems from an overwhelming majority of Americans who wanted this ruling, data from this site show that no state with a "shall issue CCW" law has a double-digit percentage of its residents holding such a permit. That could be interpreted as meaning that a majority of Americans don't support CCW, no?

* For those who claim CCW permit holders are more law-abiding than most everyone else, there was a study in California in the early 2000s that "suggests that a shall-issue policy for CCW permits may result in higher rates of violent crime among permit holders..." (Selective trimming of that sentence would delete this telling conclusion: "but the results do not reach statistical significance; larger studies are needed.")

Does anyone know if such larger studies have been performed?

Suffice to say, this debate, discussion, or argument, however you want to term it, will continue.

RAH, just to set the record straight, the NPS has not acted like a "sovereign entity" on this issue. It does what Congress or the administration tells it to do.

A lot people just don't get it. There's no excpetion to gun rights in the 2nd Amendment. It doesn't say "you an own or carry a gun everywhere except on NPS land." You left-wing nuts think you can ignore the law whenever it suits your fancy. Newsflash: these wild lands were tamed and explored by people with guns. Guns are what kept (and still keep) people from getting killed from wild animals and criminals. Amount of crime in parks, etc is all a red herring. This about the law and NPS rules violated the law. If you think you are Jet Li or some sort of wizard and can defend yourself from grizzlies and killers with a twig, have at it. The rest of will return to common sense, which is the law of the land.

The NPS had a regulation restricting carry in violation of the 2nd amendment. They were active in trying to avoid the change in regulations and they are now delaying implementation for 9 months. So yes, I believe that most of the NPS believes they have sovereign rights to create their own regulations and it did not matter that it violated the consitution. They are part of DOI under the executive branch and have to abide by Constitution restrictions like all other agencies. Once Heller was decided in the affirmnative all agencies should have started thinking about the consequences of regulations that restrict the 2A. NPS regulations have been under review because of the problems that CCW holders had in crossing NPS roads and territory oy commutterspn their way to work. Since more people are exercisingtheir 2A rights, any regulation that contravenes that right should be rethought. NPS has been reluctant to instigate the change, thinking they were special. NPS lands are special but the regulations are not There is no reason to restrict the rights of American within NPS lands and that includes carry of handguns.

All the arguemnents have been red herrings. Poaching, vandalism, rckles shooting are all still prohibited.
Now residents will have the right retored to carry in the backcountry or carry concealed if they have a permit.

RAH -
The existing NPS regulations could be viewed as reasonable restrictions on the right to bear arms. You can argue that it was in violation of the 2nd Amendment, but that was never proven in court. Heller, while an extremely important case, was not on point regarding the NPS regulation. In fact, if you read the decision, the Supreme Court notes that some reasonable restrictions are constitutional. You may believe that the department or the agency should have shared your perspective on this issue, but that is a far cry from them declaring themselves sovreign and not subject to the Constitution.

In regards to the implementation of the new law, there is little choice in the matter, since the law itself says: "This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall become effective 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act." Since there was no specific provision for an earlier enactment of Section 512, dealing with guns in parks and refuges, it is effective in 9 months, as directed by Congress. It is not up to the agency or the Department.

You offer no evidence for the assertion that "NPS has been reluctant to instigate the change, thinking they were special". You might be able to cite a chronology of events to support the former, but I would challenge you to prove the phrase "thinking they were special".

Your arguments would be better supported by better facts, logic, and spelling.

Re: Kurt Repanshek.

you failed to complete the sentence from the report, which added that those numbers were compiled from "crimes committed on park lands and adjacent areas and captured 281 fugitives and wanted persons. (my emphasis).

I left the statements incomplete and provided the link simply because I assume any interested party will take the time to review. That being said there was no reason for me to continue the point. However, since you feel the need to further examine them let us see what meaning we can put to them.

1) If these numbers are correct then NPS is making essentially true and supportable statements used in their FY accountability report that is taken into consideration by congressional budget committees, otherwise… big trouble!
2) FBI, DEA, US Marshall et al do not handle speeding tickets or disorderly conduct. Therefore arrests made by NPS personnel included all of the non Part 1 crimes also, so no direct correlation to clearing rates.
3) NPS only reports felonies that were not turned over to other jurisdictional authorities to be investigated and reported by that jurisdictional authority.
4) Operations are in some very metropolitan areas as well as rural areas. Therefore the breakdown of felonies versus non felonies will be very close to the general area. The FBI Unified Crime Report statistical rates should be applicable for any given city, state, or regional area across the country. More especially considering the shear depth of these records.
5) NPS reported officially they handled a total of 5,992 felonies including a 24 murders and 299 aggravated assaults. Since the park rangers handled 4,400; 15; and 299 that means USPP had 1,592 felonies including 9 murders and 141 aggravated assaults in additional to the fugitives and wanted persons.

