Recent comments

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Irony. The defenders of the anti carry bias from NCPA has resulted in a broader bill that allows carry for all not from people that have had their backgrounds checked . The intial rule change was an attempt to address the fears of the public about making sure that responsible people only would be allowed and that the weapon would be concealed so not to scaree the public. Now that is different.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This is completely nuts. It shows how far to the right the politics of this country has shifted that this kind of radical legislation can sail through the Congress with barely a whimper. However, it is revealing that the proponents of this legislation, led by ultra-reactionary Sen. Coburn, recognize that most American citizens would oppose it if it were exposed to the sunshine. So, they made sure there were no public hearings.

    They knew that public hearings would show:

    - The current regulations, put in place under the Reagan administration, have worked just fine.
    - There is no evidence that there is any need to change the regulations.
    - There are lots of reasons why this legislation is a really bad idea for wildlife, historic artifacts, visitors, and park staff.
    - All responsible groups involved in parks, public lands, and conservation oppose the legislation.
    - A long parade of respected citizens and organizations would line up to testify against this legislation.

    Instead, we had the kind of back room dealing that was the hallmark of the Bush administration and Republican Congress. Except this bill is even more radical than the Bush regulations. It is clearly a gift to extreme gun advocates in the Republican base, enabled by spineless Democrats who are afraid to stand up for our parks against the gun lobby. I am totally disgusted.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This isn't getting as much attention, but I think this rule also applies to national wildlife refuges. That may be more alarming. I just wish the pro-gun people would at least acknowledge for once that some people feel more safe with less guns around. Their argument should therefore be: "I know you feel less safe and you fear for the safety of yourself, wildlife, and other natural resources in national parks, and worry that some people are not responsible enough to carry firearms, be it legal or not, but I nonetheless feel that it's more important that I be able to carry my gun so that I can feel safe." That would at least be a more honest argument. Instead they just talk about their rights and how they're responsible. Likewise anti-gun people should acknowledge that some people can safely use firearms, maybe even the vast majority. But all I ever hear about is rights and fears about criminals lurking in national parks but no statistics or responses about crimes that could have been prevented by allowing gun-toting visitors.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Peter -

    To follow up on Kurt's comment, a key problem with the Coburn Amendment doesn't have anything to do with CCW. The issue is the vastly expanded, immediate access to loaded rifles and shotguns in parks by those intent on breaking the law, along with the drunken idiots who are just out to "have a good time." The supposed restraining influence of a CCW permit doesn't apply in those cases.

    The previous regulations reduced the immediate availability of those loaded guns to criminals in parks, and the idiots who use firearms irresponsibly, because they at least had to keep them out of sight and out of immediate reach to avoid attracting attention. When they didn't, and when rangers spotted those weapons, they could take appropriate action without being forced to wait until shots were fired or another serious problem occurred.

    Under the new approach, that restraining influence over that small percentage of people who will act stupidly with guns has been lost, until they do something that may endanger others. When state law allows (and that's often the case) the criminals - along with the honest folks - are now free to keep those loaded rifles right there in the gun rack of their pickup truck during their visit to a park.

    Yes, I realize that's the norm outside the park in many states, so parks can now become just like the rest of the country. I'm glad that makes some people feel safer while visiting a park. I'm not one of them.

    Parks are not the same as the rest of the country for a lot of reasons. One of those is easy access to wildlife, including some prime specimens that plenty of people would like to see hanging on the wall of their den. The new law makes it much easier for that to occur.

    Here's a common scenario from my years of working in parks that illustrates my concern.

    It's midnight, and a meadow next to a park road is full of elk, including some trophy-quality bulls. Two good ol' boys are driving slowly down the deserted road through the meadow, and they're both holding a loaded, high-powered rifle in their lap. What might they be thinking? Perhaps they're just being prepared to defend themselves in case an evil person suddenly appears out of the dark and threatens them.

    If you believe that one, you're probably good a candidate for some financial advice from a guy named Madof.

    I'll repeat my suggestion made on a different post for an appropriate title for Coburn's amendment, because it goes far beyond allowing the carrying of handguns for self defense by CCW holders. A good title for this bill is the Poachers and Vandals Stimulus Act.

    I hope I'm wrong...but I'm not betting against it. Time will tell.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    "Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would." -- John Adams

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Re: Mr. Burnett
    Under the previous regulations, there were at least some controls to reduce the immediate availability of loaded guns, including rifles and shotguns, in parks. The idiots who use firearms irresponsibly at least had to keep them out of sight. When they didn't, and when rangers spotted those weapons, they could take appropriate action without being forced to wait until shots were fired.

    --

    I have worked law enforcement for the NPS and in a city in a state that allows open carry of a firearm. The notion that a Ranger has to wait until shots are fired to take appropriate action is an inaccurate statement. Your statement opens the door to reader visualizing gangs of armed thugs waving guns around in our parks, and the Ranger waiting until shots are fired until he / she takes action. Any law enforcement officer worth his salt, can at most any time, find a legal violation that prompts law enforcement contact and further investigation.

