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Thread: Carry in National Parks returning

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    By MATTHEW DALY
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- People will soon be able to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refuges.

    The Bush administration said Friday it is overturning a 25-year-old federal rule that severely restricts loaded guns in national parks.

    Under a rule to take effect in January, visitors will be able to carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge - but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows concealed firearms.

    The new rule goes further than a draft proposal issued last spring and would allow concealed weapons even in parks located in states that explicitly ban the carrying of guns in state parks. Some states allow concealed weapons but also ban guns from parks.

    "If you can carry (a gun) on Main Street, you are allowed to carry in a national park," said Chris Paolino. a spokesman for the Interior Department.

    The Interior Department rule overturns a Reagan-era regulation that has restricted loaded guns in parks and wildlife refuges. The previous regulation required that firearms be unloaded and placed somewhere that is not easily accessible, such as in a car trunk.

    Assistant Interior Secretary Lyle Laverty said the new rule respects a long tradition of states and the federal government working together on natural resource issues.

    The regulation allows individuals to carry concealed firearms in federal parks and wildlife refuges to the same extent they can lawfully do so under state law, Laverty said, adding that the approach is in line with rules adopted by the federal Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Those agencies let visitors carry weapons consistent with applicable federal and state laws.

    The National Rifle Association hailed the rule change, which will take effect next month before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

    "We are pleased that the Interior Department recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families while enjoying America's national parks and wildlife refuges," said Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist.

    The rule will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners on federal lands and make federal law consistent with the state where the lands are located, Cox said. The NRA led efforts to change gun regulations they called inconsistent and unclear.

    A group representing park rangers, retirees and conservation organizations said the rule change will lead to confusion for visitors, rangers and other law enforcement agencies.

    "Once again, political leaders in the Bush administration have ignored the preferences of the American public by succumbing to political pressure, in this case generated by the National Rifle Association," said Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

    "This regulation will put visitors, employees and precious resources of the National Park System at risk. We will do everything possible to overturn it and return to a commonsense approach to guns in national parks that has been working for decades," Wade said.

    The park rule will be published in the Federal Register early next week and take effect 30 days later, well before Obama takes office Jan. 20. Overturning the rule could take months or even years, since it would require the new administration to restart the lengthy rule-making process.

    Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, said no decision had been made on the gun rule.

    "President-elect Obama will review all eleventh-hour regulations and will address them once he is president," he said.

    Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, hailed the new rule. Crapo and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., had organized letters to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne complaining about the gun restrictions. The letters were signed by half the Senate - 41 Republicans and nine Democrats.

    "I congratulate Secretary Kempthorne for taking this stand. The rule as it has come out is what we asked for with regard to handguns," Crapo said. "It's a very, very significant improvement."

    Crapo called the current rule confusing and complex and said it "literally resulted in different standards as you traveled through the same state."

    But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the new rule was a mistake.

    "The Reagan-era rules have stood the test of time and make our national parks safe for all who visit them," Feinstein said. "The Bush administration changes will make our national parks more dangerous and will upset the delicate balance that exists between park visitors and wildlife."

    Interior spokesman Paolino said the rule would not affect a ban on guns in federal buildings. Guns will still be prohibited in national icons such as Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty, he said. Guns also will be banned in visitor centers and other buildings at national parks.

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    When hiking last year in Rocky Mtn National Park, after seeing a sign on our trail of "mountain lion area" it was clear that I was defenseless should a big overgrown cat come up on my wife and I.

    The park rangers carry their pistols for both protection of themselves and others from bad guys and WILD ANIMALS!!! But all the law abiding people are defenseless when they aren't around. Guaranteed that a criminal picks his attack when a LEO is NOT around. No telling when a wild carnivore may attack. But one thing is for sure, the carnivore seeks to make you his meal while the criminal seeks to make you his victim. Both are bad, and both must be met with force if necessary. And up until now, someone could not defend themselves effectively from either.

    At least the NRA was on the right side of this fight trying to get the parks to mirror gun laws in the states.

    So, next time you're at Yellowstone, strap on your .357 and OC baby with the law on your side!

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    smithman wrote:
    So, next time you're at Yellowstone, strap on your .357 and OC baby with the law on your side!
    From the article it seems to me that you'd be required to CC in the park, not OC.