If 281 fugitives choose to hide out in the USPP areas makes you wonder how many fugitives may be hiding out in the other areas, doesn’t it?

Given that the Office of the Inspector General’s annual reports from 1981 to current addressing this issue conclude that the NPS stats are under reported what we are really engaged in here? Answer, an exercise to approximate the degree and since the IG say that USPP has been making significant progress in the last few years I am only going to do the bigger number here. Plus, we can assume the park rangers didn’t “go to town” to find crime.

Re.: “park rangers reported more than 74,000 offenses with 20,000 arrests in 1996, you dropped the following sentence that noted that of those totals, 4,400 were felonies, "including 15 murders and 158 aggravated assaults."

Based on 74,000 offenses that would statistically imply 27,000 felonies of which NPS handled 4,400 leaving 22,600 felonies reported and investigated by FBI et al. NPS did not report and turned over to other agencies an estimated 22,600 felonies. If these felonies have any direct relation to the NPS supplied ratios 15/4400 and 158/4400 would imply that NPS turned over to other agencies felonies including 77 murders and 811 aggravated assaults for deposition by those agencies. That data would then be collected into the UCR for the region and not show up in official NPS felony statistic, showing up only in the accountability reports at budget time. This tells me that someone at NPS is tasked with keeping these other data strictly for non crime related purposes... maybe funding requests? Sure would like to see that file.

Based on the foregoing the effective crime rate would be off for Part 1 crimes, or felonies if you prefer, by a factor of about 9. Using the highly touted crime index number of 1.65 and DOI’s last report of 14.5… 14.5/1.65 equals 8.78. Well, I am satisfied with my analysis here as being reasonably accurate.

The other question here is “How understated are the meager data NPS has presented?” Based on the IG report USPP is working on it and making progress. However, their Part 1 crime rate is increasing when the rest of the country’s crime rate is decreasing. See DOJ/FBI “ Preliminary Semiannual Crime Report”, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2008prelim/table_1.html#top, for 2008. That begs a simple question- how can that be?

Whether off by a little or a lot the point that is important here is this. Loud noise and emotional ploys rarely get funded or anything else except blow off as an irritant. NPS current budget is 2.5 billion dollars. Their ongoing costs are 2.1 billion and operating cost is 400 million. Anyone heard of a report by The Ranger Lodge titled "The Ten Most Dangerous National Parks." If you looked at some of the budget reports you would have realized that the budget committee has taken away 30 plus million dollars from the NPS operating budget one year because of this very type of nonsense. On the other hand some individual parks (see that Ranger Lodge report for clues) received several million dollars additional funding just for security and law enforcement that year. Those parks did not have to divert other park operating funds to security and LE as some parks had to do.

With this pending law going into effect in nine months now would be a great time to get this new administration, congress, and the states behind putting NPS on FBI UCR properly. A simple executive order is all it would take. NPS crime stats should be handled just like the rest of the country. We would know the answers to all the discussed questions. When it comes budget time LE funds, assets, and resources could be allocated where they are needed. Park managers would not need to divert other program funds to security and LE efforts in their parks. That’s a win-win situation.

This new law is a done deal! If we can get some people over their own rhetoric of a 1.65 crime rate and no problem mentality this could be good all the way round. I have covered this with the officials I know and made my case there. I have other things on my agenda I’d like to see accomplished in my lifetime. Therefore, I am done with this topic here. If interested or concerned enough, there are other email addresses that can be written to. So, what are you going to do now?

If 281 fugitives choose to hide out in the USPP areas makes you wonder how many fugitives may be hiding out in the other areas, doesn’t it?

No, it doesn't. USPP officers are based primarily, if not entirely, in the Washington metropolitan area, where the largest contingent of Park Police is located; in Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City; and in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in the city of San Francisco, California. These are all large metropolitan areas with crime rates far more significant than exist in other areas where the NPS operates.

In more than a few instances these officers go outside NPS units to assist local authorities:

* Members are frequently detailed to local and Federal task forces created to combat specific types of crimes.

* Operating primarily in the District of Columbia and 10 surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia, this Unit targets the heads of mid-level street distribution organizations and wholesalers. The Unit also targets prostitution, open-air drug markets, and assists investigations in drug-related homicide cases.