    In my experience, criminals generally don't like to highlight and draw attention to themselves to law enforcement or the general public. Criminals who bring weapons into parks after this bill is implemented, would have brought them into the parks before this bill was implemented. The difference now - law abiding park visitors have legal means to protect themselves.

    Personally, I am still on the fence with this issue. I find this bill appropriate for some parks, and not for others - which logically does not hold water. Ultimately I side with the law abiding citizen having the opportunity to protect him/herself.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    To answer Rangertoo , Why not? The point is that having a gun openly or concealed is not to be considered an indication of criminality. The person who uses a weapon to hurt, intimidate, steal has then comitted a criminal act. It is the people's criminal actions that are the problem, not they tool they use.

    Now decent folks can be armed and defend themselves. So if a vistor is seeing the Liberty Bell they can be armed either open as PA law allows or conceealed. Philly had a different authrority under the law so those partcular laws may apply. Washington Monument goes under DC law at the moment and carry is not allowed so that will not change until DC law is changed. DC is still fighting the ruling to allow posession of guns in DC the carry portion has not been raised in court yet.

    As to the appropiateness of gun carrying pulic in MLK home, well MLK carried a handgun most of the time. So does not seem inappropiate. I see no reason that those murdered should be sanctified that requires that others should be defencless also.
    VT fought a change in the law that would have allowed students who had CCW to be allowed that priviledge on campus, When it got shot down. VT said now their staff and students could feel safe. A couple months later Cho shot over 50 people and killed over 30. The perception of saftey from a rule barring CCW did not provide that reality There were students on that building that had CCW permits and professors also that were capbale of defending themselves but did not have the means when a killer stalk the halls. Instead the other classerooms tried to barricade doors and jump put window or play dead an allow more bullets to be pumped into their bodies.

    This change has not passed and Obama may not sign it. But more agree with my viewpoint than the antigun folks. That is reflected in the vote total in Senate and House

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    This will raise threats to our employees significantly. When we consider the law and some of our units of the National Park Service some of us work in areas where open carry will be reported as a person with a gun and our staff will respond accordingly. Any time you have people pointing guns at each other, you raise the level for serious injury and or death. Visitors who choose to wear a weapon in the park based on state statute should make sure they are carrying it appropriately and that they are not brandishing it. For now I respectfullly reqeust NPS advocates do as much research as you can in all states and get that information to park service personnel as quick as possible. Information with the concealed carry came out slow and it was very confusing.

  • Winner of the Annual Harry Yount Award for Excellence in Rangering Announced   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Way to go Pete! Truely deserved!

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I wonder when the same logic that is now being used for concealed weapons will be extended to permit pets in the backcountry and on park trails?

    Just think, the political influence of the NRA is nothing compared to a hundred million worried about the vacation rights of the furry members of their family. Some might argue that the underactive wildlife could use the presence of a few domesticated personal trainers.

    I wonder how many potential park visitors don't go to parks because parks are not pet friendly? Maybe if State Parks and State Recreation Areas allow pets off the leash, so should National Parks?

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Devil's Postpile it is. I thought for sure this one would be a puzzler for a long while.

    To see this perspective one needs to hike up onto the top of the "pile," where glaciers not only have sheared off the ends but polished them quite nicely.

    Congrats to DK, though he's probably right that those behind the previous two answers might have been thinking "postpile" when they wrote "tower."

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Well, I admit that was a clue. I think they meant Devil's Postpile.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    You shold be outraged and so should all true Americans on both sides of this issue! We have seen this pattern of abuse of powers for a number of years now (maybe forever). We are NOT being represented and they will pass whatever they want whenever they want. It is particually frightning how many changes have been made in the last few months WITHOUT much input from the American voter.

    God Bless US!

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Nope and nope.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Devils Tower.. its natural.

  • National Park Mystery Photo 3: It's All In the Patterns   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Devils Tower

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Peter, you overlook the fact that there are numerous cases of "law-abiding" CCW holders who have been charged with crimes, that there are many cases of CCW holders whose weapons have been involved in accidental shootings (more than a few involving young children), and that the Coburn amendment goes beyond CCW in saying who can arm themselves in national parks.

    Indeed, anyone who has a firearm, whether it's covered by a CCW permit or a hunting license, will be able to tote a firearm in a national park. And you overlook the fact that different states have different standards that individuals must meet to obtain a CCW.

    And, as has been pointed out earlier, this rule change could actually embolden criminals, as they now will be able to openly carry weapons without fear of a ranger stopping to ask them what they're up to.

    Then, too, there are those who say they must have a firearm to defend themselves from wildlife. That type of comment indicates 1) how little these folks know about wildlife and encounters in the parks and 2) that they just might be a little trigger happy in the extremely small likelihood that they would actually see a wild animal during their visit.

    Sadly, I do not see passage of this amendment as societal progress.

