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Senators Pushing To Allow Concealed Weapons in National Parks


Should national park visitors be allowed to carry concealed weapons?

There's a move under way in the U.S. Senate to have Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne reverse the National Park Service's ban against the public carrying concealed weapons in the national parks.

This is a highly charged issue, as long-time readers of the Traveler well know. The latest push is being led by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican. Mr. Crapo says the Park Service's ban needs to be overturned in part because different land-management agencies have different rules on concealed carry and that can be confusing to gun owners. The senator also claims the prohibition infringes gun owners' rights.

In a somewhat related matter, Texas officials who want to sell the Christmas Mountains, a nearly 9,300-acre range near Big Bend National Park, are resistant to selling the land to the Park Service because of its ban on weapons.


I am a licensed Florida gun owner. There is no facility for checking my weapon when entering a local National Park. My choice is leaving the weapon at home (not an option) or locking it in my car. Another poor choice.

What part of "NO" don't you understand, Senator? This policy is only confusing to the lower intellects on the evolutionary scale. Your freedom and your "rights" ends the minute my freedom to my family's safety is threatened, whether that threat is real, or just "an accident waiting to happen". I know, you're just carrying your gun to protect you from the big bad bears and mountain lions, right? Maybe my cross-bow would be a welcomed visitor too. What the hell, why stop at guns? How 'bout we bring in some grenades and a laser range finder too! Bet those mean old cougars wouldn't stand a chance against that arsenal.

This is a classic example of what happens when a politician loses what little brains they had prior to being elected to public office and is then subjected to the influence of the NRA and various other lobbyists.

Bruce, the worst choice of all is taking your weapon into the public arena. Cant' find a secure vault to keep the piece in at home?

It would be nice to live in a Utopian society where all the bad people stay at home and we can count on individuals to live up to the social morals we hold dear to us. That would be beautiful. It would be nice if we could count on everyone to drink responsibly and not get behind a wheel of a car. It would be great if we didn't have to worry about a pervert putting an image of an erection in Disney movie just so he can laugh with his cartoonist buddies. It would be incredible if marijuana was used just for medicinal purposes (maybe we'd stop hearing about how it's better for clothing than cotton....LOL). Ah peace and sounds great. It's also safe to assume that if someone wants to target children they will continually find places where children go (i.e. family vacation areas or maybe even a national park). A lot of people would assume that we have the second amendment so we can protect our homes from intruders but I highly doubt that Thomas Jefferson had a bunch of masked men enter his home looking for new stereos. More than likely, the writer and signers of the declaration intended we had the RIGHT to protect our "pursuit of happiness". At the time this was intended against Tyranny (a government that doesn't fear its people rules its people). Basically we have the right to own any weapon to compete against our own military so that if it were needed we could defend ourselves against our own government. So while it's funny to you that someone would protect their family in the realm of "PUBLIC PROPERTY"...and you use clever remarks about bears and cougars because you have seen then in the wild and feel all warm inside, to me it's a sad state of our government that our 2nd amendment right has been reduced to discussion point of where and when I have the right to have the ultimate ability to level the playing field with any "would-be evil doer". Here's a challenge...find the number of times individuals like Bruce or I (Concealed Carry Permit Holders) have used our weapons to hurt families. Don't be childish. It's time to look at the truth. Good people with guns don't make news. You are a product of modern media. What if you are wrong on guns? What if Bruce or I had our gun in a N.P. and saved you or your family from someone who intended you horrible harm? Should we go to jail? Should we have our gun taken? C'mon don't hide behind what sounds good at a dinner party.

Well, for those of you promoting guns in national parks for safety, here's a tidbit of information for you. Success in using bear spray as a deterrant to attacks from wildlife -- 94%; success in using guns as a deterrant from wildlife attacks: 60%. Any questions?

Further, how many people are threatened by others in National Parks? Not enough, if any, to allow the gunners in. I feel safer WITHOUT the guns thank you.

Can someone produce some hard statistics or a study that can back up Anon's statements? It would be nice to be able to point to something specific instead of making claims without giving the source (no offense).

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Emerson

Perhaps this will cause a boom in the bullet-proof tent industry.

I've spent approaching 500 nights out in wilderness areas throughout the 48 states and a few places in southern Canada. I've never been in a survival situation where a deadly weapon would have been an effective solution to the problem. As far as I can recall, I've never even heard, second-hand from someone who was there, of a situation where a deadly weapon would have been the most effective solution to their predicament.

That doesn't mean such situations might not exist. But by several orders of magnitude, people more often meet unpleasant fates by hypothermia, and then less frequently, by drowning, suffocation, or falls. Attacks by animals and humans are much fewer by comparison. (My unquantified sources are a combination of anecdotal discussions with SAR experts, and frequent review of daily reports from various national parks.)
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Your 2nd Amendment right was originally intended to field a militia to support, as in function as, not supplant the military. When the Bill was written, the newly founded States had no national military, unlike those with whom we were warring such as France and England. We possessed no naval capability either. To "level the playing field" as you say, the government solicited assistance from farmers, businessmen, stable hands, preachers, and whoever else could effective fire a weapon in DEFENSE of the nation as it stood at that time. So your entire tirade, based on the statement "Basically we have the right to own any weapon to compete against our own military so that if it were needed we could defend ourselves against our own government" is completely inaccurate. Typical NRA disinformation, intended solely to cloud the issue and sway the opinion of the ignorant masses by adding the emotionally charged "defending against the government" rhetoric. Unfortunately for that crowd, I've read more than just the opening sentence of the 2nd Amendment, studied US history extensively and have the ability to think for myself, not be easily influenced by the fire and brimstone rants of special interest groups.

Nice try though.

Insofar as my attitude being childish, a more accurate assessment is that of being realistic, unlike the stance which you support. I propose to you that the instant someone discharges a weapon in public they are placing any "civilians" who happen to be in the vicinity at imminent risk. Whether intending or directing personal harm or not, and I have to assume that yours would not be so, is not the issue to debate in the least. Your "logic", if it can be referred to as such, is based on hyperbole and as such is not sufficiently grounded in reality. And for what it's worth, I couldn't possilby be a "product of the modern media", most of whom actually support your side of the issue at hand. I support law enforcement, to whom private citizens carrying concealed weapons , legally or not, are an accident waiting to happen. Consult your local agency before spouting data purporting the success ratio of the number of "bad guys" taken down by private citizens versus the number of accidental deaths (mostly children), crimes of passion by pissed off drunks and other bodily injuries directly attributable to the card carrying (and other) gun owners of our land.

And I'm SO sure that the national parks are teeming with "evil doers" that you have no other recourse but to enter armed to the teeth, right? If you're that much in fear of your life during a walk in the woods, stay home. Or go practice at the gun range. But keep that stupid machine away from the general unsuspecting public.

This is a law that is way past due being changed. Many NPS campgrounds house derelicts who overstay their allowed period and pose a reasonable risk to families. I, as well as many folk I am sure carry anyway to protect our families.
Most rangers wouldn't mind good law-abiding citizens packing anyway, for to possess a concealed-carry permit one has to pass a background check.

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