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Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks


The U.S. Senate, which struggles mightily with topics such as health care, education, and balanced budgets, had no troubles Tuesday amending a credit card bill of all things with a measure to allow concealed weapons to be toted about national parks and wildlife refuges.

On an easy vote of 67-29 the senators tacked on the amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, to a bill concerning how many fees credit card companies can charge you. If opponents to concealed carry in national parks are right, the senators might not have realized what they were doing.

"Senator Coburn’s amendment to the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act of 2009 would allow individuals to openly carry rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic weapons in national parks if the firearm is in compliance with State law," the National Parks Conservation Association, Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Association of National Park Rangers, and the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, said in a letter sent to the Senate prior to the vote.

"As a result, individuals could attend ranger-led hikes and campfire programs with their rifles at Yellowstone National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and other national park treasures across the country."

In passing the amendment, it perhaps could be said that the senators viewed themselves as being above the law. Earlier this year a federal judge blocked a somewhat similar gun regulation from remaining in effect, saying the Interior Department had failed to conduct the obligatory National Environmental Policy Act reviews before approving the regulation. The irony, of course, is that Congress passed NEPA, and now the Senate is thumbing its collective nose at it.

The measure has a way to go before it can become law. The credit-card legislation needs to pass the Senate and gain approval in the House of Representatives, and then President Obama must sign it into law.

Here's how the senators voted on the amendment:


Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) Yes.


Begich (D) Yes; Murkowski (R) Yes.


Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Yes.


Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes.


Boxer (D) No; Feinstein (D) No.


Bennet (D) Yes; Udall (D) Yes.


Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (I) No.


Carper (D) No; Kaufman (D) No.


Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.


Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.


Akaka (D) No; Inouye (D) No.


Crapo (R) Yes; Risch (R) Yes.


Burris (D) No; Durbin (D) No.


Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) Yes.


Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) No.


Brownback (R) Yes; Roberts (R) Yes.


Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes.


Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes.


Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes.


Cardin (D) No; Mikulski (D) Not Voting.


Kennedy (D) Not Voting; Kerry (D) No.


Levin (D) No; Stabenow (D) No.


Klobuchar (D) Yes.


Cochran (R) Yes; Wicker (R) Yes.


Bond (R) Yes; McCaskill (D) No.


Baucus (D) Yes; Tester (D) Yes.


Johanns (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.


Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) Yes.

New Hampshire

Gregg (R) Yes; Shaheen (D) Yes.

New Jersey

Lautenberg (D) No; Menendez (D) No.

New Mexico

Bingaman (D) No; Udall (D) No.

New York

Gillibrand (D) No; Schumer (D) No.

North Carolina

Burr (R) Yes; Hagan (D) Yes.

North Dakota

Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.


Brown (D) No; Voinovich (R) Yes.


Coburn (R) Yes; Inhofe (R) Yes.


Merkley (D) Yes; Wyden (D) Yes.


Casey (D) Yes; Specter (D) Yes.

Rhode Island

Reed (D) No; Whitehouse (D) No.

South Carolina

DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) Yes.

South Dakota

Johnson (D) No; Thune (R) Yes.


Alexander (R) No; Corker (R) Yes.


Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.


Bennett (R) Yes; Hatch (R) Yes.


Leahy (D) Yes; Sanders (I) Yes.


Warner (D) Yes; Webb (D) Yes.


Cantwell (D) No; Murray (D) No.

West Virginia

Byrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Not Voting.


Feingold (D) Yes; Kohl (D) Yes.


Barrasso (R) Yes; Enzi (R) Yes.


It's a done deal. The House of Representatives passed H.R.627 today which included an amendment to repeal the gun ban on National Park Service (NPS) land and wildlife refuges.

The Coburn amendment passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 279-147. Logic and the U.S. Constitution (as well as state law regarding concealed carry) prevails.

To quote the great American socialist--the answer to Hitler (excuse me) and Mussolini--FDR: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

Get with the program, socialists and statists. You have nothing to fear from guns.

Your fear of freedom is the only thing you should fear.

What about the concept of natural rights?

The BOR affirmed what many at the time though did not be discussed that all those rights were to be respected. Howver some states insisted on the BOR in order to pass the Constitution.

That pesky 2A which has many purposes and one of which is personal defense. This right is not confirmed by fear but an extension of the natural right of a living being to defend his/ her life.


Nor should rights be confirmed based on fear.

Rick Smith

Ray, it's macho and image thing...straddling in looking like a bunch of big time gut pile hunters. I sense a couple of weak egos somewhere.

Gotta say something. Carrying a gun does change things. A gun has a single end purpose - to kill. It is not to wound or even to discourage, although these may be byproducts of its primary function. I recall sitting in a restaurant having breakfast in the Bettles Lodge in northern Alaska when some out-of-state sport hunters walked in with revolvers strapped to their hips. They had just returned from a guided sheep hunt and were waiting for the scheduled plane back to Fairbanks. Most of the customers were local residents who were also active hunters, but there was a noticeable chill in the air as these three hunters strode in. The sport hunters seemed to think that they were in Dodge City at the O.K. Corral. Equating a gun with a common tool and expecting others to simply accept it as a normal part of life is ridiculous. The average park visitors encountering someone with a gun on a nature walk trail will have a negative reaction. FWIW, I have owned and used guns most of my life.

That is the point Rick; you fear a tool that should not come out of the holster to be used. I concede that if the gun is used that you have basis for fear. The cell phone is used constantly and thus an irritant.

The typical analogy is a fire extinguisher that is not used unless there is need, which is rare. The fire extinguisher is not a tool than can kill so in that it is different. But the purpose is the same to prevent a fire from getting worse. A defensive use of gun is the same to stop a bad situation from getting worse.

The tool should not be feared but the person who abuses it. I will not transfer my rational fear of a human predator using his greater strength and weapons to the weapons he uses. The weapons are harmless unless a human wields them.

That is why I assumed until Kurt objected that most object because they fear that gun carriers will abuse the use and shoot at flora, fauna, and humans.

Rick, I agree that many will feel the same as you. But rights are not restricted due to a feeling of fear.

This issue will not go away. The Supreme Ct affirmed it is an individual right and those people who support that will continue to push for our rights to be respected. So NPS will eventually have to accede to the right of visitors to carry in NPS. The form is yet to be determined.

Please. RAH,don't say that a gun on the hip will not change my experience as much as a cell phone. That is ludicrous. No one fears a cell phone. You might annoy me with a cell phone , but if I am hiking a trail and meet you with a weapon on your hip, I am going to be afraid.

Your point about hunters and national parks is valid. Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter and conservationest.

I know that you keep your dogs on a leash when they are in a national park area and refrain from taking them in the back country. Many don't however, and I don't think carrying a weapon to protect your dog off a leash in the back country of a national park area is not a valid reason to permit weapons in national parks.

Rick Smith

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