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Thread: The Gun Lobby Targets Yellowstone

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    From Time magazine

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...xid=rss-nation

    For more than 20 years, people have been prohibited from openly carrying firearms in most of America's national parks. Rangers argue that the rule cuts down on the potential hazards to wildlife as well as to visitors in the congested parks. But now, 47 Senators have signed on to a letter to the Interior Department requesting an end to the ban on firearms. Initiated by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, the letters other signatories include Montana's two Democratic Senators — Max Baucus, who is up for re-election, and Jon Tester — as well as the entire delegations of Wyoming and Idaho.

    Technically, you can drive through a national park with a firearm, as long as it's not loaded and not readily accessible in order to prevent poaching and accidental shootings. But now the Senators want the law loosened to allow Winchester-toting, pistol-packin' visitors to enjoy the national park, without feeling as if they were somehow engaging in an illegal act. The change in the regulations would most immediately benefit pro gun-rights constituents who live near Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton national parks, allowing them not only to bring in their weapons but display them as openly as they would outside the parks. Currently, the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, where the parks are located, have no restrictive gun laws. They also have a preponderance of voters favoring liberalized gun-possession laws.

    The rationale for requesting the change? "These regulations infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, who wish to transport and carry firearms on or across these lands," the letter said, pointing out that the laws discriminate even against citizens with valid concealed weapons permits. It asked that the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service allow transporting and carrying of firearms on their lands in accordance with the laws of the host state. "These inconsistencies in firearms regulations for public lands are confusing, burdensome and unnecessary," the letter said. It added that such a change of rules for parks and nature refuges "would respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, while providing a consistent application of state weapon laws across all land ownership boundaries."

    In a message to its members this week, the National Rifle Association said, "The NRA initiated and worked closely with Senator Crapo on this letter and appreciates his bipartisan effort.... We have been working for nearly five years to change this policy and applaud the strong Senate support for this policy change expressed in this letter." Among the other Senators whose signatures appear on the letter: Republicans Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; and Democrats Tim Johnson of North Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

    Senator Baucus's spokesman Barrett Kaiser said there's "no reason that law-abiding citizens shouldn't be allowed to carry a firearm on our public lands.... Max thinks it's a matter of Second Amendment rights, and it's also the right thing to do for people who simply want to cross through our parks to access prime hunting areas," he said.
    "The Second Amendment is not an issue in Yellowstone National Park," says Deputy Chief Ranger Tim Reid. "You can legally possess an unloaded firearm," stored in the vehicle. He says Yellowstone has about 30 firearms cases a year already, including wildlife poaching, but noted that crime relative to numbers of visitors is a fraction of the national average. In 2006, out of 2.8 million visitors, 260 people were arrested in Yellowstone on a variety of charges. "The way the regulation works now seems effective from our point of view," says Rick Obernesser, Yellowstone's chief law enforcment ranger. Added Special Agent in Charge Brian Smith: "That's an expectation when you come into most parks — that guns aren't loaded and in the racks." The rangers declined to comment on how their jobs could change if guns are allowed, except to say, according to Obernesser, "If it's changed, we will make that one work."

    Laura Loomis, senior director of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said it supports the current regulations and opposes change, saying her organization "believes that changing this regulation would further strain underfunded and understaffed Park Service rangers, and cause increased intentional and unintentional visitor injury. It may also lead to increased incidences of poaching of park wildlife." Says Loomis: "There is no reason for a thoughtful sportsman to carry a loaded gun unless in a park area that permits hunting."


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    Arrrrgh! My head is spinning from trying to keep track of all of the spin in this article.

    "NRA initiated" - "targets Yellowstone" - NPS having "special agent in charge" I remember when NPS ranger friends argued over who had to wear the duty-gun as they went thru the climbers' camp (4) in Yosemite bumming 'numbers'.

    Which part of "shall not be infringed" does the never before heard of National Parks Conservation Association not understand as it believes in repugnant demo-crapcy.

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    The Second Amendment is not an issue in Yellowstone National Park," says Deputy Chief Ranger Tim Reid. "You can legally possess an unloaded firearm," stored in the vehicle.
    I find that part funny. So you can have a firearm, you just have to have it locked up and unloaded in your vehicle. What good does that do you when you're hiking or any outside activity?

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    Regular Member IanB's Avatar
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    My letter to the author: (letters@time.com)

    Dear Pat,

    Please keep your personal opinions out of news articles. I'm specifically taking umbrage with the sentence "But now the Senators want the law loosened to allow Winchester-toting, pistol-packin' visitors to enjoy the national park, without feeling as if they were somehow engaging in an illegal act." Toting? Packing? Please! Responsible gun owners deserve more respect than you give them. Appropriate, non-biased language would read "But now the Senators want the law CHANGED to allow visitors to enjoy the national park, without DISARMING THEMSELVES AT THE PARK ENTRANCE." [Caps used to emphasize changed language from your article, not to express raised voice level] The last sentence does not make sense either, as it is (currently) illegal to carry in National Parks. As such, anyone carrying WOULD be "engaging in an illegal act", not merely "feeling" like they were doing something illegal. I urge you to do the faintest bit of research to find out what types of crimes occur at our National Parks. Once you see the armed robberies, rapes, murders, and drug cultivation problems; coupled with the relatively low numbers of Park Rangers available to provide security, you might just realize lawful armed citizens legally carrying firearms for their own protection is a smart idea. Lastly, I realize you as well as many of your writer peers might not be familiar with firearms or firearm laws. If you really care about good journalism and want to get your facts straight when writing about firearms or the laws pertaining to them, feel free to contact me. If I don't have the answers myself, I have a vast network of contacts that can get your questions answered.

