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U.S. Senator To Make Bid to Allow National Park Visitors to Carry Guns


U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn wants to make it OK to carry guns in the national parks.

Why would a doctor be determined to provide more access to guns in the country?

U.S. Senator Thomas Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, will try to do that by introducing an amendment that would bar the Interior secretary from enforcing the current ban on carrying weapons in the parks.

The attempt by Sen. Coburn, who specializes in family medicine and "has personally delivered more than 4,000 babies," has drawn the attention of the Association of National Park Rangers, the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Sen. Coburn's effort, which you can find attached below, would prohibit the Interior secretary from enforcing regulations currently in place that require gun owners to have their guns unloaded and stored while visiting most units of the park system.

In a letter sent to other senators, (and also attached below) the three groups say Sen. Coburn's amendment not only could lead to an increase in poaching in the parks but also impact the safe atmosphere that currently exists.

Senator Coburn’s amendment could dramatically degrade the experience of park visitors and put their safety at risk if units of the National Park System were compelled to follow state gun laws. For example, since Wyoming has limited gun restrictions, visitors could see persons with semi-automatic weapons attending campground programs, hiking down park trails or picnicking along park shorelines at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Moreover, many rangers can recite stories about incidents where the risk to other visitors – as well as to the ranger – would have been exacerbated if a gun had been readily-accessible. This amendment would compromise the safe atmosphere that is valued by Americans and expected by international tourists traveling to the United States.

There is simply no legitimate or substantive reason for a thoughtful sportsman or gun owner to carry a loaded gun in a national park unless that park permits hunting. The requirement that guns in parks are unloaded and put away is a reasonable and limited restriction to facilitate legitimate purposes—the protection of precious park resources and safety of visitors.

You can contact Sen. Coburn via this site to let him know what you think of his plans.


I hope Coburn is able to get this done. I live in an area surrounded by National Parks and it in inconvenient and I think dangerous to the citizenry to ban firearms. As shown by the fact that state concealed carry laws have not resulted in mayhem as the Fraternal Order of Police and other anti-gun groups warned, the law abiding public can be trusted. Laws against guns should only be aimed at criminals and criminal behavior.

For those who only stop at park visitor centers or for lunch at a roadside picnic area, guns may have little or no utility. For those who enjoy hiking or camping, particularly in the more remote areas of parks, a gun might provide welcome protection from predators of both the two- and four-legged variety.

You're right. It's absolutely insane to carry a firearm miles from civilization. The mountain lions won't hurt you. Unless they do.

You would think these people would learn from all the tragedies that are caused by guns.

Tragedies are not caused by guns. If you want to stop violence in this country banning guns won't do that, but changing the way we interact with each other will. As far as carrying weapons in a National Park goes, the vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens who only want to protect themselves. Do you really think that gangbangers are going to unload their pistols and lock them up at the entrance to Yosemite?

My views haven't changed on this issue. Read my other posts. I am NOT an arsonist. But I do carry matches. Do you want to ban those too? Legal gun-owners don't poach nor do they indiscriminately shoot at anything they see. You're thinking of those irresponsible people who ignore laws and regulations anyway.

Comparing matches to guns is the most asinine statement I think I've ever read. Matches have several uses -- guns have 1 use: to kill. That is what they were created for. The point isn't for "irresponsible people" who would ignore laws anyway; the point is that even in the hands of law-abiding citizens, people end up dying from senseless gun violence. Personally I would NOT feel safer in a national park knowing that there are other people who have the "right" to carry guns legally in the parks. This is why I don't backpack in national forests -- where idiot hunters who might mistake me for a bear, squirrel or elk (yes, it happens a lot), and who hang out at night around a campfire drinking beer and taking pot shots might mistakenly put a bullet in my back. Sure, I know that non-law abiding citizens are right now roaming the national parks with guns, poaching animals and maybe even using their guns against people. But I still feel safer knowing the number of guns is a lot less in a national park than it is even walking down a street in Anytown, USA. How many more senseless deaths from gun violence do we need?

"In a park, one should not have to worry about if the person down the trail or across the parking area is toting a fully loaded, semi-automatic pistol. "

No, you just have to worry about the person you meet on the trail bashing your head in like those poor people in NC and GA.

"the point is that even in the hands of law-abiding citizens, people end up dying from senseless gun violence.

Source, please.

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