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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."


RoadRanger says, "This legislation sets the stage for the opportunity to collect hard data on the impact of concealed carry in the parks" There's already hard data that's been collected 40 times in the 40 states that have implemented concealed carry laws. It's been a non-issue. RoadRanger also says, "there simply isn't enough data for a sound, scientific decision supporting the prohibition." Exactly. That's why the regulation has been eliminated and concealed carry rights will soon be law where applicable.

Re: RemynRay's comment:

The problem with the NO firearms in the parks is that those of us that include other activities besides going to a park (a single point destinaton for an entire vacation) either forces one to not be totally honest or skip visiting some of our finest treasures, the National Parks.

Therein lies one of the misconceptions about the previous regulation. It did not prohibit anyone bringing a legally possessed firearm into a park, so there was no need to "skip visiting" any park. Visitors carrying a weapon that was legal outside the boundary of that park simply had to unload it and secure it in the trunk of the vehicle or similar secure location while they were in the park. The system worked well for years for the vast majority of park visitors, but of course that's now a moot point.

Re: Rick's comment:

It'll actually be safer now because the criminals might think you have a gun and won't bother you. That's a fact.


Ironically, because the Coburn amendment apparently goes far beyond allowing individuals with CCL's to be armed in parks, this action will actually make things easier for all of those criminals presumed to be lurking in the parks, waiting to prey on innocent visitors. Under the previous regulations, at least those folks had to be discrete and keep their weapons out of sight. In Coburn's brave new world, the bad guys as well as honest folk are free to keep their long guns as well as handguns close at hand.

Yep, I sure feel safer knowing that the bad guys as well as the honest folks are now free to cruise the park roads and campgrounds with their loaded rifles and shotguns at the ready.

If my family is hiking and encounter a predator thinking we are food, I'd like to have a device to keep ourselves safe. However, gun is just a tool, nothing more and nothing less. If use with care and responsibility, it could save lives.

"If my family is hiking and encounter a predator thinking we are food, I'd like to have a device to keep ourselves safe. However, gun is just a tool, nothing more and nothing less. If use with care and responsibility, it could save lives." Anonymous.

With all due respect, the chance of you or a member of your family being eaten by a predator in a national park is too small to calculate. Between a gun and a natural predator - you are in far more danger of accidently shooting yourself or one of your family or even some innocent bystander. Guns will not make the parks safer - just the opposite.

Guns will not make the parks unsafe, people who act stupidly with guns will make anywhere unsafe.

There have been gun-related arrests in the parks in the past and you never heard a peep about it, now see what the anti-gun media does to the next arrest. I can just see it now, the leftists doing their war dance of “I told you so”.

Guns will not make the parks unsafe, people who act stupidly with guns will make anywhere unsafe


No argument there! Unfortunately, there's no shortage of examples to verify that statement.

Under the previous regulations, there were at least some controls to reduce the immediate availability of loaded guns, including rifles and shotguns, in parks. The idiots who use firearms irresponsibly at least had to keep them out of sight. When they didn't, and when rangers spotted those weapons, they could take appropriate action without being forced to wait until shots were fired.

Under the new approach, there are no controls over that small percentage of people who will act stupidly with guns - until after they have done something that endangers others. Bottom line - parks will now be just like the "anywhere" referred to above - the rest of the country in terms of the higher potential for gun-related incidents. In my book, that's not progress.

My suggested name for the new bill: The Poachers and Vandals Stimulus Act.

And, yes - I'm a gun owner, but I haven't felt any need to cart them along when I visit a park.

Perhaps someone can explain some things to me. Will guns be allowed in the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell? If not, what law will stop them?

How about the birthplace of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Seems particularly wrong to have guns in the homes of our leaders who were violently killed by guns.

How will the NPS deal with guns at Alcatraz and the St. Louis Arch? How about the Washington Monument and Federal Hall?

Just wondering.

You shold be outraged and so should all true Americans on both sides of this issue! We have seen this pattern of abuse of powers for a number of years now (maybe forever). We are NOT being represented and they will pass whatever they want whenever they want. It is particually frightning how many changes have been made in the last few months WITHOUT much input from the American voter.

God Bless US!

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