Recent comments

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Rick/Art,

    OK, you guys win. I might have a fighting chance if I dwelled on guns, gun laws, and crime stats as much as I do on parks, but I don't. Here are my parting thoughts:

    * You complain about "the vacuousness of the anti-gun arguments in this situation and the bigotry and prejudice many anti gun people have – especially the Brady and VPC organizations that pander to these prejudices." Why did these organizations form in the first place? Did they first conceive the idea that they hate guns and so needed to concoct an argument, as your views suggest, or was it because of gun violence in general, whether committed by criminals or guns owned by permit holders? In the case of the Brady group, didn't it arise out of the assassination attempt on President Reagan and the bullet press secretary James Brady took? And wasn't the gun used in that crime legally purchased in Texas?

    * "Interestingly, the media overwhelmingly ignore any occasion where a concealed carry permit holder has actually prevented a crime or saved a life." As a member of the media for my entire professional life, going on 30 years now, this is one of the most bizarre, ridiculous, and over-generalizing statements I've ever heard. Media -- particularly broadcast media -- love hero stories, Rick.

    * "I want proof of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen." Rick: Those Texas statistics that Art points to and which you can find here show 140 cases of permit holders committing gun crimes against another citizen. True, it's but a small fraction of the overall crimes committed, but you just wanted proof of one instance, and these stats provide 140. And that's just one of 50 states.

    * "...in the hands of responsible citizens..." I think you've hit it on the head with this comment, Rick.

    "Responsible citizens." I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think the concern is about guns in the hands of responsible citizens. Rather, it's about guns in the hands of those who aren't so responsible, who leave their weapons out in the open where youngsters can get them, who mix alcohol with guns, whose anger leads them to settle arguments violently, who figure they're far in the backcountry and so can take some pot shots at something. Too, there are a number of stories out there about groups concerned over their states' permitting procedures because they lack mental health reviews before issuing permits. If you look back over the nearly three years I've been generating the Traveler and examine the color and tenor of some of the comments I've been subjected to, you'd question whether those folks were responsible. My wife half-jokingly has suggested I enter the witness protection program.

    And then, Rick, sometimes accidents even happen to "responsible citizens." Proof of that? Read this story, which tells about a Utah POLICE CHIEF WHO SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG WHILE TEACHING A CONCEALED WEAPONS TRAINING CLASS.

    Rick, Art, Fred (who already knows, I think) and other concealed carry proponents, I'm not anti-gun. I've fired weapons before and have a good friend who just retired from the New Jersey State Police. He and I traveled often with him carrying, and it never bothered me. In fact, we've gone into the backcountry of Yellowstone and he's never felt the need to carry.

    The bottom line for me is that, in light of the relative lack of crime in national parks, and the odds of accidents happening and those accidents becoming more dangerous when firearms are involved, I just don't see the need for park visitors to arm themselves.

  • Couple That Was Lost In Grand Canyon National Park Had Good Survival Plan   6 years 7 weeks ago

    I am so impressrd with the resiliance of this couple ...in the 1950s Dad took us camping at the Canyon and on several Indian reservations where he had friends and he taught us pretty much the same things...always let someone know your plans and check in with them as soon as you return and let them find you,wandering around creates panic and decreases survival. his couple should be a lesson to us all,

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Anonymous writes:

    > Because of the threat of poaching, the presence of an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable threat ON ITS FACE.

    How about: "because of the threat of murder, rape and assault an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable defense ON ITS FACE"?

    > This is a real reason there have been no successful challenges to the existing regulation

    I think the challenge to the regulation, as well as the Supreme Court challenge to the Washington, D.C. (aka gun-free nirvana) gun ban will succeed

    > Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with guns, and appeal to reason, implying no one with a handgun would threaten wildlife.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with cars, and appeal to reason implying no one with an automobile would harm innocent bystanders

    > I saw a guy kill a king salmon with a pistol.

    I saw a guy kill my friend with a tractor trailer truck

    > People expect that that nature of the park experience is that no visitor is packing.

