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Thread: Parks Canada considers easing restrictions on firearms

  1. #1
    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    http://kingscorecord.canadaeast.com/article/285710

    Arctic adventurer and writer Jerry Kobalenko is usually happy to see wildlife on his excursions, but his most recent trip to Torngat Mountains National Park on Labrador's northern tip offered more than he needed.

    "We had 13 polar bear encounters in six days and one was really close," said Kobalenko. "A bear came into camp and would not go away. It took us seven flares and half an hour to chase it."

    Now, his rule for travel in polar bear country is simple. "You either have a firearm or you don't go."

    Parks Canada is beginning to agree.

    Policy director Darlene Pearson said the agency is reviewing its strict 122-year-old policy of no guns in national parks as it considers allowing at least some people to carry them in eight Arctic parks to protect themselves against polar bears.

    "We are exploring permitting the use of firearms for safety reasons," she said. "We are examining our existing policy because of an increasing presence of polar bears, more so than in the past."

    But some fear that what Parks Canada has in mind would be so restrictive that it will force Arctic guides and adventurers to avoid the parks altogether over concerns they wouldn't be able to protect themselves or their clients.

    When Banff National Park - Canada's first - was created in 1885, part of the rationale for protecting the area was to preserve its wildlife, including bears, from hunting. Guns were banned and have been from parks ever since.

    But beginning in 1984 with Ivvavik National Park in the northern Yukon, more and more parks have been created in the Arctic. Those parks contain polar bears and unlike other bears, their polar cousins will stalk humans.

    There are many ways to deal with bears safely - from avoidance to warning signals to flares and bear bangers. But those who spend any time on the land in the Arctic know a gun is a necessary last resort.

    Jane Whitney of Legendary Expeditions, based in Canmore, Alta., said one of her guides will no longer take parties into Aulavik National Park on Banks Island because he's not allowed to carry a gun there.

    "It's a little unsettling to be there in charge of people and not being able to defend them," she said. Whitney would like to plan trips into parks such as Labrador's Torngat or Sirmilik on the northern tip of Baffin Island, but current rules make her reluctant to do so.

    "(They) are two places where it would be very unsafe to go without a firearm."

    The old rules may not fit the new parks, Pearson acknowledged. But even if the gun ban is eased, not just anyone would be able to go in armed.

    Parks Canada is debating whether to restrict that privilege to local aboriginal guides, who are beneficiaries of land claims settlements or expand it to include all licensed guides.

    "The issue under discussion is whether it's (just) beneficiaries or more broadly," Pearson said. "In other words, whether we would allow guides on outfitted expeditions into our northern parks to carry guns for the safety of visitors."

    Kobalenko doesn't begrudge northern communities the chance to earn some money from parks in their backyard. But he believes anybody travelling in those areas should be allowed to carry a firearm.

    If only Inuit were allowed to carry guns, only they would be able to safely visit lands that are supposed to be Canada's common heritage, he argued.

    "I don't think the public realizes that this is what an Arctic national park (would) mean - no visitors allowed, except with Inuit supervision."

    Restricting the ability to carry guns to aboriginals - who are already allowed to hunt in the parks - wouldn't ease the problem much anyway, added Whitney. Few are interested in the rigours of week-long kayak or backpacking trips.

    "It won't work out. There's no local guides I could ever get for a sea kayak trip."

    Both Whitney and Kobalenko plan to continue travelling and guiding in the Arctic. They say they'll simply avoid the national parks.

    Pearson said Parks Canada has a long way to go before any new policy is adopted. Discussions are planned with management boards in the three northern territories and the federal Justice Department.
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    It'll take another 122 years to change the law.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    This would be a good article to cite in support of allowing carry in US Nat. parks!

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    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    This would be a good article to cite in support of allowing carry in US Nat. parks!
    Indeed. As would any of these links...

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...national+parks

    The list goes on and on...
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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    So... does this mean that Canada might get National Park carry before we do?

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    Regular Member Flintlock's Avatar
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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    So... does this mean that Canada might get National Park carry before we do?
    How pathetic would that be?
    Peace through superior firepower

    Luke 11:21
    "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.

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