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Congressman Accuses Sec. Kempthorne of Pandering to NRA on Gun Issue


Congressman Raul Grijalva, who heads the House subcommittee on national parks, is accusing Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne of pandering to the National Rifle Association.

In a strongly worded letter to the Interior secretary on his efforts to allow national park visitors to arm themselves, the Democrat from Arizona asserts that the proposal "is not sound policy; it is pandering to an interest group with no interest in National Parks."

In the two-page letter (attached below), Representative Grijalva not only points out misrepresentations in the NRA's push to see concealed carry allowed in national parks and national wildlife refuges but also says the secretary's proposal will not simplify gun laws across the country as he contends but "will destroy uniformity of application and hopelessly muddle visitor understanding of the requirements."

The congressman also maintains the proposal, if adopted, will further undermine the safety of park rangers.

"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd.


Here is some background on (Grijalva). This guy was a member of the group La Mecha which also can be seen as racist. He still refuses to disavow the group. This quote is from La Mechas constitution. "General membership shall consist of any student who accepts, believes and works for the goals and objectives of MEChA, including the liberation of AZTLAN, meaning self-determination of our people in this occupied state and the physical liberation of our land." AZTLAN is the entire Southwest of the USA.

How does he expect to continue to be taken seriously ?


Raul Grijalva: Have FBI probe alleged militia-racist link

Rep.-elect denounces patrols; they call his bigotry charges 'lies'

Tucson Citizen
Dec. 19, 2002

Vigilante group hurting towns' images, business, residents say

Congressman-elect Raúl Grijalva says his first official act will be to ask the FBI to investigate alleged links between civilian militias in southern Arizona and white supremacist groups.

'If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Rep.-elect Raúl Grijalva says at a press conference yesterday in calling for an investigation of citizen patrols, which he says are racist. LUKE TURF/Tucson Citizen

"If you shine the light on the cockroaches, they don't like it," Grijalva said at a press conference yesterday hosted by Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, a group that advocates for illegal immigrants.

"The more we ignore it, the more it's going to fester," said Grijalva, who will be the first representative from the new Congressional District 7, which stretches from Tucson to Yuma.

Grijalva also said he wants a "declarative condemnation" of the militias by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Border Patrol spokesman Ryan Scudder said the militias have the same right to operate and to speak their mind as Derechos Humanos. However, Border Patrol doesn't issue opinions on specific groups.

Grijalva spoke out against the Sierra Vista-based American Border Patrol, Texas-based Ranch Rescue and the Civil Homeland Defense, organized by Tombstone newspaper publisher Chris Simcox.

Grijalva said he believes all three organizations are racist.

A report released yesterday by the Tucson-based Border Action Network alleges that groups such as the American Border Patrol are local fronts for neo-Nazi groups such as the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens.

The report says such groups provided funding to local vigilante groups but no specific amounts are given.

Glenn Spencer of the American Border Patrol said claims that his group is connected to racist organizations are "absolute lies."

Simcox challenged Grijalva to "prove it," and said the congressman-elect should instead investigate "why the borders are wide open."

Simcox said Grijalva is trying to deflect attention from the real issue, which is how illegal immigrants are sticking taxpayers with the bill for emergency health care and other social services.

Ranch Rescue spokesman Jack Foote couldn't be reached for comment.

Ranch Rescue has sent armed patrols onto private property in southern Arizona, and Simcox said his group plans to start patrolling private and public property along the border next month.

The American Border Patrol uses electronic equipment to monitor illegal immigrant traffic along the border. Isabel Garcia of Derechos Humanos said that group may be working with the U.S. Border Patrol because two former U.S. patrol agents now work for the American Border Patrol.

Scudder denied there was a link.

"We don't have anything to do with them," Scudder said. "They're retired agents. They have no access, they have no official connections with the U.S. Border Patrol."

Grijalva said his second priority in Washington will be asking for congressional hearings on border problems that would be held near the border.

Grijalva, a Democrat, toured southern Arizona's border with Mexico earlier this month with three other members of Arizona's congressional delegation: U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl and U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, all Republicans.

Why the concern about citizens that have been issued a "Right to Carry Permit? They are US citizens that have been subjected to a background search that has shown them responsible citizens. The hidden gun in the crowd most likely already exists. The criminal is the problem not the licensed gun owner.

It sounds like the Congressman has a problem with alcohol. Maybe we should start with banning that too. We should make the world as benign as possible right? Let's look at his quote again:

"NPS law enforcement personal will also be put at greater risk. Most of these brave men and women work alone, confronting large crowds where alcohol can be prevalent. Wading into a situation alone to restore and protect park visitors and park resources is daunting under the current rule. The last thing these dedicated public servants need is loaded guns hidden in the crowd."