    Geez, You're head is in the clouds. I expect the nature of park experience is that no visitor is killing women on the same trail my wife and I hike.

    Put things into perspective and prove you've been harmed by the presence of a citizen carrying a firearm for self defense instead of espousing suppositional paranoia and prejudice.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Dear Fred:

    Because of the threat of poaching, the presence of an assembled and loaded weapon is a reasonable threat ON ITS FACE. This is a real reason there have been no successful challenges to the existing regulation on Second Amendment grounds. All judges and reasonable people would agree this is exactly the kind of reasonable regulation the Constitution is talking about.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with idiots with guns, and appeal to reason, implying no one with a handgun would threaten wildlife. Would that that were so ! I saw a guy kill a king salmon with a pistol. I saw a guy shoot at a brown bear -- if you can believe how dumb this guy was -- with a revolver. There is a farmer who farms near here who has a cow that was shot by another moron with a 32.

    People expect that that nature of the park experience is that no visitor is packing. If one is, bust them as a legitimate threat to the special rules applying to parks. Your right of revolution will not be compromised by either choosing to enter a park with no working firearm, or by choosing not to go.

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 7 weeks ago

    First of all, I am not a mountian biker. I wasn't born with the coordination needed to ride a regular bike on flat concrete, let alone a mountain bike on a rugged trail. However, I have done a lot of hiking over the years with mountain bikers in the National Forests of Colorado and I am happy to report that we've never had any sort of problem with mountain bikers. They have been very respectful, we've never felt as though we were going to be run over, and contrary to popular belief, they do actually stop to take pictures of awesome views and wildlife. They stick to the trail, don't make their own "short cuts" which is the primary cause of that erosion, and really have seemed to enjoy their time in nature. Because of my personal experience with the bikers, I am all for adding in a few bike trails through the National Parks. There are a surprisingly large amount of people who would prefer to see the parks by bike and I am all for people getting to experience our Park System. I would also be willing to wager that the bike clubs would help sponser the building of trails if the National Park system would allow such trails to be constructed, which would greatly help the burden of the cost to the N.P.S. I think it's an idea that at least should be explored.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    > Ya know, we could bat this back and forth for years and we wouldn't see eye to eye.

    Art did a good job of presenting the factual Texas data. Thanks, Art.

    I ‘ll admit you’re probably right, Kurt, and I give you credit for enduring this discussion. But my intent wasn’t to persuade someone to buy a gun or convert them, it was to point out the vacuousness of the anti-gun arguments in this situation and the bigotry and prejudice many anti gun people have – especially the Brady and VPC organizations that pander to these prejudices.

    > I must admit your lack of tolerance for regulations is kinda disconcerting. How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying?

    It’s easy. It’s when some bureaucrat writes regulations that violate my Constitutional rights. That’s why I set out to change the national park and the state park regulation. I think I’ve had a modicum of success in proving my point to date.

    > you asked for someone to provide evidence of a concealed weapons permit holder who's broken the law, and now you've retreated to asking for
    > proof of a crime "other than a bureaucratic infraction."

    I haven’t retreated. I’ve still not gotten an answer. I want proof of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen. And, yes, it’s a bureaucratic infraction that denies my constitutional right. Sit in the back of the bus until you understand this ;^)

    > Now, you say you'll pay the fine if caught, but will you also turn over your handgun?

    Well, I guess since I will have, at that point, had to defend my life that’s the least of my worries. You’ve heard the saying, “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” There’s no room for compromise when it comes to self-defense. I can buy another handgun but I can’t buy another me, or another wife or child. I told you before, I was close enough to a nasty situation in Cumberland Gap that I saw the light and realized gun control laws are downright stupid. I'm lucky enough to be here telling you about it.

    > I also think you're jumping to conclusions by lumping everyone who opposes concealed carry in the parks as anti-gun.

