Recent comments

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I would suggest talking to Law Enforcement Rangers. Better yet, talk to a National Forest Service Law Enforcement official. National Forests already have concealed carry, and have had no problems with licensees.

    I might also suggest getting input from border LE Rangers -- especially those in Organ Pipe and Big Bend, where cell phones don't work and criminal encounters are not unlikely.

    Unfortunately, NPS designates most or all of its employees as "Rangers," which creates confusion and lends credibility to non-LE personnel who have no qualifications or expertise in dealing with firearms issues. When "Joe Sixpack" hears that X% of "park rangers" oppose concealed carry, he believes that these are law enforcement agents rather than the folks staffing the visitor centers and giving wilderness hikes. Non-LE staff do not deal with weapons, have no law enforcement expertise or authority, and it's unlikely many of them understand the licensing process or the real impact that the pending change will have on day-to-day operations.

    I would expect the average park visitor to have as much insight on concealed weapons issues as the typical non-LE "Ranger." That is to say, none.

    As someone who carries under the authority of a license, I'm considerably more qualified to comment on concealed carry than most of the "employees" polled or the anti-CC blogger(s) on this site.

    If you want to debate concealed carry (anywhere), at least learn something about it. Go through the licensing process, even if you have no desire to carry. The baseless bashing of the concept of concealed carry is pointless and gets us absolutely nowhere.

  • Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I think Rangertoo makes some really good points. As it stands, National Parks are pretty much known as "NO Go" zones for bicycles, and not just mountain bikes. You can be ticketed for riding your beach cruiser on a dirt service road that is open to NPS motorized vehicles. That frankly defies logic. The "trails" in the Marin Headlands that are open to bikes are all full width fire roads, historic routes that were established by the military prior to acquisition by the NPS.

    I find Kurt's piece and it's overall slant a little disengenuous

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Kirby, it's not that people are trying to change the Second Amendment; it's that people are ignoring it.

    What about the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed" is unclear?

    Again, if the wording seems vague, we must go back and understand the debate and mindset of the time. In 1785 Jefferson advised, "Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion of your walks."

    I don't own a gun, but I believe the Bill of Rights important enough to defend all ten amendments, not just one or two. If "middle ground" means violating the Second Amendment, then there can be no middle ground.

  • Interior Officials Planning To Make It Easier for Mountain Bikers to Gain Backcountry Access in Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    I'm an avid hiker, fly fisherman and mountain biker. IMBA has taken an approach that is very considerate of other trail users. I support including mountain biking using the IMBA approach in appropriate locations within the national parks. This includes access on some good single track trails.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Who's trying to change the Constitution or the Second Amendment?

    Are we talking about the amendment that states:

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms, including carrying them anywhere they please with total disregard for others' opinions, shall not be infringed..." ?

    I'm a proud gun-owner, but the knee-jerk rage and frenetic invocations of the sacredness of the vague wording of the Second Amendment these discussions cause is eroding that pride.

    For the record, I'm equally appalled by the radical rantings of the gun-control lobby. Is there no middle ground?

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago


    We have reached the point in America where expertise is referred to as "bias."

    We once were a country that believed in Execellence and Achievement. Now we are able to attack a distinguished public servant in one breath (post) and deny in the very next what is plain for all to read. We now have a comic book interpretation of the Constitution, and ignore the unchallenged administrative traditions of an Agency of the people that has served us well. No one can claim that the park gun regulations have brought America's freedom to its knees. These regs have never been overturned. They work. The experienced professionals have testified these regulations are needed to efficiently manage the parks, the more so that declining budgets and unfunded mandates make a rangers job harder and harder.

    We ignore expertise at our peril, but when we degrade the value of public servants who have given all their professional lives to carrying out the laws created by the people we have elected, it is just stupid.


  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Anon, no offense but your statement that the constitution is not "rigid" is a "load of crap".

    If a constitution as interpreted can truly be changed at the decree of a judge, then "[t]he Constitution… is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please," said Thomas Jefferson. Hence, the purpose of the constitution would be defeated, and there would be no reason to have one.

    More from Jefferson:

    "Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." --Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Nicholas, 1803.

