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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.


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.


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.

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