    That’s a red herring. Why should I defend my right to self defense under the Constitution then turn around and say it’s conditional within artificial geographic bureaucratic boundaries. If you are someone who sees the logic behind taking responsibility for you own welfare and safety you don’t say self defense is valid in point A and then somehow be opposed to it in point B. All of you seat belt advocates can say it’s mandatory on highway 81 but not on highway 95. Where’s the difference?

    It’s relatively apparent that most of those posting are anti-gun because they all use the same old Brady/VPC mythology rhetoric . If they own guns maybe they’re the Obama “sportsmen and hunters” who have nothing to worry about. ;^) If they oppose concealed carry in parks they, well, probably don’t carry a gun for self defense. You can’t be ambivalent in this situation.

    > I just don't think there's justification to go armed every time you leave the house.

    Maybe you live in a really safe neighborhood. Maybe you’re lucky. Do you cancel your homeowners insurance, health insurance or car insurance under capricious circumstances? It’s my Constitutionally guaranteed right, hence my justification. Whether you employ the means to defend yourself is your decision. If guns are so superfluous why do cops need guns?

    > In 1998, more than 30,000 men, women, and children were killed with firearms in the United States.

    Jeez, talk about old stats. I don’t understand why you would post this data after I’ve posted the most recent government data. And your still guilty of the doing same thing all the anti gun gangs do: “[people] were killed with firearms.” Inanimate objects don’t cause actions. “40,000 people were killed by cars…” X people were killed by alcohol.” People do the killing, driving and drinking. Yours is just a rehash of the gun banner spin machine. I provide links to more recent data compiled by the government not anti gun groups with an agenda and with detailed explanations of the death circumstances. As I said, more than half, and closer to 75%, of the homicides are crime-related and involve criminal acts. I guess the criminals weren’t up on that law that murder is illegal.

    As hungry as the media are to report such spectacular news, I still haven’t seen any reports of a concealed carry permit holder committing one of these murders. Interestingly, the media overwhelmingly ignore any occasion where a concealed carry permit holder has actually prevented a crime or saved a life.

    > Gunfire kills more teenagers than all natural causes combined

    No, teens committing crimes generally kill other adult teens. The anti gun gangs spin the data to make it seem like (a) it’s the guns doing the action and (b) all of the teenagers were innocents just minding their own business. In most cases this is gang and drug activity.

    > in 1999, nearly half of all murder victims were killed by someone they knew such as a friend or family member rather than a stranger.

    That’s generally the case because drug deals gone bad involve acquaintances - albeit criminal acquaintances. Criminal against criminal crimes are quite prevalent. Yes some innocent people are killed by others but not by concealed carry permit holders. What does the more recent data indicate? here's another link to FBI data. http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezashr/

    To reiterate, you don't need to shoot someone to stop a crime. Just showing the criminal you have one is sufficient deterrent. More than a million times each year.

    You did read the DOJ study that recognized that gun control laws are essentially useless and futile because (drum roll!) criminals don’t obey the law, right? That’s why these folks continue to rob, rape, kill and sell drugs. They don’t care about laws. Citizens who go through the hassle of getting a permit are somewhat less inclined to do so for the purpose of criminal intent.

    > Of course, this is really an exercise in futility because -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- if the regulations remain unchanged gun owners like
    > you will still flaunt the "questionably legal" regulations.

    If bureaucrats write regulations without my consent or involving a democratic process and that violate the Constitution why should I or anyone else? If a comfy overpaid bureaucrat denies me the means to defend my life and refuses to provide me with a bodyguard why on earth should I abide by this regulation? And whether I or any other gun permit holder choose to prioritize the Constitution over a bureaucratic regulation I guarantee you’ll never be aware of it. Unless you break the law and try to attack me.

    Getting back to the original issue, though, I’d still like to hear about macho, NRA-brainwashed, testosterone-infused (I know, that’s redundant) permit holders packing heat who might poach, just shoot wildlife maliciously, damage property or threaten park visitors. That is what we’ve been talking about, right?