  • Interior Officials Release Rule Change to Allow National Park Visitors to Arm Themselves   5 years 22 weeks ago

    I believe a citizen has a right to protect themselves whereever. As long as they are not prohibited from owning a firearm. The only people that would poach or violate the law are law violators and those people will carry guns illegally and will not adhere to the laws preventing guns in national parks. Your law abiding permit carrying citizen is not going to draw a weapon unless there is an immediate threat to human life. They are not going to risk their permit to carry by breaking any laws. Permit carriers are rarely involved in situations where they violate any laws intentionally. The argument that there would be more poaching or spontaneous shooting of animals is not by any means a valid argument. There does not seem to be any valid argument against carrying guns in national parks. All the arguments I have heard have to do with law abiding citizens breaking the law and risking their status as a permit holder. you have to remember that permit holders are screened and issued a permit because they are not law breakers. The issue of banning weapons in parks would only create a safe place for criminals to be able to commit crimes against law abiding citizens knowing they can go to these places with their illegal weapons and not meet much resistance since the law abiding citizen is likely not going to be able to defend themselves in these places against an armed law breaker. A law banning the carrying of firearms by law abiding citizens should have with it the right to sue the national parks and the government in the event something were to happen to a citizen in those places and they were not able to defend themselves due to the law.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Perhaps someone can explain some things to me. Will guns be allowed in the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell? If not, what law will stop them?

    How about the birthplace of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Seems particularly wrong to have guns in the homes of our leaders who were violently killed by guns.

    How will the NPS deal with guns at Alcatraz and the St. Louis Arch? How about the Washington Monument and Federal Hall?

    Just wondering.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Guns will not make the parks unsafe, people who act stupidly with guns will make anywhere unsafe
    .

    No argument there! Unfortunately, there's no shortage of examples to verify that statement.

    Under the previous regulations, there were at least some controls to reduce the immediate availability of loaded guns, including rifles and shotguns, in parks. The idiots who use firearms irresponsibly at least had to keep them out of sight. When they didn't, and when rangers spotted those weapons, they could take appropriate action without being forced to wait until shots were fired.

    Under the new approach, there are no controls over that small percentage of people who will act stupidly with guns - until after they have done something that endangers others. Bottom line - parks will now be just like the "anywhere" referred to above - the rest of the country in terms of the higher potential for gun-related incidents. In my book, that's not progress.

    My suggested name for the new bill: The Poachers and Vandals Stimulus Act.

    And, yes - I'm a gun owner, but I haven't felt any need to cart them along when I visit a park.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Guns will not make the parks unsafe, people who act stupidly with guns will make anywhere unsafe.

    There have been gun-related arrests in the parks in the past and you never heard a peep about it, now see what the anti-gun media does to the next arrest. I can just see it now, the leftists doing their war dance of “I told you so”.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    "If my family is hiking and encounter a predator thinking we are food, I'd like to have a device to keep ourselves safe. However, gun is just a tool, nothing more and nothing less. If use with care and responsibility, it could save lives." Anonymous.

    With all due respect, the chance of you or a member of your family being eaten by a predator in a national park is too small to calculate. Between a gun and a natural predator - you are in far more danger of accidently shooting yourself or one of your family or even some innocent bystander. Guns will not make the parks safer - just the opposite.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    If my family is hiking and encounter a predator thinking we are food, I'd like to have a device to keep ourselves safe. However, gun is just a tool, nothing more and nothing less. If use with care and responsibility, it could save lives.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 22 weeks ago

    how many times have you used it illegally? many people respect the animals, there is a difference. A lot of people love the animals and wish for their success. when the bears are obviously around slough creek, they cordon it off, because its a small campground area that is more remote. quit misleading people who have never been there, ridiculous.

  • House Seals Deal To Allow Wide Range of Firearms into The National Park System   5 years 22 weeks ago

    Re: RemynRay's comment:

    The problem with the NO firearms in the parks is that those of us that include other activities besides going to a park (a single point destinaton for an entire vacation) either forces one to not be totally honest or skip visiting some of our finest treasures, the National Parks.

    Therein lies one of the misconceptions about the previous regulation. It did not prohibit anyone bringing a legally possessed firearm into a park, so there was no need to "skip visiting" any park. Visitors carrying a weapon that was legal outside the boundary of that park simply had to unload it and secure it in the trunk of the vehicle or similar secure location while they were in the park. The system worked well for years for the vast majority of park visitors, but of course that's now a moot point.

    Re: Rick's comment:

    It'll actually be safer now because the criminals might think you have a gun and won't bother you. That's a fact.
    .

    Ironically, because the Coburn amendment apparently goes far beyond allowing individuals with CCL's to be armed in parks, this action will actually make things easier for all of those criminals presumed to be lurking in the parks, waiting to prey on innocent visitors. Under the previous regulations, at least those folks had to be discrete and keep their weapons out of sight. In Coburn's brave new world, the bad guys as well as honest folk are free to keep their long guns as well as handguns close at hand.

    Yep, I sure feel safer knowing that the bad guys as well as the honest folks are now free to cruise the park roads and campgrounds with their loaded rifles and shotguns at the ready.