Why would he single out guns when he clearly painted alcohol with the same broad and dangerous brush? It sounds to me like the Congressman is pandering to the Anti-gun Lobby. Of course he’s not a hypocrite when he says something the moderator of the site agrees with. Maybe we should just ban the large crowds they're confronting. (That would be easy. Just take away the designation of National Park. The same land will be there but people will stop coming in droves.) We all know what it's like when Old Faithful is running late. It's pandemonium everywhere. I bet the rangers are checking their watches and diving for the nearest foxhole.

I’m guessing you have a great chance of losing your life while walking through certain parks with not enough nourishment or water. I’d be willing to bet you are more likely to die while rock climbing or riding your mountain bike on slick rock. What about boating? I hereby call for a look at all activities and ban anything dangerous. Down with hiking, campfires, water skiing, fishing, mountain climbing, alcohol.


Sorry, I don't see the hypocrisy. Alcohol by itself cannot kill an innocent bystander in a crowd.

But really, I think you'd have to agree that wild statements are being made on both sides of this issue. This was in the New York Times today:

“You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park,” the N.R.A.’s chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, said.

I cannot recall the last time a park visitor was attacked outright by an unprovoked wild animal. Yes, there are incidents when grizzlies have attacked visitors, but in every case I can recall it was because the humans wandered into the bear's territory, not a random bear-eats-tourist attack. Would you say these humans need to arm themselves so they can ignore well-accepted practices for protecting yourself in the wilds? And if so, would you agree that that would lead to higher numbers of wildlife killings? And would that be acceptable?

Meth labs in the parks? I don't recall any. I have heard of marijuana farms in Sequoia and Yosemite, but can't recall any stories of visitors "stumbling" upon them.

Rapes in parks. I can't deny that one. Those are truly disturbing incidents that I wish there was an easy solution for. Is carrying a gun the easy solution? If one is confronted in the backcountry by a rapist, who obviously has a plan, how quickly could a potential victim get a gun out of her backpack (after all, we are talking about "concealed" carry)? Wouldn't it be better to travel in groups? To learn self-defense?

What about those who believe the majority of rapes are committed by men who know their victims and so are more likely to catch the women off-guard?

All that said, there are no easy answers to this debate in which hyperbole runs rampant. For every comment that guns are dangerous and there are too many in circulation there is another that more guns equates with more safety in society. I think you'd have to agree that both sides have some merit to their arguments.

To Tom Smith:

because right now if a park ranger finds evidence of poaching on wildlife, in parks where hunting is illegal, a loaded weapon, carried illegally, is significant evidence.

Furthermore, in areas where poaching is known to be high, but difficult to catch the poacher in the act, by enforcing the rules against carrying weapons park rangers significantly reduce the incidence of illegal poaching.

The opportunity to view unhunted wildlife is a major reason many people visit parks. Even parks with comparatively low wildlife populations provide plentiful viewing opportunities because the animals are not as cautious. A significant number of visitors to parks, including significant tourism with significant dollar values to the US economy come to national parks for this experience.

Rules allowing guns would significantly undercut enforcement against poaching, and have a disproportionate impact on the visitor and tourism experience.

This would take an incredibly good lawyer. How would counsel prove to the court that my UN-fired 9mm pistol had been used to poach a full-grown elk ??

When I visit the Parks, no one, including you, or the animals, or the foreign tourists, are going to know that I am carrying a concealed handgun. How on earth is that going to affect their experience?

the anti-gun crowd continues the basic concepts here. We're talking about eliminating the unconstitutional prohibition of a citizen's right to self defense. Regulation 36CFR 2.4 will be amended to assimilate state CONCEALED CARRY laws. Everything else remains status quo.

Any one of you anti-gun people, prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has used their firearm criminally within the national park system. Give me one example. Now prove to me that a citizen with a concealed carry permit has done the same outside the parks. You'll have a hard time. Beyond that anything you say about citizens exercising their Second Amendment right is imagination, supposition and paranoia.

I said this before in another post. You claim there are not many crimes in the parks. My point is if you are one of those lucky victims you will now have the opportunity to defend yourself. That doesn't mean shooting someone. Most times just showing the assailant you have a gun is enough to dissuade them from proceeding. Unless they're intent on cleansing the gene pool. In which case I'd be happy to oblige them.

Stop the baseless speculating and your obsessing about people acting lawfully and focus on the criminals who are the problem. If you have facts put them on the table.


You keep glossing over the fact that CCW permit holders who comment on this forum have already said they've packed in the parks, against the law. That's criminal.

Also, did you overlook this comment I made earlier under another post: August 2000 study by the Violence Policy Center revealed that, from January 1996 through April 2000, the arrest rate for weapon-related offenses among Texas concealed handgun license holders was 66% higher than that of the general adult population of Texas. CCW license holders are committing crimes - including murder, rape, assault and burglary - but because the gun lobby makes it difficult if not impossible for the public to determine if a shooter has a CCW license in most states, the full story has not yet been told.

Also, check out this story: Night of Terror in BWCA. True, the Boundary Waters is not a national park, but I don't think it's too hard to envision a similar scenario if the laws are changed.

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