    The perception of those who don’t like guns is seems to be that when the regulation is changed all of these heat-packers will somehow swarm the parks whooping and hollering and forever destroy the pristine visitor experience of those genteel, sophisticated, experienced park veterans who choose to not carry a gun.

    I’ve not read anything here from anyone who has indicated how they have been affected adversely by someone lawfully carrying a concealed handgun outside the parks (no one has complained yet about the criminals outside or inside the parks).

    And I’ve still not seen anyone legitimately explain how this regulation change will result any differently from what has taken place in the 40 states that have enacted right-to-carry legislation.

    Or how it will differ from the experience in national forests where, by golly, there are also big predatory critters, scenery, visitors and regulations on what and when you can hunt and what you can or can’t do to property?

    If a criminal sees two people and knows one has a gun and the other doesn’t, guess who he’s going after. This is enhanced for the criminal by stupid, gun-free victim zones. You don’t hear of crimes in national forests to the extent that take place in national parks. And more citizens are packin’ heat in the forests. Why aren’t national forest visitors chiming in here to add their horrible experiences with concealed carry permit holders?

    Yes, it does come down to a love guns/hate guns issue of emotions. Unfortunately too many people continue to leave the facts at the door and run with trendy politically correct groupthink fueled by emotionally misleading propaganda from the anti gun grops.

    The main facts constantly being ignored are that in the hands of responsible citizens guns save lives, and permit holders are among the most responsible citizens. When the regulation is changed the only thing you’ll notice is less crime. Because the criminals will have to work harder to determine if their victim will shoot them. Ask criminals in jail what they fear most. Answer: armed citizens.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Bill says,

    > I say, give me one example of a citizen with a concealed carry permit who has averted a violent crime in our sacred national park system...

    Based on media biases, since I never see anything about citizens defending themselves more than a million times each year outside of the parks I don't expect to see it when it actually does happen within the parks. All I see is the continuous commission of crimes within the park system. Why aren't you out there preventing some of these crimes, Bill? Oh, that's right, the courts absolved you of any responsibility by declaring "law enforcement" have no obligation to protect. You only have to investigate the victims when the crimes have occurred. That's reassuring to the victims.

    You still haven't answered my question which is at the hear of this issue: whether concealed carry permit holders have or will cause problems. Even the lowest estimate of defensive gun use is somewhere around 500,000 per year. That's a lot of people who weren't victimized by a criminal - because you weren't there to protect them - by utilizing a firearm.

  • Battle Mounts Over Off-Road Vehicles at Cape Hatteras National Seashore   6 years 7 weeks ago

    I don't think people realize that you CAN NOT access most beaches without a ORV. The picture above showing bumper to bumper vehicles also was done on a holiday and not pictured is the roped off area south of Cape Point for birds. That's why all the cars are so congested! Just feels like lies. I've been going to OBX for years and I see more people caring for the enviroment than destroying the dunes and beaches. Was there last week and merchants are reporting 40-50% decrease in business. Was also told property values are down 30%. Where is a happy medium?

  • Electric Map Going Away at Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 7 weeks ago

    My Grandfather took me to see this map when I was a little boy. I learned more about Civil War history with that one visit than I did in all my years of public school. It's "disappearance" would truly be a tragic loss.

  • Electric Map Going Away at Gettysburg National Military Park   6 years 7 weeks ago

    I visited G'burg today and went in the new Visitors Center. There is *no equivalent* to the Electric Map there. It does a terrible job at providing a tactical perspective of the battle, something for which the Electric Map was perfect. The new Center is something like 20 times as big as the old one, yet they couldn't find room for the Electric Map? Unbelievable.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    It's true to point out that we could argue about this for years. It would be a much better use of this valuable space to dissuade people's irrational fears of fellow Park visitors who might be armed. There have been more than 9,400 comments posted about the proposed firearm regulation change. It's probably safe to say that the rule change will take place. I think it would be incredibly sad if some folks stopped visiting our beautiful Parks because they think that they are in some newly-created "fear factory".