* Since 1985 the U.S. Park Police has been involved in the seizure and forfeiture of assets that have facilitated the illegal trafficking of drugs, represented the proceeds of such activity, are involved in any number of money-laundering violations, or are a combination of all three. In 1991, the U.S. Park Police became the only U.S. Department of the Interior entity to be recognized by the Department of Justice as a "Department Component" in its Asset Forfeiture Program.

Even if the fugitives are arrested within NPS units in these cities, the settings are entirely unrelated to those found in Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, etc, etc, etc.

To imply that the entire National Park System has crime rates equivalent to those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., and to drop a murder tally on the national parks without noting that in more than a few cases these murders 1) occurred outside the park in which the bodies were dumped, 2) involved domestic disputes, or 3) were murder-suicides, seems to be little more than fear-mongering.

And please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying crimes are not committed in national parks. And I think the data you offer merits further investigation. But it also needs to be placed in its proper context.

Reasonable restrictions in Heller were felons such as the restriction that were listed back in the 1700's .Carry was defined in Heller and the NPS regulations did violate the keep part of the 2A. Heller recognized a preexisting right to keep and bear arms. Bear meant to carry , the Heller Supreme Ct decision actually explored that definition and how many time keep and carry were listed regarding arms in the colonial times.

I suggest you read the Heller decesion carefully again. Reasonable does not mean to ban firearms as DC did regarding handguns. Plus NF and BLM allows handguns according to state law.

As a citizien I have the right to own and use arms for lawful purposes. If I can not carry a handgun then I can not use one for lawful pupose of self defense, That violate the purpose of the 2A. Now this decision did not get into the arguement for or against carry handgins in DC.The first step had to be declared that DC was in violation since they banned handguns and it was impossible to even register a handgun.

Mr Heller did not request to carry but just the right to posess a handgun and to be able to register a handgun, That is why the registration was left in place since Heller did not argue against the registration. Many states do not have registration and that has not been declared allowed or not alllowed under the 2A. The are new cases against the registration that may or may not get to the Supreme Ct.

Besides It is the law that NPS has to allow lawful carry as per the state laws. Tha law was signed on Friday by the President. It was voted in by a majority of the Senate and House. This will not effect any Dc parks since currently lawful carry by citizens except police is still banned. Also guns are not allowed in facilities under another regulation. At this time that is not being contested.

Re: Kurt Repanshek.

Frank, I knew you wouldn't disappoint me. So let me walk you through my thinking.

I had not intended to get into this one but some of your comments just demand a response. So…

Whether firearms are needed in the park, openly carried or concealed, is a non issue. NPS must comply with the laws of the land. This is about individual rights and has nothing do with crime or what’s her name not feeling safe or the ranger doesn’t like it. Open carry, concealed carry, or no carry- just a simple choice requiring no further justification. Whatever crime statistics or however many people don’t like it, not withstanding. Any other opinion now has no meaning.

This new law is nothing special, anymore than the recent Supreme Court ruling, District of Columbia Et al. v. Heller (2009). There are many previous Supreme Court rulings relating to this issue. Just to citing the most notable ones-

U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876) was the first Second Amendment case to reach the Supreme Court. The Court recognized that the right to arms is an individual right. The Court said in Cruikshank v. U.S. that the Second Amendment protects a right which existed even before the Constitution was written. The right to arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed."

By the way, they said the same thing about the First Amendment, the Court considered these rights pre-existing, thus they are not granted by the Constitution. Even if removed from the Constitution these rights will still exist!

Beard v. U.S. (1895) The court approved the common-law rule that a person "may repel force by force" in self-defense, and concluded that, when attacked, a person "was entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force" as needed to prevent "great bodily injury or death."

Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1(1981 ) The Police And Personal Protection Police are under no legal obligation to provide protection for any individual. Courts have ruled the police have an obligation only to society as a whole.

U.S. V. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) The Supreme Court observed in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990) "`the people` seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by `the People of the United States.` The Second Amendment protects `the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,` and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to `the people.`"

Perpich v. Dept. of Defense, (1990). The National Guard is subject to absolute federal control When federalized, it is not part of the militia. At other times, it is the "organized militia." At all times, the "unorganized militia" consists of other able-bodied males of age and certain other citizens.

For those of you who do not know what the militia truly is see the US Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, Chapter 13, Section 311.