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    smithman wrote:
    When hiking last year in Rocky Mtn National Park, after seeing a sign on our trail of "mountain lion area" it was clear that I was defenseless should a big overgrown cat come up on my wife and I.
    I would be much more concerned about a bear than a cat. I've come across puma twice while on foot, both times they were going away, once from a kill. I have been trod upon by a bear that was killed the next day for her lack of fear of humans.

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    Pointman wrote:
    "If you can carry (a gun) on Main Street, you are allowed to carry in a national park," said Chris Paolino. a spokesman for the Interior Department.

    Assistant Attorney General Kassel: It's the State's position that it is legal to walk down State Street in Madison with a pistol in your holster. (State of Wisconsin v. Adam S. Gonzales, Supreme Court of Wisconsin)
    Everything I've seen references only concealed carry within the parks. My understanding is that if you're legal to carry concealed within the state in which the park is located, you can carry concealed, and only concealed, within the park. In fact one article I read stated that 3 national areas within Wisconsin and Illinois are not affected by this rule change because the two states do not recognize concealed carry. Unfortunately the DOI website is not working this morning so I cannot access the exact wording of the rule, yet.
    A. Gold

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    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Shotgun wrote:
    Everything I've seen references only concealed carry within the parks. My understanding is that if you're legal to carry concealed within the state in which the park is located, you can carry concealed, and only concealed, within the park. In fact one article I read stated that 3 national areas within Wisconsin and Illinois are not affected by this rule change because the two states do not recognize concealed carry. Unfortunately the DOI website is not working this morning so I cannot access the exact wording of the rule, yet.
    I thought it was in general to mirror the gun carry laws in the state that the park resides, whether OC or CC. Shotgun you may be correct....I didn't look that far into it. Though it makes sense that it may only be CC since I assume the only thing the NRA would really care to change is CC since their literature/website does not endorse OC.

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    DOI's website is working now, and the press release is lengthy, but it begins with:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty today announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized updated regulations governing the possession of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The final rule, which updates existing regulations, would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is authorized to carry a concealed weapon under state law in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The update has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication and is available to the public on www.doi.gov.



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    Thanks Shotgun.

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    I believe this is the correct language:

    Code:
    Sec.  2.4  Weapons, traps and nets.
    
    * * * * *
    (h) A person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, 
    and operable firearms within a national park area in the same manner, 
    and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and 
    transport concealed, loaded and operable firearms in any state park, or 
    any similar unit of state land, in the state in which the federal park, 
    or that portion thereof, is located, provided that such possession, 
    carrying and transporting otherwise complies with applicable federal 
    and state law
    
    Title 50--Wildlife and Fisheries
    
    CHAPTER I--UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, DOI
    
    PART 27--PROHIBITED ACTS
    
    1. The authority citation for part 27 continues to read as follows:
    
    Authority: Sec. 2, 33 Stat. 614, as amended (16 U.S.C. 685); 
    Sec. 5, 43 Stat. 651 (16 U.S.C. 725); Sec. 5, Stat. 449 (16 U.S.C. 
    690d); Sec. 10, 45 Stat. 1224 (16 U.S.C. 715i); Sec. 4, 48 Stat. 
    402, as amended (16 U.S.C. 664); Sec. 2, 48 Stat. 1270 (43 U.S.C. 
    315a); 49 Stat. 383 as amended; Sec. 4, 76 Stat. (16 U.S.C. 460k); 
    Sec. 4, 80 Stat. 927 (16 U.S.C. 668dd) (5 U.S.C. 685, 752, 690d); 16 
    U.S.C. 715s).
    
    Subpart D--Disturbing Violations: With Weapons
    
    2. Amend Sec.  27.42 by adding a new paragraph (e) to read as 
    follows:
    
    
    Sec.  27.42  Firearms.
    
    * * * * *
    (e) Persons may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, 
    and operable firearms within a national wildlife refuge in the same 
    manner, and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, 
    carry, and transport concealed, loaded and operable firearms in any 
    state wildlife refuge, or any similar unit of state land, in the state 
    in which the national wildlife refuge, or that portion thereof, is 
    located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting 
    otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law.
    
    
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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