    Most people fear something because they don't know anything about it. Can't we use this space to inform people about the complete irrationality of their fears? They have nothing to fear from me or any of my fellow CCW-holding brethren. They will actually be safer now then they were before, in spite of many, many "facts" to the contrary.

  • Groups Sue Cape Hatteras National Seashore Over ORV Traffic   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Anonymous (from 10/21),
    You have clearly never stepped foot on Hatteras or Ocracoke Island. If you had, you would understand how utterly asinine and inaccurate your characterization of ORV activity there is.

    Now to your "get your fat butts out of your toy ORVs" comment (you are quite the gifted and creative writer by the way). What would you have me tell my disabled daughter who can only dream of traversing the thick sand of Outer Banks beaches on foot?

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Rick - you say, "I'll say this until you are blue in the face: give me one example of a citizen with a concealed carry permit who has committed a violent crime in your sacred national park system - or any place in our country."

    I say, give me one example of a citizen with a concealed carry permit who has averted a violent crime in our sacred national park system...

    Bill Wade
    Chair, Executive Council
    Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    The statistics used by the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association are drawn directly from the Texas Department of Public Safety Concealed Handgun Licensing Section and put into the proper context as measured against the age appropriate population of Texas. The instructors are DPS qualified and work closely with the Texas DPS.

    The Texas DPS maintains it's own website which anyone can visit:(http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/convrates.htm)

    Rather than simply taking dictation from gun control organizations, you might want to visit the websites of the actual state agencies and review the statistics concerning CHL holders. Unless of course you believe that the state and federal governments are part of some "grand conspiracy" to hide the wanton criminality of CHL holders.

    The FBI also gathers statistics comparing crime rates between states with liberal CCW laws and those with more restrictive gun laws. Not surprisingly your side does not fair well. "The FBI, drawing from data it has collected and published in the Uniform Crime Reports, concludes that "violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws severely limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense." Particularly, the FBI notes that the total violent crime rate is 26 percent higher in the states with restrictive CCW laws than in the less restrictive states. Likewise, homicide rates are 49 percent higher, and robbery 58 percent higher, in more conservative states. The only reasonable conclusion is that liberal CCW laws help to reduce the overall crime rate, and particularly to reduce the frequency of violent crime."

    "The FBI estimates that each year, Americans use firearms for self-defense more than 2.1 million times; by contrast, there are about 579,000 violent crimes committed annually with guns, of which 70 percent are committed by 7 percent of criminals, including repeat offenders, who pay no attention to gun laws anyway. Furthermore, 99.9 percent of self-defense firearm uses do not result in fatalities. Of incarcerated felons surveyed by the Justice Department, 34 percent were driven away, wounded, or captured by armed citizens, and 40 percent decided against committing a crime for fear that a potential victim was armed."

    It is a common tactic of those whose arguments are not supported by the evidence to use false or misleading statistical claims. When called out, these people claim that everyone manipulates data and as a result no one's evidence can be trusted. This technique has the effect of putting the legitimate evidence under a cloud suspicion and diminishing the impact that evidence has in the debate.

    As I said before, it is perverse to concentrate so much passion against people who are, by all accounts, law abiding citizens willing to submit to criminal background checks and safety training just to exercise a right guaranteed them under our Constitution.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Blair just doesn't get it:

    > the point is, why would one need to carry a handgun in a National Park?

    Why do you have fire insurance? Are you planing for you house to burn down? Why do you have car insurance? Are you planning to be in a car crash? Why do you have health care? Are you planing to be sick? Life is kinda fickle and we choose to be prepared. At least some of us do.

    We are talking about concealed handguns in the possessions of citizens lawfully exercising their rights. There's a saying, "don't take a knife to a gun fight" If I knew I would need a firearm to defend my life I guarantee you I would be carrying at least my AR-15 instead of a SIG handgun. My handgun is my little life insurance policy. It doesn't come out of the holster until the appropriate time as defined by law.

