Effort Under Way In Congress To Reinstate Ban On Firearms in National Parks

A group of congressmen, led by two members of Washington state's delegation, is trying to reinstate a ban against visitors carrying firearms in national parks.

Rep. Jim McDermott says he and Rep. Norm Dicks decided to introduce legislation that would ban guns in the parks in the wake of the murder of a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park. Their effort would seem particularly bold during an election year, as the National Rifle Association doesn't hesitate to wield its powerful lobby against politicians whose views it disagrees with.

Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, a 34-year-old law enforcement ranger, was shot and killed on New Year's Day when she tried to intercept a suspect wanted in connection with a shooting in Seattle earlier that day. Benjamin Colton Barnes had fled a routine checkpoint where park visitors were checked to see if they had chains for their tires.

At a point on the road above Longmire and about a mile from Paradise the ranger used her cruiser to block the road so she could stop the man. Before she could get out of her cruiser, though, Mr. Barnes killed her with blasts from a shotgun, according to park officials.

"The dreadful and deeply saddening event that occurred on Mt. Rainier makes me question why on earth people should be allowed to carry loaded weapons in our national parks,” Rep. McDermott was quoted as saying to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The controversial rule change that allowed park visitors to both openly carry weapons, carry concealed weapons, and even carry rifles in the parks took effect two years ago this month, when the provision was amended by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, to popular legislation pertaining to the ground rules credit card companies must follow.

Under the change, firearm regulations in a specific park resemble those of the state in which the park is located, except, however, when it comes to federal facilities. They are still off-limits to visitors with guns. Previously, gun owners could bring their weapons into national parks, but the firearms had to be unloaded and out of reach.

According to the newspaper's report, at least eight House members have signed on to the legislation.

Comments

hmmm..... I'm thinking, just a guess now.....anyone capable of going on a rampage like that would certainly care less about any law for or against carrying firearms, no matter where its at. to pass a law saying someone cannot have the capacity to defend themselves from any lethal threat sickens me. if the time comes and you want to be a sheep led to slaughter then by all means that is your choice not to defend yourself. it is after all a free country and hopefully always will be.

Terrific.

Probably gonna get shot down by the NRA and their henchmen, though.

It will always come down to those who abide by the law and those who don't. Banning firearms would not have saved the ranger nor will any law save anyone else if confronted by someone who doesn't follow the law. It almost doesn't matter what law you enact it is the crimanal and their intent. I don't personally carry guns, and I have many, on visits to the parks but if a situation arises that someone who is legally armed stops a felon I would feel grateful that that person was armed.

If McDermott thinks his ban would have stopped an armed fugitive from taking guns into a national park and murdering a ranger he is mistaken. There are several logical arguments for such a ban; however, McDermott's isn't one of them. Instead it is a shameful abuse of sympathy and a pathetically weak line of reasoning that unfortunately will be easily dismantled by the NRA.

Lee - why does it not surprise me that you want to ignore the second amendment as well as science. The NRA and their henchmen? Please - tell us who the NRA has hanged.

I think you're probably right, Road Ranger. I'm all for a ban--at least an open carry ban--in the national parks, but this tragedy might not be the best pretext for its (re)legislation.

Fleeing shooting suspect--How dare him enter a park without putting his gun in the trunk of his car. Oh yea! the NRA and those people with R after their title are the problem, pathetic

1. A ban on firearms will not deter a law breaker from taking firearms into a National Park.
2. Unless one is in a National Park unit designated as a National Preserve, it is still illegal to discharge it. This did not stop the killer from using the weapon in a Nationalpark.

anonymous, that's hilarious. have you been drinking?

Ah, EC, once again you twist things to your liking. I am NOT anti-Second Amendment. But I do think we need some reasonable regulation of weapons.

As for the NRA, their paranoid rants go far beyond any degree of reasonableness.

So Lee - where does the second amendment call for "reasonable" regulation and what is "reasonable" about banning guns in a national park? Why is it any more reasonable to ban them there than anywhere else?
Oh, and please identify one of the NRA's "paranoid rants". Who is using facts and who is speaking from emotion?

Using this Rangers death to further their own agenda is despicable.A no carry ban wouldn't have changed anything that happened that day

Dave, and all the others who argue that madmen will disregard the law, of course: It's a step in the right direction. There are TOO MANY guns in our society today. Any initiative to restrict them in any way has my support.
Here, I will save you the trouble:
"I want to be able to defend myself." Except that bad and evil guys have the advantage of surprise and you have the disadvantage of being law-abiding and having a conscience. Odds favor the bad and evil guys.
"Guns don't kill people, people do." Guns make it one HECK of a lot easier, though.

Ed-123 - Of course it wouldn't have made any difference. But that is moot to people like Bruce, Lee, et al. Their agenda isn't to stop crime, its to expand government.
And Bruce, you say "There are too many guns..." How many should their be? Who should decide that? Oh, thats right, the Constitution has already given us that answer. Perhaps you should read & heed it.

Lee-- I happen to be a member of the NRA and don't think your statement is fair. I actually find it quite offensive.Dick G

This is maddness, these political fools... sadly even if weapons were not permitted i doubt the outcome of the poor ranger would have been any different. As A "real" outdoorsman, nto a city dweller-want-to-be outdoors sheep (as we call them); I carry a firearm always, mostly locked in the vehicle, and I will NOT leave it at home when I'm in an area where mother nature can eat me! Meaning Mt Lion, Grissly, etc. If hiking and doing recon work I will be armed, law or not! Had the last poor guy eaten by a Grissly had a proper firearm he may have survived! This needless nonsense of imposing new laws everytime something goes wrong is just insane! Maybe these two fools should spend a week in the outdoors of our National Parks, and they'll realize quickly that some is still WILD COUNTRY!

MG--

Unless you are extrermely well-trained and extraordinarily cool under stress, a weapon will do you no good in the case of a surprise attack by a grizzly or mountain lion. I always am amazed at the people who think that a handgun (and it better be a .44 magnum) would serve them in such a circumstance.

Rick

Rick-- I agree with what you say-- bear spray is a much better deterent if a "Grissly" were to attack. I keep my licenced and cased firearm locked in my vehicle--- truthfully with all the crack-heads, etc around I don't feel safe without it.While I am a member of the NRA I don't completly agree with some of there more extreme views. There's a middle ground---- no sane person wants everyone to be carrying around a weapon. There does need to be intelligent restrictions-- thats why there is a back-ground check etc.I think there is an old saying--" Better not to discuss politics or religion with friends"-- maybe we should add gun ownership??LOL

Do Rep. Jim McDermott and Rep. Norm Dicks really believe that some one who was wanted and fled a checkpoint would have been deterred by a law prohibiting having firearms in National Parks? Really?! If they truly believe that it is a mistake to follow state law in the boundries of a National Park, fine, let them propose a bill. But to try to tie it to a tragedy it would have had no effect on.....