    And most importantly:

    "On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." --Thomas Jefferson
    to William Johnson, 1823

    So the Constitution, at least to Jefferson, was not meant to be "interpreted for the time". Rather, it is to be AMENDED for the time.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    In response to the request by a previous poster, here are some comments from a member of CNPSR who performed full law enforcement duties for 29 of my 30 years in the NPS. I worked in 8 parks including several with very active law enforcement programs: Lake Mead, Grand Canyon, and Colonial NHP, plus one park (Glacier) where the question of bears and weapons often comes up.

    Under the criteria suggested above, I believe that experience and something in the range of 1600 hours of formal law enforcement training might make me at least as well qualified on this subject as folks who hold a concealed weapons permit. As noted on another post on this site, in many states CHL holders are not required to receive any training, or demonstrate any ability to safely use a firearm.

    I'll also make a key point up-front – I am a gun owner and therefore not "anti-gun. We life in a rural area and my wife is Annie Oakley reincarnated with a shotgun. That said, we've never felt the need to carry a weapon when we're visiting national parks.

    The "need" for visitors to carry firearms – concealed or otherwise—in national parks is a political or philosophical one, rather than a response to a demonstrated problem. I suspect most people have already made up their mind on this subject. I will, however, clarify some information posted above.

    I agree that most individuals who hold state-issued concealed weapons permits are law-abiding citizens. However, since the statement has been made that CHL holders are rarely a problem, I took the above suggestion, checked the official statistics on the Texas Dept. of Public Safety website, and found some unsettling data. Apparently the state was also concerned by the following, since they've sanitized the posted data after 1999, and now only show very limited statistics:

    1. The number of convictions of CHL holders provides a very incomplete picture of violations by that group, since in 64% of the cases where an arrest for a violation occurred, the state was never notified of the disposition of the case (hence no "conviction" is shown in the totals.) This means that the number of convictions could well be more than twice what is shown on the site. The state depends on local jurisdictions to report both arrests and convictions of CHL holders, a process that often simply falls through the crack.

    2. In the category of felony offenses, there were five times as many charges than convictions resulting from arrests of CHL holders. Why? In most of the felony arrests, the disposition was not reported. Yes, I realize that individuals are innocent until proven guilty, but from the standpoint of public safety, I'd be very concerned about those remaining cases which were plea-bargained to a lesser charge or dismissed for other reasons. Whether or not a conviction was reported, something obviously happened to trigger all those arrests. A lot of dangerous situations occurred involving people who were legally carrying a concealed weapon. How many are "a lot"?

    One chart on the state website doesn't give the timeframe for the stats, but it appears to be for the first 40 months or so after Texas instituted the current CHL system. During that time, CHL holders were arrested for 672 felony offenses, including 22 murders, 32 aggravated sexual assaults, and 179 assaults causing bodily injury. A total of 135 of those arrests resulted in convictions, and the outcome of 362 other cases was not reported.

    During this same time period, 720 Texas CHL holders were arrested for driving or boating while intoxicated, 293 for Assaults Causing Bodily Injury, and 1,028 other misdemeanors such as disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and making terroristic threats. I find it interesting that the state no longer reports on any of those categories.

    Yes, on a percentage basis compared to the total population, conviction rates for CHL holders are statistically very small. Somehow, that doesn't reassure me very much when I know how many serious violations were being committed by Texans who had a permit to pack a concealed weapon.

    To quote a previous poster on another thread on this same topic, "Supposedly low crime rates are wonderful until you're the one who's victimized."

    One last trend concerns me. If we consider only convictions for such violations in Texas, the total number for the years 2005-2006 doubled when compared to the 2002-2003 period. I wonder how that correlates to the sharp increase in requests for new CHL permits?

    However, not to worry. I've been assured previously that "The State of Texas vouches for" all those folks.

    The original subject of this thread was a recent survey. No, it probably doesn't meet all tests for a statistical sample. However, I'd put considerable stock in the opinions of people who spent years working and living in parks, and who therefore came into contact with countless park visitors in every conceivable situation. I find it interesting that this survey at least provides some information - something the Department made no effort to do as part of the decision process.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    No offense, Beamis, but that's a load of crap. The Constitution isn't some rigid document that stands still - we're allowed to use common sense laws, as the Supreme Court has said numerous times.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Well since the law of the land is still the 2nd Amendment (however tenuous its further existence may be) I'd say that those who are in line with and support the rights inherent in the current edition of the Constitution have the upper hand in this debate.

