Four years after it lobbied hard against a proposal to allow national park visitors to arm themselves with firearms, the National Parks Conservation Association is backing a move to block assault weapons sales.
NPCA President Tom Kiernan last week called U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's legislation to ban the "sale, transfer, importation, and manufacturing" of a wide range of assault weapons one step towards making national parks safer for visitors and wildlife.
The senator's legislation if signed into law would not only ban 150 specifically-named assault weapons, but also "an additional group of weapons that accept detachable ammunition magazines and have one or more military characteristics," said Mr. Kiernan in a prepared statement. "The bill would also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines. If passed, this bill would apply to our national parks. The National Parks Conservation Association strongly supports it and encourages Congress to vote for it.
"Nearly four years ago, a law was enacted allowing guns in national parks, specifically authorizing people to carry firearms into national parks to the extent allowed under state law. We aggressively opposed the 'guns in parks' law which made it legal for people to carry assault weapons into many national park units. Some states also allow for open carry of such weapons," he went on. “National parks are places where families, wildlife watchers, recreationists, international travelers and so many others go to enjoy the scenic beauty, historical meaning and cultural diversity of our national heritage.
"Assault weapons have no place in the National Park System unless they are in a museum. We applaud and support Senator Feinstein’s effort to make our national parks safer for all visitors and wildlife.”