    As for that guy in Houston OK, maybe you got me there. You provided one example of a citizen doing something wrong. I didn't object to removing the scum but the law provides for consequences under those conditions. The research also proves as many as a million times a year citizens lawfully use firearms to defend themselves. I think I'm still ahead of you.

    You also make my point, concealed carry permit holders don't poach and vandalize while carrying and don't murder. I'm glad you feel safe, however. If you feel so lucky, though - well do you? Then why don't you forego your homeowners insurance, car insurance and health care? Murderers, rapists and thieves commit their acts of social indiscretion with a variety of weapons. Most of which are classified as lethal and the victim is entitled under law to respond to that assault with deadly force. Having a concealed handgun is the same as pulling out your insurance card.

    If you are ultimately the victim du jour then you and your clean conscience can go to meet your maker knowing you held to your convictions. I've chosen to even the playing field a bit and am not willing to go quietly. I've come too close to being there.

    Also, I don't know if the aforementioned shooter in Texas had a concealed carry permit. He was just the neighbor who happened to be armed and sick and tired of people being victimized by thugs. Oh yeah. And where were the cops in all this? Uuuhhh, I guess they were enforcing laws elsewhere in the town and not situated at that location protecting someone's life or valuables.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Rick,

    Ya know, we could bat this back and forth for years and we wouldn't see eye to eye. That's OK, and it's something I plan to address in another post down the road. That said, I must admit your lack of tolerance for regulations is kinda disconcerting. How do you decide which laws or regulations are worth obeying? If wearing a concealed weapon where they're outlawed doesn't bother you, where do you draw the line?

    I also think it's telling that early on you asked for someone to provide evidence of a concealed weapons permit holder who's broken the law, and now you've retreated to asking for proof of a crime "other than a bureaucratic infraction." Along those lines, did you read that Boundary Waters story I cited? Granted, the story didn't indicate whether those involved had concealed weapons permits, but I think it's very telling of what can happen.

    Now, you say you'll pay the fine if caught, but will you also turn over your handgun?

    As I've said previously, your disdain for the Brady Campaign is interesting, as they use a lot of the same statistical sources you've cited in drawing their conclusions.

    I also think you're jumping to conclusions by lumping everyone who opposes concealed carry in the parks as anti-gun. I could care less if you own a firearm. I just don't think there's justification to go armed every time you leave the house.

    Now, regarding statistics. Here're a bunch, with the sources cited. True, one can't tell how many of these cases involved CCW holders, but I'd wager more than a few.

    * In the United States, children under the age of 15 are 12 times more likely to die from gunfire than the children in 25 other industrialized countries combined!
    Fingerhut, Cox, and Warner, "International Comparative Analysis of Injury Mortality." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. October 7, 1998.

    * In 1998, more than 30,000 men, women, and children were killed with firearms in the United States.
    · 17,424 were suicides
    · 12,102 were homicides
    · 866 died from unintentional shootings
    · 316 died in undetermined circumstances
    Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

    * Gunfire kills more teenagers than all natural causes combined.
    American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Violence, "The Role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence Prevention in Clinical Practice and at the Community Level," Pediatrics, Vol. 103, No. 1, January 1999.

    * In 1999, nearly half of all murder victims were killed by someone they knew such as a friend or family member rather than a stranger.
    Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 2000: Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), 2000.

    * Women are about twice as likely to be shot by their intimate partner than they are to be killed by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means.
    Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; James A. Mercy, PhD;
    "Men, Women, and Murder; Gender-specific Differences in Rates of Fatal Violence and Victimization," The Journal of Trauma, Vol. 33, No. 1, July, 1992.

    * In the United States, approximately two-thirds of all murders are committed with guns.
    Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

    * Gunfire killed 3,792 young people ages 19 and under in 1998.
    Sherry L. Murphy. "Deaths: Final Data for 1998" Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 48, No. 11, July 24, 2000.