    If members of CNPSR want to change the Constitution they can choose to focus their budget and clout on getting out the vote in a majority of state legislatures and try their luck in striking down the 2nd Amendment. Otherwise the NPS had better ease up and start following the letter and intent of the Constitution. It's not a pick and choose amendment, we all have the right to bear arms even in a national park.

    I have traveled in state parks, national forests and other public lands where the 2nd Amendment is respected and never saw or heard about any major problems with armed members of the visiting public. It's time for the NPS to drop this silly rule before they are sued in Federal court for infringing on our Constitutionally guaranteed right to protect ourselves.

    I'm not going to rely on them to do it, that's for sure.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    Since Rick is a member of the coalition, and since you said, "What a CNPSR member has to say about this is utterly and completely irrelevant," I think it's pretty clear you implied that Rick's views were irrelevant.

    Beyond that, your argument can be turned around an applied to CCW permit holders, no? I mean, to borrow your words, they come from a bastion of conservative and pro 2nd amendment viewpoints, so if CNPSR viewpoints are irrelevant for the reasons you state, then so be it for CCW permit holders.

    Further, I don't think the coalition's survey was intended to reflect a "sample of American views or mainstream thinking about guns and the rights of the citizenry to own and lawfully use them" but rather to reflect the viewpoints and observations of NPS and USFWS rangers who are on the ground in the parks and wildlife refuges on a daily basis interacting with visitors. Frankly, I'd wager that they have a better grasp of the potential problems that could arise than does the general public.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Without getting too long winded I'd begin with the overwhelming liberal bias of most current and former employees of the NPS and their generally statist pro big government point of view. It is certainly no bastion of conservative, libertarian or pro 2nd amendment viewpoints, so I agree with Texas-Fight that what these people espouse or respond to in a survey is less than a valid cross-section of real public opinion and therefore "irrelevant" in helping to decide the issue.

    For the record I never said Rick or his views were irrelevant.

    Random incidents of gun violence by armed citizens have been trotted out to prove that guns in the hands of common folk is a bad thing but I could just as easily point to innumerable instances of unjustified murder and mayhem perpetrated by trigger happy agents of the state that usually goes unpunished and is eventually swept under the rug by those wielding power.

    No I don't think that rank & file NPS employees or the CNSPR represent a valid sample of American values or mainstream thinking about guns and the rights of the citizenry to own and lawfully use them. Irrelevant is an excellent word to describe their views on this particular issue.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Beamis,

    I'd say what coalition members have to say is highly relevant, more so than folks who visit parks once or twice or even a dozen times a year. And for someone like Rick, who spent more than three decades on the ground in the parks, I'd say his two cents is incredibly relevant.

    How you can say that sort of experience is irrelevant is mind-boggling. Perhaps you can explain your point of view.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Hey Rick, how about: "What a CNPSR member has to say about this is utterly and completely irrelevant".

    That sounds about right to me.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Wow--"What a civilian employee of the NPS has to say abouty this is utterly and completely irrelevant." Whose opinions other than those of NPS employees should we consider then? Texas-Fight's? People who have seen a gun in real life? Pro-gun miscreants?

    Rick Smith

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Wonderful, the usual group of knee-jerk uninformed anti-gun miscreants have reared their heads to complain about the forthcoming rule change.

    Again, let's examine Texas CHL conviction rates vs. the general population to see just how bloodthirsty and trigger-happy license holders are:

    In 2006, there were 258,162 active CHLs, but only 140 total convictions.

    Overall - The general population over age 21 is over 7 times as likely to commit any offense listed by DPS as are CHLs

    Assault - The general population over age 21 is over 8 times as likely to commit an assault as are CHLs

    Burglary - The general population over age 21 is over 38 times as likely to commit a burglary as are CHLs

    Prohibited Weapons - The general population over age 21 is over 21 times as likely to be convicted of possessing prohibited weapons as are CHLs

    Robbery - The general population over age 21 is over 63 times as likely to commit a robbery as are CHLs

    Source: Texas Department of Public Safety

    Enough with the idiotic suggestion that those of us who went through the headache of getting licensed are going to start shooting at birds and marmots because we get bored. Not going to happen.

