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Thread: Open Carry in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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    Open Carry in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Hey All,

    Thanks for all the information you guys provide on this site. Here's the question:

    I am a Florida resident with CWP, and I will be traveling to the Maggie Valley area later this month. I see on the site that open carry in Maggie Valley is not a problem, but I was wondering about the Great Smoky Mtn National Park? I know that I can concealed carry while in a national park because of the new law, just curious about open carry there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLsrf View Post
    Hey All,

    Thanks for all the information you guys provide on this site. Here's the question:

    I am a Florida resident with CWP, and I will be traveling to the Maggie Valley area later this month. I see on the site that open carry in Maggie Valley is not a problem, but I was wondering about the Great Smoky Mtn National Park? I know that I can concealed carry while in a national park because of the new law, just curious about open carry there.
    The federal law does not "require" concealed carry, neither does it "allow" open carry.

    It simply allows you to carry according to the laws of the state wherein the National Park resides, unless the state itself bans carry in the National Park (which none do).

    For example, in the Smokies: in NC you can open carry in the park without a permit, or open or conceal carry with a permit. On the TN side, you can do either only with a permit.

    Note that however, federal facilities (buildings) within all the parks are off limits for carry nation wide. They are supposed to be posted, but seems there is not a federal standard sign, or exact location for them.

    - OS
    Last edited by Oh Shoot; 04-11-2011 at 05:30 AM.

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    Here is the smokies site on firearms.

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm

    They do not address OC. I OC'd a bit on trail in Cataloochee, which I recommend visiting if you're in Maggie Valley. But I did not OC in camp or on the road, made it simpler with the wifey. I talked to a volunteer ranger, who was a law enforcement ranger before retiring. We did discuss OC and CC a bit, but that was one person.

    As for signs and buildings, IIRC the building has to house offices or federal employee's. So some of the buildings in the park you can carry in, like the old houses in Cataloochee. But not in any offices. The sign usually looks like this and it's huge.



    And there is a sign requirement.

    (h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e),
    as the case may be.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...0----000-.html


    Enjoy it, it's beautiful up there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post
    ...
    As for signs and buildings, IIRC the building has to house offices or federal employee's. So some of the buildings in the park you can carry in, like the old houses in Cataloochee. But not in any offices. ...
    Fed definition of Federal Facility in 18 U.S.C. 930 : US Code - Section 930:

    (1) The term "Federal facility" means a building or part
    thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal
    employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing
    their official duties.
    -------------------
    Interesting quirk: we have had folks find that both Mammoth Cave and Carlsbad Caverns are posted, period. Apparently since there are "facilities" inside the caves, there's no carry allowed.

    - OS

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    Ok this makes for an interesting question. Say some one is hiking open carrying a person is hurt you have to go into the rangers office to get help. What do you do with your gun? You can not just leave it at the door? Would a person be in danger of being arrested for going in to get help if he was carrying?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fisty View Post
    Ok this makes for an interesting question. Say some one is hiking open carrying a person is hurt you have to go into the rangers office to get help. What do you do with your gun? You can not just leave it at the door? Would a person be in danger of being arrested for going in to get help if he was carrying?
    Well, in the Smokies, if you are hiking you are nowhere near an office. Stand at the door and yell? In reality there are not that many park owned facilities that house employees. A gift shop here and there, and one main office building. I can only think of maybe 4 buildings in the entire GSMNP that should be posted. 2 gift shops, mingus mill (maybe) and the main office/visitor center. I may be missing a couple, it's a big park. Some of the ranger stations double as homes, so your not going in them anyway.

    That's interesting about the caves. I have heard that there is an outdoor amphitheater in Virginia that's posted too. Can't remember the name though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fisty View Post
    Ok this makes for an interesting question. Say some one is hiking open carrying a person is hurt you have to go into the rangers office to get help. What do you do with your gun? You can not just leave it at the door? Would a person be in danger of being arrested for going in to get help if he was carrying?
    I'm far from being a lawyer but your hypothetical brings to mind "the doctrine of competing harms". A good analogy was once given by, of all people, 'Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry' on the old TV show. He was explaining to Opie that if you went by a lake that was posted 'No swimming' and someone was drowning, you would ignore the sign and go rescue the person.

    Having said that, there have been incidents where a rescuer was indeed later cited under such circumstances. I followed one of those via internet a couple years back and of course the judge threw the case out of court, plus he was somewhat stern towards the LEO who'd done the citing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post
    Here is the smokies site on firearms.

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm

    They do not address OC. I OC'd a bit on trail in Cataloochee, which I recommend visiting if you're in Maggie Valley. But I did not OC in camp or on the road, made it simpler with the wifey. I talked to a volunteer ranger, who was a law enforcement ranger before retiring. We did discuss OC and CC a bit, but that was one person.

    As for signs and buildings, IIRC the building has to house offices or federal employee's. So some of the buildings in the park you can carry in, like the old houses in Cataloochee. But not in any offices. The sign usually looks like this and it's huge.



    And there is a sign requirement.

    (h) Notice of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal facility, and notice of subsection (e) shall be posted conspicuously at each public entrance to each Federal court facility, and no person shall be convicted of an offense under subsection (a) or (e) with respect to a Federal facility if such notice is not so posted at such facility, unless such person had actual notice of subsection (a) or (e),
    as the case may be.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18...0----000-.html


    Enjoy it, it's beautiful up there.
    Either the sign's wrong, or the link is, and I'd bet big money on the sign.

    It's subsection (d) that specifies who may carry. Additionally, it's punishable by a fine and/or one year, not five.

    (d) Subsection (a) shall not apply to—
    (1) the lawful performance of official duties by an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof, who is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of any violation of law;
    (2) the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon by a Federal official or a member of the Armed Forces if such possession is authorized by law; or
    (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes.
    Though I doubt very much that self defense legally qualifies as an "other lawful purpose," it does IMO.
    Last edited by sultan62; 04-14-2011 at 05:04 PM.
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    Sultan, surely you are not implying that our Government is incompetent in interpreting it's own laws are you?

    BTW, that catch is priceless!

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    Maybe I'll just have to go roach hunting with a .45 in Federal Buildings?
    "They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band
    It ain't what they call rock and roll
    And the Sultans...
    Yeah the Sultans, they play Creole"

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