    Vr,
    NSL
    vaguninfo.com

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    State Researcher dng's Avatar
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    longwatch wrote:
    Laura Loomis, senior director of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said it supports the current regulations and opposes change, saying her organization "believes that changing this regulation would further strain underfunded and understaffed Park Service rangers, and cause increased intentional and unintentional visitor injury. It may also lead to increased incidences of poaching of park wildlife." Says Loomis: "There is no reason for a thoughtful sportsman to carry a loaded gun unless in a park area that permits hunting."
    Um...ever heard of wild animals attacked humans? Yep, it does happen! Don't worry...the poachers could not care less what your rules are; they will still carry their guns. The only ones who don't get to carry are the law abiding.

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    I originally posted this in June 2006 on another forum when I had a discussion about crime in national parks with a woman who works for the NPS.

    <paste>

    Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago I had a woman in my car (a "slug"--for those familiar with NoVA/DC commuting) who worked for one of the senior civilians at the NPS. Definite tree-hugger. We began discussing my summer plans and how I want to take my kids camping/hiking, etc in the National Parks.

    She cautioned me to be careful where I go because there is a lot of crime in the parks that goes unreported in the press...but how (her rant /on) it's all of Bush's fault, they have to cut their budget...blah blah blah...cut personnel...cut resources...all to pay for an illegal war... (her rant /off) Mind you, I picked her up in front of the Pentagon and I was in uniform.

    Anyway, I asked her about what kind of crime occurs (getting her on the hook). She talked about rapes, robberys, perverts (men exposing themselves), homeless/vagrants. So I played the whole, "Whoa, that's scary...I'm glad the rangers are armed!"...she said, yes, but they are not around all of the time (I got a live one!!)

    Now I pulled hard on the line--"So why must I be disarmed when I go into a national forest? I have been licensed by the state of Virginia to carry a concealed firearm, and over the course of the last 12 years, taken weeks of training, plus multiple deployments to Iraq responsible for the security of me and my men. Why should only the bad guys have weapons? Why can't I defend my family?"

    Her: <silence>, then "More guns won't keep the park safe"

    Me: You are right, but at the moment the bad guy or his friends are there, i don't care about the park, I care about my family

    Her: (watch the deflection) Well, the parks are there to preserve cultural icons and natural resources...not for recreation (yes...she actually said this...I can't make this up)

    Me: So who is supposed to go to these national parks that you need funding for?

    Her: <silence> having guns in the national parks is illegal. People should go there to enjoy the scenery, not worry about getting shot.

    Me: you are right again....that needs to be changed. However, you just said the parks are for preserving culture and natural resources, not recreation. Not to mention, I think it is negligent on the park service for not warning people of the threats you just mentioned. There is no e-mail, no cell phone...and by your statement, no park ranger right next to me. The only person that can defend me and my family is ME.

    Her: <silence>

    Then I turned on Bill O'Reilly and let her sit there and stew.

    Mike in VA

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    Well played, Sig... :celebrate
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    dngreer wrote:
    longwatch wrote:
    Laura Loomis, senior director of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, said it supports the current regulations and opposes change, saying her organization "believes that changing this regulation would further strain underfunded and understaffed Park Service rangers, and cause increased intentional and unintentional visitor injury. It may also lead to increased incidences of poaching of park wildlife." Says Loomis: "There is no reason for a thoughtful sportsman to carry a loaded gun unless in a park area that permits hunting."
    Um...ever heard of wild animals attacked humans? Yep, it does happen! Don't worry...the poachers could not care less what your rules are; they will still carry their guns. The only ones who don't get to carry are the law abiding.
    I wonder if the recent tiger attack will give any momentum to this bill?

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    Just curious, does anyone have the link to a NRA posting about this? I'm wanting to find out which Senators have signed this letter. I want to know which of my Senators I need to ask to sign this, and which ones to thank for already signing it.

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    jcman wrote:
    Just curious, does anyone have the link to a NRA posting about this? I'm wanting to find out which Senators have signed this letter. I want to know which of my Senators I need to ask to sign this, and which ones to thank for already signing it.
    Here is a copy of the letter:
    http://www.nraila.org/Media/PDFs/kempthorne_ltr.pdf

    Here's the VCDL's analysis on it:
    http://www2.vcdl.org/cgi-bin/wspd_cg...85&FILTER=


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    TEX1N wrote:
    jcman wrote:
    Just curious, does anyone have the link to a NRA posting about this? I'm wanting to find out which Senators have signed this letter. I want to know which of my Senators I need to ask to sign this, and which ones to thank for already signing it.
    Here is a copy of the letter:
    http://www.nraila.org/Media/PDFs/kempthorne_ltr.pdf

    Here's the VCDL's analysis on it:
    http://www2.vcdl.org/cgi-bin/wspd_cg...85&FILTER=
    I am glad to see that both of my Senators signed the lettor.





    Tarzan

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