    * The annual cost of gun violence in America in terms of direct medical costs, lost productivity, and lost quality of life is $100 billion. Furthermore, through public health care and public debt, the taxpaying public pays an estimated 85%-96% of medical charges for firearm injuries.
    Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig, Gun Violence: The Real Costs, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000. G.J. Ordog, J. Wasserberger, G. Ackroyd. "Hospital Costs of Firearm Injuries." Journal of Trauma, February, 1995.

    Of course, this is really an exercise in futility because -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- if the regulations remain unchanged gun owners like you will still flaunt the "questionably legal" regulations.


  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Houston, Texas last year. Man trying to stop a robbery in the house next door shot and killed both thieves in the back with no warning to the second one, despite the fact he was told to take no action by the 911 operator he was on the phone with. Need any more examples?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    The point you are missing is "concealed handguns," not just any kind of weapon. Hunters (and poachers) don't hunt with handguns, and murderers generally don't kill with rifles (although there have been some notable exceptions). Believe me, a handgun will have little affect on either a charging bear or, if in Yellowstone, a bison. Thus, the point is, why would one need to carry a handgun in a National Park? I've always felt much safer in a park than walking down the streets of any large city, and I'm sure if you looked up the numbers, the percentage of violent crimes committed in national parks is significantly lower than what is committed in the general population as a whole. The enforcement of anti-poaching laws simply is not a valid argument in this case.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    Kur says,

    > You keep glossing over the fact that CCW permit holders who comment on this forum have already said they've packed in the parks, against the law
    > That's criminal.

    Naahhh, Kurt, I'm not glossing over anything. What I do is simply exercise common sense self-defense. As Fred notes, this is not a law it's a {questionably legal] regulation. I'll pay the fine when I call the park rangers to come after I've defended myself against a criminal attack. Let them eat the public relations fodder. Until then no one will have an reason to know if I'm carrying a firearm. When the park service provides me with personal protection I'll leave my gun in the car. Until then any claim on their part that I'm safe is just a bunch of indefensible baloney. To recap: they are law enforcement. That means they come when your already a victim. Court cases have proven these folks have no obligation to provide for your defense. I'll hire Karen Taylor-Goodrich to be my mouthpiece.

    Kurt, you persist in quoting loony groups like the Violence Policy Center who are masters at lying with figures, as Art mentioned above. These gun haters are the same ones always yapping about "children" being killed by handguns. Have you ever looked into the firearm accidental death rate statistics for honest-to-God children under the age of 15? Or revisited those data I provided? I'll let you do the work this time. As for those 19 year old "children" you mention, the 19-25 age group is responsible for most of the crimes committed in this country. Hint: it's an urban demographic. They don't have concealed carry permits. I gave Lyle Laverty as much official concealed carry permit revocation statistics as I could find as well as data from John Lott. We're not among those statistics.

    Jerry Patterson is exactly correct in what he says and has done. I'm also responsible for getting the ball rolling on eliminating a similar bureaucratic preemption of my rights here in PA. I proved the department that regulates state parks has violated the law by preventing concealed carry permit holders from possessing their firearms while beyond their campsites. Our State House approved the bill and now it goes to the Senate where it will most likely pass.

    I think the anti gun folks here are the ones glossing over the true issue. Prove that concealed carry permit holders have committed a crime other than a bureaucratic infraction. Prove they'll be a threat to you ore somehow ruin you park "experience."

    I promised I wouldn't use NRA statistics but you still need to drag the Brady Bunch and the VPC crazies into the discussion. Stick to the facts from the government and law enforcement. Prove that permit holders are a threat. Give me numbers. And not from gun hater groups. We have 40 states that have proven my case. I don't know what hat you're pulling your mythical claims from.

    Ya' know what's delightfully ironic about all of this gun control stuff? It's racist. Do a bit more reading: "The Racist Roots of Gun Control" by Clayton Cramer. Soon this type of discussion will all be moot because the Supreme Court will finally affirm the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and that will send the gun haters scrambling like vampires from daylight. And, yes, essentially, that does include automatic firearms like a SAW and M-16 since these are arms an infantryman or citizen militiaman would typically carry into battle. Even Laurence Tribe and Allan Dershowitz finally had the intellectual honesty to admit the Second was an individual right. Only the desperate and disingenuous continue to cling to the mythical "states right" concept.

