Recent comments

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt,

    No reasonable person can read the report of the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association (http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf) and come away with any other opinion than that it destroys your contention that possessing a CCW results in additional violent crime. In fact the evidence points in exactly the opposite direction, the availability of CCW reduces crime. This assertion is backed up, at the national level, by the FBI. People intent on committing a violent crime will do so, with or without a gun.

    You state: "Beyond the violent crime, these stats also show that non-violent crime by CCW permit holders in Texas also steadily increased year after year." Wow, I wonder if that might be because the number of CCW holders increases year after year? Again, you have a problem with context. The only way to evaluate the supposed criminality of CCW holders is in relation to the age appropriate general population. Doing this destroys any assertion that CCW holders are somehow more inclined to commit a crime once in possession of their licenses.

    Murders and violent crimes are being committed in the National Parks under the current regime of strict gun control. In every other instance, without exception, liberalizing gun laws has resulted in a reduction of violent crime. This is according to the FBI and appropriate state agencies, whose responsibility it is to gather and assess data without prejudice.

    Stay away from the facts, they don't help your cause.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Here's how I decide which states I will visit: http://carryconcealed.net/legal/utah-ccw-state-laws.php Those that aren't colored green on this map on not in my travel plans, except for Colorado. My brother lives there. He's a retired cop; he carries everywhere he goes.

    Now how do you decide? Almost everywhere you go you might be standing next to a CCW holder that is armed. Wal-Mart, the gas station, movie theater, grocery store, etc; what do you do?

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I've carried plenty, just NOT in a National Park.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Sorry Kurt, I won't tell. The whole idea of "concealed" is that you don't know that I'm carrying, and you certainly don't know WHERE it is on my body. One sure way for the bad guy to disarm you is to know these two pieces of information. Warm weather is a real problem for me and has been the hardest and most expensive to solve. This link gives you some ideas of the many carry methods: http://magills.com/

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Hey Fred, I thought we had both agreed you NEVER carried in the parks? C'mon amigo, which is it?

    On a lighter note, I noticed you also claimed that the only parks you visit are located in the "pro-gun belt" (no pun intended) states currently or I'm guessing, futuristically allowing for CCP holders such as yourself to exorcise your rights, yada yada........Now to me, that sounds suspiciously more like a political statement than a fundamental preference issue, in that I'll bet you would have a difficult time saying, in all honesty, that "I wouldn't care to see [insert park name here] on the basis that I don't have the option to carry my handgun". I understand that you have chosen NOT to visit particular areas of the country based on this stance, but isn't that somewhat like cutting off your nose to spite your face? Couldn't you enjoy [insert park name here] just as much sans weaponry as you could with the extra poundage on your person?

    Yeah, those underlines were getting more than a little annoying. Fortunately, all bad things come to an end!

    That is except for this never-ending debate, in which no resolution will satisfactorily pacify both groups.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Nothing personal, Fred but I don't think I would enjoy backpacking with someone like you. You sound a bit braggadocio about carrying a concealed weapon into the National Parks when it's clearly stated it's against the law. It's nothing to brag about when breaking the law and carrying on like you're ready to pounce on someone if they accidentally crossed your path over some slight misunderstanding. It happens all the time in a moment of rage and passion. But, I judge you're a prudent man with a reasonable even temperament. However, I do find you as a strange cat in the woods.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    So Fred, I'm curious. If the regulations were changed to allow "concealed" carry, how would you conceal your weapon during warm weather if it wasn't in your pack? Wouldn't a holster be out in the open and against regs? And what if you're just out and about in the park, not in the backcountry? Where/how do you carry a "concealed" weapon?

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    How come everything is underlined??

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I can't speak for all CCW holders, but I DON'T carry my pistol in my backpack. What if I wanted to take it off while I took a break? Would I just set it on the ground and then wander over to look at that pretty flower? Not me, brother!! My pistol is somewhere on my person every second, or it's in the lockbox. There are several thousand different types of holsters on the market. I use two different types. One allows me to "present" quickly. The other one allows me to "present" VERY quickly.