U.S. v. Emerson (2001), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, with "limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions . . . not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country."

On at least two occasions in recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has invoked the Tenth Amendment to strike down federal "gun control" schemes, suggesting strong limitations on the authority of the federal government to restrict the possession and use of arms. Congress has no enumerated power to restrict the right to arms, and therefore has regulated firearms through its interstate commerce and taxing powers only.

In the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearms Owners' Protection Act (1986), Congress stated that it did not intend to "place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms appropriate to . . . personal protection, or any other lawful activity."

I believe that covers whether or not I can have a weapon fairly well.

As for the concealed carry part. Your stats are from 2004, they have gone up considerably so I wouldn’t make book on that double digit statement. Unfortunately there is no federal CCW at this time. In order to get the stats you will need to visit the web page of each state police organization and look in the CCW section to get both the number of licenses and the crime rate for CCW holders for states with CCW. Then you can compare that against the FBI UCR for the state as a whole. You’ll find that the crime rate for CCW holders is insignificant by comparison.

Currently 46 states and the District of Columbia have CCW. Alaska and Vermont allow open or concealed carry only requiring that you be able to legally own a firearm. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only non CCW states. 36 states are “shall issue states.” In the past 25 years at least 20 states enacted their CCW status by popular referendum, so at least 51 percent of the voters in those states voted in favor of CCW. 16 states enacted their CCW by state congressional act. That’s the majority of voters and represented voters in 36 states. I believe that’s enough voters to get an Amendment added to the Constitution.

As for the VPR Cal study, I believe that’s already been suitably disposed of, but I’ll try to run through quickly.

Up front the study does not track age groups or socioeconomic groups. Comparing 691 people form Sacramento County, a relatively densely populated area over a period of 3 year to 965 people spread over the state, including very sparsely populated areas, over a period of 2 years. Note that to extrapolate numbers here that is approximately equally weighted. Therefore we could say that CCW holders in Sacramento County are more prone to violent crimes that the rest of the state by a factor of 3. That being said, here’s an interesting thought. If you accidentally ran over a pedestrian as you were rushing to get into the park and he later died then that would be a violent crime. Negligent homicide or vehicular manslaughter, although for NPS reporting purposes that comes under the heading of murder. Or if you and I met for drinks inside the Beltway later and during the course of our heated discussions you struck me with a beer bottle that would be a violent crime also, aggravated assault. Point- no firearm is required. So, let take a look at the numbers.

A projected violent crime rate of 291 per 100,000 man-years for 691 people over a period of 3 years. If I did the math correctly that would mean that extrapolated out 1 of these people would need to commit a violent crime of some type each year for next 345 years. Why not a 144 years? Because that person will have his CCW revoked and each year there will be 1 less person. Once they reach 300 years of age I’m thinking they re going to be pretty sedate, not causing much trouble anymore. So, how else could we get there?

How about this, how many violent crimes would need to be committed annually by 691 over a period of 3 years to extrapolate out to 291 per 100,000 man-years. Answer 2 per year. That would be a crime rate of 0.3 per cent annually… so this group of 691 people, while more prone to violent crime than the rest of the state at 0.1 per cent, statistically is still many times below the crime rate percentage of the state as a whole. I think I know why this study is “Statistically Insignificant” but check my math anyway, I did it rather quickly.

I prefer more meaningful studies without as much of an agenda. The type that states the methodology, contains their empirical data and analyses the potential for errors and flawed assumptions using multiple models. These are some very good sources, National Crime Victimization Survey, the Uniform Crime Reports, and the National Incident-Based Reporting System and the National Violent Death Reporting System. The National Crime Victimization Survey is an ongoing annual survey conducted by the Department of Justice that collects information from nearly 100,000 non-institutionalized adults from more 50,000 households every year. It is the largest and oldest of the crime studies. I have found over the years that cherry picking intell gets people hurt badly. You asked about other and bigger studies, take a look at these- I trust you will not consider these as cherry picking-

National Research Council, "Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review," National Academies Press, 2005 , http://books.nap.edu/books/0309091241/html/index.html

Roth, Koper, et al., Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, March 13, 1997, www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=406797

Reedy and Koper, "Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers," Injury Prevention 2003, http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/9/2/151

Koper et al., Report to the National Institute of Justice, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, June 2004, www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/jlc-new/Research/Koper_aw_final.pdf

Wm. J. Krouse, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban," Dec. 16, 2004; Library of Congress, Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries, May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010; Task Force on Community Preventive Service, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report, Oct. 3, 2003, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm

BATFE, Annual Firearm Manufacturers and Export Reports, www.atf.gov/firearms/stats/index.htm.

