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Thread: Open carrying a long gun in national parks

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    Open carrying a long gun in national parks

    Hey guys, I'm from California (los angeles) so this whole concept is foreign to me but I will be out in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada for vacation in a couple of weeks. I own a .22 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun (16.5 inch barrel), and .22 single action revolver. None of it is particularly well suited for self defence situations, but it's what I've got. My wife and I will be visiting many of the wonderful National parks in those states and I'm wondering whether it is reasonable, logical, etc. to open carry the shotgun. My wife will be carrying the revolver (she's an amazing shot with it) openly but I'm uncertain if it's a good idea (or even necessary) to go around with a shotgun over my shoulder. This is more for the back-of-nowhere hikes we are planning, not for the big touristy areas. Please let me know your thoughts or experiences in similar situations. Thanks much!

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Check the local laws for each area you choose to visit. Better to be forewarned than stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by MSG Laigaie; 09-16-2012 at 07:07 PM.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard.

    You should probably review the forum rules (there's a link up there in that first horizontal yellow bar), 'cause discussion of long guns is generally off-topic.

    That being said, before one of the mods deletes the thread...
    I'd think that having more ways to stop an attack (from a 2 or 4-legged predator) when you're in the back of beyond would be entirely reasonable.

    For home defense, that short shotgun would be OK, but having a decent pistol would be helpful.
    (Something that's a large enough caliber to be effective in at most 3-4 shots, and easier to both reload & fire than a single-action revolver.)

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie
    Check the local laws for each area you choose to visit.
    It'd be nice for the newbie if some of us old-timers would provide a hint about where to look for info...

    Here's the OCDO map page. I suggest starting with the one labelled 'travel'.

    Handgunlaw.us is useful for learning about where you plan to go, but (as the name implies) focusses on pistols. Across the top it has buttons for laws & travel-related info. One for 'indian nations' too, which you might come across out there.

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    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    You should be ok in National parks, however you may not carry into any building owned or leased by the federal government where federal employees work, so visitor centers and ranger stations and the like are off limits, although restuarants and tourist shops owned and operated by private interests should be ok, the key is WHERE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WORK.

    However to try to save this thread from a certain fate, I must implore you to talk about how you've seen the light and you'll only be carrying your handguns from now on

    frankly though, if you're worried about wildlife, I'd recommend bear spray, get the big bottles of the foaming spray, they shoot out 30 feet almost and are very effective. see firearms tend to piss big animals off and although they can be killed, often they'll only die after they've mauled you or your loved ones for a minute or two, but the spray they cant see or smell so they back off.

    carrying a firearm is definitely a good idea, but for animals, even stuff like cougars and the like bear spray is effective at stopping predator attacks.
    they love our milk and honey, but they preach about some other way of living, when they're running down my country man they're walkin' on the fightin side of me

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    While open carry of long guns is generally off topic, a quick question for reference in circumstances like this is not unreasonable.

    The general issue is on guns in National Parks (National Park Service land)) is that NPS will follow the law(s) of the state in which the park is located - different laws for different states.

    http://home.nps.gov/news/release.htm?id=962
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    I own a .22 rifle, 12 gauge shotgun (16.5 inch barrel), and .22 single action revolver.
    I hope that's a typo, shotguns must have an 18 inch minimum barrel unless it's a SBR.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    This type of "long gun OC" is not discussing carrying in town, so should be given some latitude.

    So, OC means a sling or strapped to a backpack, right? Not in hand!

    NV, AZ, UT are the three states I own land in. I'm also certified to instruct CCW courses in NV and UT.

    None of these states will give you any problems for having a slung weapon. Your biggest issue out in the boonies will be if a game warden thinks you are poaching, especially since target shooting in some of these areas is illegal, making it far less likely that they encounter people carrying long guns just for general purpose defense.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    This type of "long gun OC" is not discussing carrying in town, so should be given some latitude.

    So, OC means a sling or strapped to a backpack, right? Not in hand!

    NV, AZ, UT are the three states I own land in. I'm also certified to instruct CCW courses in NV and UT.

    None of these states will give you any problems for having a slung weapon. Your biggest issue out in the boonies will be if a game warden thinks you are poaching, especially since target shooting in some of these areas is illegal, making it far less likely that they encounter people carrying long guns just for general purpose defense.
    The forum rule limitation/restriction does not make a distinction between "in town" or out of town. Already indicated that a simple, direct response to his question(s)would be acceptable - going beyond will not be.

    There is no reference to long guns in the NPS rule, therefore only the individual state's laws apply. If you can legally carry such in a state park, then you can carry it on NPS land in that state.

    Facts, straight and to the point. Then we'll move on. Reasonable?
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    The forum rule limitation/restriction does not make a distinction between "in town" or out of town. Already indicated that a simple, direct response to his question(s)would be acceptable - going beyond will not be.

    There is no reference to long guns in the NPS rule, therefore only the individual state's laws apply. If you can legally carry such in a state park, then you can carry it on NPS land in that state.

    Facts, straight and to the point. Then we'll move on. Reasonable?
    Only meant to give my quick opinion and then my information as knowledgeable in all three states. I did not intend to sound as if I was authoritatively giving a ruling about your site. Apologies if it seemed that way.
    "It's not important how many people I've killed. What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive" - Jimmy the Tulip

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Only meant to give my quick opinion and then my information as knowledgeable in all three states. I did not intend to sound as if I was authoritatively giving a ruling about your site. Apologies if it seemed that way.
    Not a problem really, been a long week-end. I needn't have been so curt. <Offers hand>
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Thanks everyone

    Thanks for all the tips and links. And yes, that barrel length was a typo (it's 18.5, not 16.5 inches). I'm definitely now confident about the legality of it and will just focus on making sure I'm not a nuisance to the other touristas (like walking around camp-sites with a slung 12 gauge, I'm sure it would make people nervous). As for our 4 legged friends I'm not taking any chances. Out here in California I've been tracked by Mountain lions twice, surrounded by wild boar once, and had a bear (looked about old enough to have just left mother) follow me for 4 days. Every night it would sit down and watch me make camp and I would wonder if I was going to wake up being chewed on. I didn't have anything more dangerous on me than a buck knife that needed a good sharpening. On the bear spray, agreed. I'll have that and use it before I used a gun unless circumstances prevented it. In the past encounters I got by on luck and keeping a cool head. Being able to blow holes in things will be a nice addition to my available options. Thanks again everyone.

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