    As far as being responsible, NO test can determine someone's future actions. Look at drunk drivers. If we could test them in advance of their unsafe act, would we issue them a driver's license?

    And I would gladly pay a fine if I had been able to prevent a crime. As one of our Rangers commented elsewhere in the NPT, if he found out I was carrying, he would take it and hold it until I left the Park. Reasonable, AND I would have the knowledge of having done the RIGHT thing even if it was against DOI regulations.

  • Alexander Hamilton's "Country Home" on the Move in New York City   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Dear Anonymous - The NPS does not manage New York City and has no responsibility for city corruption. Hamilton Grange is a national park.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    most states' application process involves some questions about past mental health history

    Don't confuse or try and equate psychological evaluations with "some questions about past mental health". Any idiot can answer "some questions" about their past mental health history properly. An in-depth evaluation is a completely different animal, designed to test your stability and thought processes through a variety of similar, but unrelated qualifiers. It takes virtually a court-ordered trip to a padded cell to be denied an ownership permit, and even then there are numerous cited instances where these same "certifiable" lunatics legally purchased handguns and used them on the general public. An assessment on the other hand, is specifically designed to identify and eliminate those people who are trying to give the "right" awswer to a series of questions by approaching the topic from a variety of angles, testing to determine your thought processes, not your "right" answers. If the processes vary, they know you're full of crap, and just attempting to "ace" the test by concealing your true agenda. The quick and easy application process is not at all, in any way, an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    According to this report (which is eight years old, by the way), violent crimes by CCW permit holders in Texas increased every year from 1996 to 1999. Over that period, according to the study, there were 27 murders/non-negligent manslaughters, two forcible rapes, five robberies, 376 aggravated assaults, and 454 "other assaults."

    Rick previously had asked for proof "of a permit holder committing a gun crime against another citizen," and these statistics, produced for the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, certainly seem to provide that proof.

    Beyond the violent crime, these stats also show that non-violent crime by CCW permit holders in Texas also steadily increased year after year.

    Are the incident rates for the general population higher? Yes, but is that surprising in light of the greater pool of gun wielders? And interestingly, for the years cited some might say the murder rates aren't drastically different -- 5.2 per 100,000 for the general population and 4.0 per 100,000 for permit holders.

  • Artists' Paint Pots Area in Yellowstone National Park Temporarily Closed Due to Thin Surface Crust   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Being well prepared makes good sense to me, Bob. I do have a question about the snake bite kit, though. Here in South Carolina, where people are outdoorsy and snake bites are not just a theoretical hazard (we have four venomous species), medical authorities have told people very emphatically that they shouldn't fool around with snake bite kits. "Your snake bite kit is your car keys," is basically what we are told. I do realize that people can get dangerously bitten in remote areas where medical attention may be hours away. Are you saying that the snake bite kit is appropriate for that sort of situation?

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Kurt:
    You need to actually read the report this information came from. The actual report is much different than the misinformation you are spreading. Read the study at: http://www.txchia.org/sturdevant.pdf

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Adding guns to the National Parks is complete contrary to the concept of the parks being a sanctuary. Guns kill, people with guns murder. Allowing guns in parks will only increase the likelyhood of some idiot killing the very animals protected by the sanctuary of the Natioanl Parks. It is time that the NRA woke up and realized that yes we do have gun rights, but not everywhere and not in all situations. Gun limits are not gun restrictions, just laws and guidelines to protect others from illegal gun use. NO! NO! NO to guns in the National Park. Do I need to be worried about a stray shot killing me as I hike Yellowstone, Crater Lake or Great Smokey?

  • Artists' Paint Pots Area in Yellowstone National Park Temporarily Closed Due to Thin Surface Crust   6 years 17 weeks ago

    It's awesome to see the Park Rangers on top of the situation so quickly. Preparedness is #1. I've been group group leader several times down into the Grand Canyon NP and tell my folks to be over prepared for the worst. Carry a first aid kit and snake bite kit which includes both a sling for injured bones and a burn kit for accidents just as this. Hopefully more Fed $$$ will become available to assist in the proper sustaining of these precious resources for both the environment as well as the public who wish to view them. Can't wait to get to Yellowstone, will be there for a week in June.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Anonymous pondered"

    > Don't you think Rick it might be wise to implement some kind of psychological testing before one can be issued a concealed (handgun) weapon?

