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NPCA Backs Call For Ban On Assault Weapons


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.”


Because there have been so many instances of law abiding citizens bringing assault weapons into parks and harming people?

Actually, yes. At least one instance is one too many.

I guess you are one of those "if it saves a single life" people. Is the next step shutting down the world?

Btw. What is the "once" that you refer to when an otherwise law abiding person entered a park and caused harm?

One example from Grand Teton of law abiding citizens being law abiding.

The rational by the NRA and others to allow any firearms into national parks was for self-defense against either criminals or wild animals. An "assault weapon" is certainly not the appropriate firearm for either of those threats, minimal as they may be, in national park service areas.

As the name indicates, an "assault weapon" is desiged to kill the maximum number of adversaries in the shortest possible time. I'd ask supporters of such weapons to offer statistics which validate their need in a national park.

Gun supporters are hard-pressed to find examples of innocent park visitors whose lives are in danger from assaults in national parks. The very few assault incidents that do occur in parks are primarily domestic disputes, drug-related incidents in urban areas, or situations which began outside a park and ended in a park. None of those represent a threat to law-abiding park visitors.

The merits of bear spray vs. guns has already been debated to death on the Traveler, so if you're really paranoid about being the victim of a rare bear attack, and insist of having a gun at hand, the weapon of choice is a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs. If you're fending off a rare bear attack, that situation occurs at very close range. Any kind of rifle, whose rounds can travel long distances, pose unacceptable risks to others in public areas such as parks.

And two more from Dinosaur National Monument:

Lee - obviously not law abiding citizens. Prime example of criminals ignoring the law. Just as the do in violence capitals like Detroit, Washington and NYC where guns are banned. And those criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

For MtnLiving - NPCA is not calling for a ban on so called assault weapons in the parks but for the entire nation.

Thanks Lee for this well reasoned post. Nothing to add.

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