    Don't worry, though, the only folks you'll see in your sacred national parks with AR-15s will continue to be the drug smugglers and pot growers. Interestingly, Lyle Laverty asked me to speculate if I thought someone in a park carrying a shotgun concealed under a long coat would be permissible under our proposal. I told him it's illegal.

    Lone Hiker is definitely living in la-la land by continuing to believe that being a nice person will magically dissuade a criminal from their intended goal. And still going on with the "macho" and "testerone" insults." How childish. "All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious," he says. I say all the bleating about surrendering my rights has long ago become tedious. Because people like him just don't like guns is an asinine reason for me to surrender my natural and Constitutionally guaranteed right to self defense. It's a shame criminals can't come to an agreement with Lone Hiker.

    How about this, Lone Hiker? "It's just a shame that criminal's thoughts of asset reallocation and self-gratification in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives." Why don't you guys try that approach to this discussion instead of whining about citizens lawfully exercising their rights without any being able to prove any impact on your life whatsoever.

  • Interior Officials Want to Allow Concealed Carry in the National Parks   6 years 7 weeks ago

    I'm there with you on the concealed carry permit in Chicago. There would be less shooting and armed robberies if there was a good chance the victim was carrying. The offender would think twice about pulling a gun on someone if he knows there is a good chance he will get shot. Besides, look at how well dictator Daley's law of no registered handguns in Chicago has done. Shootings and shooting related homicides are up!

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 7 weeks ago

    If there is a bigger whacko than Jerry Patterson, I don't know who it is.

    Rick Smith

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 7 weeks ago

    I always find it ironic that pro-gun people say the gun control crowd has been duped/misled/confused of the truth by the Brady Campaign, when the pro-gun people have been 'duped' just as much by the NRA....

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Sorry Lone Hiker. I hate to let you down but I read this piece online the other day and felt compelled to confess. It's one thing to make a decision, and another thing altogether to carry it out. I honestly do hope that the proposed rule change goes through. Otherwise I will be a lawbreaker the next time I visit a Park in a CCW permitted state (the only kind I will visit).

    Read this piece written by the Texas State Land Commisioner that appeared in the online San Antonio news:
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/stories/MYSA.052808.OPED_1B_CommentPatterson.2690f28.html

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 8 weeks ago

    Aw, Fred!!! After I was decent enough to throw accolades your direction for being honest enough to fess up to the criminal activity that you openly professed, you go and do the proverbial 180 on us!

    And Rick, as I too have stated in prior opinions, it's just a shame that people's thoughts of self-defense in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives, and investigation of newer technologies that put the 17th Century weaponry to shame. How nice it would be for a little intellect to go along with the claims of "I demand my God given rights", instead of taking the easy way out by placing all your testosterone in one basket of alternatives. All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious when the methods of such aren't investigated, and alternative methods and options beyond firearms fully considered as viable. What we're trying desperately to avoid is the "My gun's bigger than your gun" syndrome, or the inevitable "My gang's better outfitted than your gang", which the law-abiding citizens of this country lived through once already.

    Is it really too much to ask for one to step back and exhibit a bit of sensibility and reasoning before one decides on "the proper course of action"? And why are you always hiding behind the NRA-propped up mantle of people taking away your "rights"? I've never seen that sentiment expressed in any of these alleged discussions? Just who's putting out the fire with gasoline here?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 8 weeks ago

    OK, I'll try to ignore the fact that you have to start your argument with an insult.

    But as the saying goes, "figures don't lie, but liars figure." In other words, anyone can find statistics to back up their argument. And the fact that your set of facts comes from the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association does not give them any more credibility than you place in the Violence Policy Center.