    Except for Vermont, most states' application process involves some questions about past mental health history. Usually the disqualifier is whether the person was committed _unwillingly_ to mental health treatment. This is not the case when asking people who apply for drivers licenses and whether they have a drinking problem. More people are killed by drunk drivers than by mentally ill concealed carry permit holders.

    and later Rick Smith declares:

    > Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution and therefore is an "American value."

    You can disagree that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to "keep and BEAR ARMS" but you're wrong. Article 1, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania constitution, which existed prior, made it perfectly clear, "The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned." The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to do the same. And - you'll love this - it does, in principle, provide for possession of firearms like the M-16, M-4, SAW, or MP5 - any weapons typically carried by an individual into battle. To date, we have the Firearms Act of 1934 that regulates automatic firearms so you must pass a background check and pay a $200 fee to the Treasury Department for each automatic firearm you are registering. Since laws were changed in 1986 the availability of automatic firearms for public purchase has created ridiculous supply/demand price inflation. Typically, you'll pay approximately more than $12,000 or more for an M-16.

    I don't expect Rick Smith to be down at the Knob Creek machine gun shoot but I thought I'd throw that in to explain that as an American citizen you may own the same firearms the military uses because, the individual citizen is the militia - not the National Guard - as defined by the Constitution and fantasized by the gun banners.

    This little bit of trivia may not be an "American value" in your mind but it is fact. District of Columbia v. Heller will settle this decisively very soon and end the delusional and myopic claims of gun banners.

  • National Park Service Director Bomar Scheduled to Meet With Mountain Bike Community   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I am in my 40s and have been a bike rider since I was VERY little and a mountain biker since the mid 80s. I would have to agree with Marylander that most of us are very respectful of hikers, in truth most of us still hike on ocassion. There are places within National parks that I have dreams of returning to, yet haven't been able to because of time constraints. If I was able to ride my bike I would be able to triple my mileage for a given day and enjoy some of the places I enjoyed in my youth.
    The forum response is ludicrious, of course industry does support IMBA, but it is a user group. Who would work for a Mountain bike company without riding a mountain bike?? Have you looked at the supporters of the Sierra Club lately? I bet there is a backpack company listed. I will not deny that bikers do add wear and tear to trails, but I have been part of trail building workshops and when done properly trail design eliminates this problem.
    IMBA is truely a stewardship organization with an under-tapped work force to create, maintain and improve trails within the national parks system.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Rick,

    "Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution ..." That's why men like Patrick Henry and Gouverneur Morris insisted that certain rights be spelled out in the "Bill of Rights", they knew that unless they were, people like you would deny them.

    Far from blinding me to the fact that "lots of us think differently", the NRA has alerted me, and millions of people just like me, to your intentions. We stand ready to defend our rights and, as the Democrat party has learned, it's a fight we intend to win.

    The fact that "lots of people" have different opinions is not what makes America great. What makes America great is that the founders realized that some people would work to undermine the liberties that God has granted each of us and they established a government designed to frustrate their efforts. I'm only too happy to frustrate yours.

  • Couple That Was Lost In Grand Canyon National Park Had Good Survival Plan   6 years 17 weeks ago

    I am so glad the two of you were found. Congrats!

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Jurjen,

    I think the statistics -- no matter whose you choose to use -- speak for themselves. The more guns in circulation, the more folks get shot, whether intentionally or accidentally, whether by criminals or by guns owned by any legal gun owner, whether they hold a CCW permit or not.

    Again, the point I've tried to make in this post and in comments to others is that the concern doesn't necessarily revolve around the "responsible" gun owner, but more so the irresponsible, of which statistics seem to indicate there are plenty.

    The official bestowing of a CCW permit doesn't necessarily carry with it all the wisdom, patience, and judgment that you and other gun proponents would have everyone believe. Wouldn't it seem reasonable that the fact that there are so many varying state laws pertaining to guns and what one must do to obtain a CCW permit (or for states to grant reciprocity) is evidence that there are many different views of who exactly is a competent gun owner?

