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NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks


The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees opposes a change in gun laws in the national park system.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees sees no need to change gun laws in the national parks, saying that allowing the public to carry weapons in the parks could jeopardize the safety of visitors.

Last month, you might recall, the Traveler pointed to an effort by nearly half the U.S. Senate to allow concealed weapons to be carried in the parks. Current Park Service policy allows permitted weapons to be transported through the parks, but they must be unloaded and stored so as they're not readily accessible.

Forty-seven senators, led by Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, don't think that's good enough. He says varying gun laws on federal lands can be confusing to gun holders. (The New York Times pointed out, though, that if gun holders are confused, perhaps they shouldn't be permitted to carry guns.)

In a letter to Representative Nick Rahall, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, the coalition asked that if legislation proposing a change in the current regulations reaches his committee, that it not gain favorable consideration.

We believe that to change these regulations so that visitors might wear or keep firearms close at hand in national parks - guided by differing state laws -could significantly increase the danger to visitors in national parks. Equally worrisome is that such a practice would almost certainly put wildlife in many parks at greater risk, wrote the coalition. Poaching would become easier. And visitors who believe that carrying a firearm provides them with extra “security” and the authority to shoot animals would be far more likely to use deadly force whenever they feel the slightest threat. Information gathered by State and Federal wildlife management organizations throughout the country overwhelmingly indicates that both people and wildlife are safer when guns are not the first choice when people feel threatened.


I definitely agree with the Coalition that the current gun regulations should not be changed. I feel safer when I visit a National Park knowing that some fool is not carrying a gun that could endanger my life or anyone else's life. And just as important, wildlife is safer and can do there own thing in their habitat, not the humans habitat. Please do not change this law!!!!!!!

If the New York Times is so smart (and all of us "hick" gun owners are so dumb) then why don't they show a nice uniform website, flyer, or periodical that displays what the differing state laws are for carrying a concealed weapon? The only sites I'm aware of are privately run and have a disclaimer about them not being responsible if their information isn't correct. Show me their "data" that says that those who posses a concealed carry permit will lower the safety in ANY situation.

The tax code is confusing to most, should we stop paying taxes?
sounds good to me.

We have the same discussion every time this issue comes up. I will repeat myself only because I'm hoping I will eventually reach someone who has not thought this through to the logical conclusion. I am continually amazed by the naivety of informed, intelligent Americans. Mr. Anonymous "feels safer" knowing that "some fool" is not carrying a gun in a National Park. How does he know this? Wait, I know; because it's ILLEGAL!! Naturally he knows that EVERYBODY obeys ALL laws and regulations. He knows that nobody ever rapes, robs, mugs, poaches, kills, uses drugs, etc. simply because it's ILLEGAL to do so!! Please think this through Mr. Anonymous. Laws are for the law-abiding, not criminals.

FYI, I am not "some fool". I have received many hours of expensive training, and numerous background checks so that I can carry a gun for my families' protection. I only hope that I never need to use it.

Yes, freak out, gun fans. Use LOTS OF CAPS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

That way EVERYONE will SEE that you are TOTALLY CALM AND REASONABLE!!! And that you should be TRUSTED to CARRY YOUR GUNS around YELLOWSTONE, in case YOGI TRIES ANYTHING!!!!!!!

Right now it's legal to keep your precious guns in the trunk of your car while you're in a National Park. Is that just NOT CLOSE ENOUGH? When the terrorists attack your campsite you could still make a HEROIC DASH to the motorized arms cache and BE A HERO!!!!!

You silly goobers, when armed, pose a much bigger safety threat than the boogeymen in your own heads. Allowing guns in National Parks would undeniably make the Parks more dangerous. That's what the people who have worked at our Parks are saying, and they're right.

You have the right to protect your homes armed to the teeth. So stay at home where it's safe. Anyone can decide to cross that double yellow line at anytime and take out your entire family packed into the station wagon -- so do we need anti-SUV devices to protect ourselves from a possible lane-changer? The list of silly protections we could carry around with ourselves could be endless. It's a dangerous world with inherent risk and the odds are in your favor to make it through unscathed.

Well, I'm not going to get into the gun debate itself, but this part of the quoted portion of the original post intrigued me:

Information gathered by State and Federal wildlife management organizations throughout the country overwhelmingly indicates that both people and wildlife are safer when guns are not the first choice when people feel threatened.

One thing the parks should teach us is how to respect and honor nature. Everywhere there are "do not feed the animals" and "don't pollute the water" signs. Taunting and harrassing wildlife is illegal and discouraged, as is collecting of plants, fossils, etc. A well-run park reminds all visitors how much better nature is when man isn't mucking around with it.

What does this have to do with guns?

Well, if guns give the public a greater sense of security around wild animals, then people are not going to do what they should do when in the parks: leave wildlife alone!

On a recent trip to Yosemite, I entered a part of the valley with a big warning about mountain lion country. So, I was very careful and followed their recommendations. Same thing with bear country in Alaska. You give these animals a wide berth, and if you stumble across one, back off and give them the right of way, etc. People follow these rules not only because they should, but because fear drives them to do so! I know it did for me ...

If people had guns in the parks, that "fear factor" would go away, and people would stomp around, unafraid, and venture more into wild animal territory, something not only dangerous but also harmful to those animals. They need to have their own, unspoiled hunting grounds.

Wildlife in the parks are not to be hunted, nor are they to be trifled with. Allowing firearms would do both.

Let's remember what the purpose of the parks really is. That applies to guns, or motorcycles, or ATVs, or whatever.

Sensible response, however, Yosemite has it's own jail because the crime rate is so high. I'm in favor of packing a gun not for animal, but for human predators. On the back roads of Death Valley and Big Bend, you won't see a ranger for weeks. I might carry a gun and if so it would be loaded. What are you going to do with an empty gun?

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