94-Year Ban on Guns in National Parks Ends on Monday

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Handguns, rifles, shotguns, even semi-automatic weapons will be allowed in national parks as of February 22, as long as visitors are compliant with state law and other rules. The change has sparked concerns among current and former employees of the National Park Service who fear the introduction of firearms may damage the reputation of the parks as refuges from violence and lead to increases in illegal hunting and poaching.

Bill Wade, president of The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, told The Washington Post: “Visitors are going to go to national parks with an increased amount of suspicions and weariness and concern. People go to national parks to get away from things that they face in their everyday living, where they live and work. Now I think that social dynamic is really going to change.”
Park service personnel will now have to deal with complicated situations, such as how to enforce gun rules in parks that traverse more than one state, and keeping guns out of visitor centers and rangers’ offices, because U.S. law still restricts firearms from federal facilities.
Gun-rights advocates are looking forward to the change in parks, where “you’ll finally be free to defend yourself from two and four legged animals,” according to Dustin of Dustin’s Gun Blog. “When seconds count, a Park Ranger may be hours away if you’re lucky enough to even have cell phone service. Your handgun or rifle on the other hand will be right at your side, ready to be a useful tool in defense of you & your family.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
America’s National Parks are Likely to See More Guns (Coalition of National Park Service Retirees)


Garrett 13 years ago
I understand both points of view... I myself and a licensed CHL holder, and am glad to see the change... the fact is by old laws only criminals carry guns into parks, because they do not respect laws... Anyone licensed to carry a firearm, goes through extensive background checks, and training on firearms and rules of carry use etc... I currently go to big bend national park frequently, which has over 200 miles along the border of mexico with about a 15 ft wide, 1 ft deep river as a border... we all know the concerns with immigration, and drug smuggling etc... there is no cell service, and at any point I am up to 75 miles from any assistance... I hope never to use my weapon on anyone, or anything... but if I have to defend my life, I want to be able to do so... The fact is in all states where CHL holders are legally allowed crime rates have fallen significantly... And the law is not for just any joe blow to carry a weapon, you must be licensed in your state... So only the most upstanding citizens are now carrying weapons... Which I feel will make the parks a safer place, as criminals will not be under the impression they can prey on unarmed citizens, because the laws prevent them from being armed...

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