    Enough with the surveys of former brush clearers, entrance fee collectors, and garbage collectors telling us how hard their jobs are going to become once this rule is changed. I would be open to hearing what LAW ENFORCEMENT RANGERS have to say about this, but ultimately, they don't get to make the go/no-go call on this either. What a civilian employee of the NPS has to say about this is utterly and completely irrelevant.

    Kurt: have you even seen a gun in real life? Didn't think so.

    Most of the people complaining about this change seem blissfully unaware that carry is already allowed in National Forests. I don't recall hearing of any incidents there.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Parks are for restive peace and serenity...not for gun touting fools!

    All the arguments against concealed weapons permit holders to be able to bear arms in national parks are misdirected. Allowing permit holders to carry will not diminish a park's "serenity"; concealed weapons permits holders are law-abiding citizens and not going to discharge a weapon in a national park just for the fun of it.

    Oh, and if you're really worried about "peace and serenity" in national parks, why not take on one of the biggest threats to it? Just change the phrase above to read:

    Parks are for restive peace and serenity...not for car-driving fools!

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Add Alaskan Gov. Palin to the equation here, regarding the National Parks, you'll see aerial game slaughter within the park boundaries. Again, guns within the National Parks is a dangerous precedent in policy making. Parks are for restive peace and serenity...not for gun touting fools!

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    NEWS ITEM - October 10, 2008. No-return policy gets clerk killed

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Police say a customer in a Knoxville mall fatally shot a clothing-store employee because he was upset about a clothing purchase.
    Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk says William Johnson, 42, went to Knoxville Center Mall Wednesday afternoon determined to get satisfaction from Reno Men's Wear.

    Some mall merchants say the clothing store has a no-refund policy. Police wouldn't say exactly what Johnson wanted or what the disputed merchandise was.

    But police say a preliminary investigation suggests Johnson became upset, pulled out a handgun and shot 29-year-old employee Ahmed Nahl.

    The suspect was injured in a brief gunbattle with police before his capture. He is charged with murder and is recovering in a hospital. *

    -Associated Press

    Moral - I agree that must people are responsible gun owners, but easy access to a gun makes it just too easy to overreact. Such will be the case with a harmless animal that gets too close for comfort to some visitor or the rustle in the bushes that just happens to be a child who wandered off the trail. There will be blood.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 26 weeks ago

    When visiting the fort this spring, visitors were walking by and standing near a"cement" aligator that lay motionless by the moat. That is until it moved its head causing people to jump back in a very entertaining manner.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 26 weeks ago

    [b]Lets not forget the famous Pulaski Skyway here in Jersey! Not quite a national treasure though.

  • Visit Savannah’s Fort Pulaski National Monument and See Why Brick Masonry Forts Became Obsolete in April 1862   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Bob,

    Thanks for another informative article! You have spurred my interest in this site enough to add a visit to it to my vacation itinerary for next year.

    After seeing the truly decimated Fort Sumter site several times, it would be nice to see a more intact example of forts of that era. Thanks again for putting it out there for us to see.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    Current policy allows you to transport guns through parks, but they have to be broken down and stored out of reach. There are, of course, exceptions in that some "national preserves" and seashores and lakeshores do allow hunting.

  • Survey Predicts Change in National Park Gun Regulations Will Lead to Wildlife Shootings, Management Problems   5 years 26 weeks ago

    What exactly IS the current policy on carrying firearms in our national parks? I have been an avid backpacker for several years now and am still not quite sure. I do own firearms and am a huge proponent of concealed carry - I agree with the statement "the more guns the better" - the bad guys have and always will have them, why not give the good guys a chance to protect themselves.

  • New BLM Management Plans Could Have Major Impacts on Utah National Parks   5 years 26 weeks ago

    One of the problems with encouraging local protection is whether the local community's desires mesh with the values of the neighboring national parks.

    The gateway to Arches and Canyonlands is Moab, which rakes in quite a bit of economic development from the off-road vehicle community and doesn't want to see that evaporate. The surrounding counties, meanwhile, look to energy development on public lands butting up to the parks for much of their tax revenues, along with spending from the ORV enthusiasts.

    The trick is finding a happy middle ground for all involved. It's one that hasn't really been accomplished so far.