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Perhaps prompted into action by the Coburn Amendment(legalizing gun carry in National parks if legal under state law), State officials across the United States, apparently feeling the same way about gun carry rights as Ranger Emerich, have been identifying and repealing state laws restricting gun carry in state and federal parks and forests. This process sometimes takes place via notice and comment rulemaking by state agencies, or legislative action by state legislatures.
The one outlier appears to be Maine, where the legislature voted to ban open carry in Acadia National Park. But according to the National Parks Traveler, the Maine effort was sharply scaled back fromits initial goal toban on all gun carry "in Acadia, along the Appalachian Trail, and at St. Croix Island International Historic Site," to merely banning open carry in Acadia National Park.
Maine Open Carry Association Founder, Shane Belanger, sees the glass as 5/6's full. "We can still carry in all three of these locations which anti-gun rights forces tried to make into victim disarmament zones," he explained.
Belanger, a math minded, pre-med student at the University of Southern Maine, thinks of gun rights policy matters in two dimensions as a matrix of locations to carry multiplied by the two ways to carry a handgun, open or concealed. Belanger reasons that the bill originally would have banned both concealed and open carry in 3 locations, hence 6 right to carry options would have been criminalized. But in the end, only 1 of the 6 options was taken away from Maine citizens and visitors - and that was open carry in Acadia National park, effective July 12, 2010.
But are gun owners happy with this result? Apparently not.
Mr. Belanger is organizing an open carry picnic in Acadia National Park on Sunday, July 11th, and expects to have one of Maine's pro-gun legislators attend and speak at the picnic to help energize an effort to re-legalize open carry in Acadia National Park next year. "We'll be back," said Bellanger.