BATFE estimated 215 million guns in 1999 (Crime Gun Trace Reports, 1999, National Report, Nov. 2000, p. ix , www.atf.gov/firearms/ycgii/1999/index.htm)

The National Academy of Sciences estimated 258 million (National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005). The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports 72 million approved new and used firearm transactions by firearm dealers through the National Instant Check System between 1999-2007 ("Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2007," www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/pub/html/bcft/2007/table/bcft07st01.htm

FBI http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_04.html

Bureau of Justice Statistics, http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/. RTC comparison based on data in the FBI table.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." ---Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

And now I’m done with both of these topics!

Mr. Repanshek.

To imply that the entire National Park System has crime rates equivalent to those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.,…

I didn’t mean to, I didn’t use the ratios from NY or Newark or DC. I used the FBI UCR rates for the Western Region. That’s everything compiled from west of Texas. Seemed appropriate to me for this analysis. Had I used the Northeastern Region the numbers would have actually been lower had I used the cities in question they would have been higher.

Well, I need to pack up my backpack, gear, and primary provisions for 10 days. I have a scheduled rendezvous with 2 old friends in a remote area of one of “The Ten Most Dangerous National Parks” and am looking forward to that. Not the early plane ride or the drive tomorrow or the long hike in the next, but everything else. It’ll be good to get away for a couple of weeks!

Seems as though some of this should be over a beer… if your going to be inside the Beltway in the very near future let me know, if am still there I’ll buy. As a private citizen not only can I now be political but I get to choose where to live too, ain’t that a kick!

Best Regards,
RK

To Anonymous on May 25th 2009
On your statement "The votes in both the House and Senate were overwhelming in favor".
The cowards in the House and Senate hid this in the credit card bill, what credit cards have to do with loaded guns in the National Parks I do not know.
If they were truely overwhelming in favor of this they would have let this stand on its own and not hidden in a unrelated bill.

RickT,

Before you add your 2 cents there you might want to look at this.

Attaching this amendment to the credit card bill was a convenience, not brilliant ploy and far from bullet proof. Your reporting of the vote on the credit card bill is correct, but it is way off base on the amendment. The House used a very rarely used option to split the votes on the credit card bill and the firearms amendment.

House roll call vote: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/index.asp
#276: Firearms Amendment , 361 For – 64 Against. Passed before the credit card bill! And the numbers!
#277: Credit Card Bill : 279 For – 147 Against. Lucky, the credit card bill had enough support to pass too![/q]

See A R Kane's comments on the May 21 for the full text. He writes a lot but he also backs it up. That's a nice change.

I would like the change so I can protect family in National Parks. We here don't worry about. Wild animals but human animals. The best thing would not to flaunt a weapon but keep them hiden. What you don't see better what you don't hear is ok to me. I have carried at work in a Las Vegas hotel and the worst thimg that I can think of is to take a life. Having a weapon is a great responsablility. One I myself take very seriously.

Personally I think that people should be forced, by state law, to allow firearms in their homes. That would make every home safer. Hell, everyone over the age of 12, that isn't a felon should be required to carry a gun, that would really make us safe. I trust everyone, but felons with firearms. Let's take this to the extreme (NOT).

Exactly the problem with allowing firearms in the parks. One wonders if bearspray and other precautions could have prevented this from happening:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iZAXtf6DCKaBSj3u7Y38fdZ6f62gD9G1OJ8G0

'Aggressive' deer sparks first Glacier gun incident
By CHRIS PETERSON / Hungry Horse News
Published: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 9:26 AM PDT
Glacier National Park has had its first incident of a gun being fired inside the Park boundaries since carrying them was legalized.

On June 12, a woman was hiking on the Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Creek when she encountered what she claimed was an aggressive whitetail deer, said Park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt.
The deer continued to her approach her and initially she discharged pepper spray toward the animal but was apparently too far away.
Then she pulled out a .357 magnum handgun and fired it into the ground away from the animal to scare it away. The deer hopped into the bushes, but still stayed fairly close.

Rest of the story here.

More..

Hiker in Glacier National Park fires .357 to scare deer

Thanks Walker! As scary as that is to me, it also gave me a chuckle during a very slow day in the office. I can understand have a problem with the aggressive deer, I've used sticks to push animals away from me and have even hit them before (not hard!) and have them come right back. I seriously doubt I'd ever use a gun though.