    And through this entire debate no one has answered a question raised long ago: If "concealed carry" is allowed in the parks, where will you pack your weapon? If it's to be "concealed" and it's a warm-weather month, wouldn't that necessitate that the weapon be placed in a pack? And if that's the case, how quickly can you reach that weapon in time of need?

    As to your contention that a CCW holder wouldn't admit to averting a violent crime because they would themselves be admitted to committing a crime, well, other CCW holders have commented on this site either directly or through implication that they would willing pay a fine if their actions prevented a crime.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Art--

    Just so you will know. NRA values are not this American's values. And, I suspect, they're not a lot of Americans' values. Many disagree with your assertion that carrying a weapon is guaranteed by the Constitution and therefore is an "American value." Don't let NRA propaganda blind you to the fact that lots of us think differently. That's what makes America great. It's a pluralistic society and we don't have to all agree. But, I suspect that you won't agree with that either.

    Rick Smith

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Bill Wade wrote: 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...

    That smells suspiciously like shifting the burden of proof. Kurt has argued against proposed amendment to the CFR by asserting that there is a risk (and he implies it is a large one) of CCW permit holders using their weapons to commit unlawful acts. Without evidence, however, this is merely an unsupported assertion and to quote Christopher Hitchens, "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." Statistics indicate that CCW permit holders are one-fifth (or less) as likely to commit a violent offense as the general population (and comparatively even less likely to commit a non-violent offense). Unless there is something unique about National Forests that would somehow cause a CCW permit holder to suddenly deviate from this pattern (and if there is, I'd like to know what), Kurt's fears do not appear to have much basis in reality.

    The main problem with demanding such an example, however, is that it is not likely to be documented. If a CCW permit holder averted a violent crime in a National Park without using a concealed carry firearm to do so, why would it be documented that the person in question was a CCW permit holder? The germane question, presumably, is whether there are documented examples of CCW permit holders using their concealed carry weapons to avert a violent crime. The rub is, of course, that concealed carry is currently illegal in National Parks; thus, an absence of such examples may simply be the result of CCW permit holders obeying the law. You simply can't reasonably assert that CCW permit holders wouldn't do any good because they have failed to do so thus far, when doing so would, at this point, require them to have broken the law first. And if such an example could be found, I have little doubt you'd gleefully seize upon the fact that CCW permit holder was carrying illegally in a National Park as evidence that all CCW permit holders are scofflaws. It's a "heads I win, tails you lose" scenario.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Anonymous,

    "Don't you think Rick it might be wise to implement some kind of psychological testing before one can be issued a concealed (handgun) weapon?"

    It would be only too easy to extend this logic to the First Amendment as well. The rantings of demagogues like Huey Long, Bull Connor, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan have led in many cases to violence and death. Yet I have yet to here anyone call for "psychological testing" as a precondition to the exercise of the right to free speech.

    The price of freedom is insecurity. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither". We must accept that a world where people are allowed the freedoms proclaimed in our Constitution will be inherently more unpredictable and less "safe". That world will also provide the greatest opportunity for individuals to realize the fullness of their God given potential.

    You reflect on the "psychological temperament" of our nation and find nothing affirmative. This can only be a symptom of either intellectual or moral bankruptcy. You joke about "having our little guns taken away". Perhaps you should spend some time reading the history of the last century, where governments committed the wholesale slaughter of their citizens after disarming them. It was only the resolve of this "stressed-out", "pill popping", "sleep deprived" nation that prevented the spread of a gun-controlled nightmare.

    As for the values of the NRA, they are Americas values. The right of a free people to organize and petition our government for redress of grievances. The right to defend both our person and our property and the right of our children to inherit a nation where all of the rights guaranteed their fathers and grandfathers are intact.

  • Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue   6 years 17 weeks ago

    Hang on to your cutlery: [Ed. note: The link connects to an article about an incident in the UK described thusly: "The grandson of prominent anti-gun campaigner Pat Regan has been arrested on suspicion of stabbing her to death."]

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/west_yorkshire/7430668.stm