You are here

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.


Confession time: Although I have said that I've carried in a Park, I actually have not. But I have made the deliberate decision that I WOULD carry the next time I visited a Park. Sorta the same thing, I guess. That's why I feel so strongly about changing these rules. Consciously disobeying the law is morally objectionable to me in many ways. But I will NOT go in to the wilderness defenseless.


Is this the kind of fact checking you did as a reporter? The Violence Policy Center is a left-wing anti-gun group with a long history of deception. They specialize in half-truths and twisting statistics, for instance, their report on Texas CHL holders, "License to Kill IV", states the number of CHL holders "arrested" without providing the context of what percent of total CHL holders that number represents. It provides no numbers on "convictions" or what percent of total arrests those convictions represent. They fail to inform their audience that it is standard procedure in many jurisdictions to place the CHL holder under arrest pending the outcome of an investigation into the use of his firearm. They also fail to state that many of the arrests represent minor offenses such as accidentally displaying or carrying a concealed weapon into a restricted zone. Only about 26 percent of CHL holders who are arrested for violent crimes, and go to trial, are later convicted.

Here are the facts:

"... an analysis of arrest data for Texas concealed handgun licensees that was performed on data from the subsequent years of 1996 - 2000. A comparison was made with the arrest data for the entire Texas population for the same time period, showing that, on average: male Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than male Texans with a CHL; and female Texans who are over 21 years old and are not CHL holders are 7.5 times more likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime than female Texans with a CHL. Of the violent crime cases that have been adjudicated, approximately 26% of CHL holders who were arrested were convicted ..."

"The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 7.7 times more likely to be arrested for the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery, and assault than the average male CHL holder."

"Looking at violent crimes individually, the average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 1.7 times (rate of 7.4 v. 4.3) more likely to be arrested for murder; 87 times (rate of 24 v. 0.3) more likely to be arrested for rape; 53 times (rate of 44 v. 0.8) more likely to be arrested for robbery; 3.4 times (rate of 202 v. 60) more likely to be arrested for aggravated assault; and 10 times (rate of 892 v. 87) more likely to be arrested for other assaults than the average male CHL holder."

"No male Texas CHL holder was arrested for negligent manslaughter during the 1996 through 2000 period."

"The average male Texan who is 21 years or older is 18 times more likely to be arrested for committing a non-violent crime than the average male CHL holder."

If the anti-gun side of the argument is so compelling why must they constantly stoop to half-truths, misdirection and fraud?

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

Who cares? The NRA is an organization which seeks to protect and insure the publics rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. They have every right, some might argue an obligation, to promote the interests of their constituency. The ACLU does the same thing, claiming an interest in protecting the First Amendment. The NRA, at least, has the distinction of not having been founded by an avowed communist.

As for Congressman Raul Grijalv, as a former member of La MEChA, an organization whose motto is, "For the race everything. For those outside the race nothing", he is an anti-American racist and any accusations he makes must be weighed in that context.

It is perverse to focus so much concern on the harmful potential of people who have undergone criminal background checks and, in most cases, safety and proficiency training. Every legitimate study reveals the legal gun owner to be far less likely to commit a crime of any kind.

Let Mr. Grijalv show us that he can first disarm the criminal gangs, like MS-13, which infest our cities and his former radical friends before we turn our attention to law abiding citizens.

OK, I'll try to ignore the fact that you have to start your argument with an insult.

But as the saying goes, "figures don't lie, but liars figure." In other words, anyone can find statistics to back up their argument. And the fact that your set of facts comes from the Texas Concealed Handgun Instructors Association does not give them any more credibility than you place in the Violence Policy Center.

Aw, Fred!!! After I was decent enough to throw accolades your direction for being honest enough to fess up to the criminal activity that you openly professed, you go and do the proverbial 180 on us!

And Rick, as I too have stated in prior opinions, it's just a shame that people's thoughts of self-defense in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives, and investigation of newer technologies that put the 17th Century weaponry to shame. How nice it would be for a little intellect to go along with the claims of "I demand my God given rights", instead of taking the easy way out by placing all your testosterone in one basket of alternatives. All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious when the methods of such aren't investigated, and alternative methods and options beyond firearms fully considered as viable. What we're trying desperately to avoid is the "My gun's bigger than your gun" syndrome, or the inevitable "My gang's better outfitted than your gang", which the law-abiding citizens of this country lived through once already.

Is it really too much to ask for one to step back and exhibit a bit of sensibility and reasoning before one decides on "the proper course of action"? And why are you always hiding behind the NRA-propped up mantle of people taking away your "rights"? I've never seen that sentiment expressed in any of these alleged discussions? Just who's putting out the fire with gasoline here?

Sorry Lone Hiker. I hate to let you down but I read this piece online the other day and felt compelled to confess. It's one thing to make a decision, and another thing altogether to carry it out. I honestly do hope that the proposed rule change goes through. Otherwise I will be a lawbreaker the next time I visit a Park in a CCW permitted state (the only kind I will visit).

Read this piece written by the Texas State Land Commisioner that appeared in the online San Antonio news:

If there is a bigger whacko than Jerry Patterson, I don't know who it is.

Rick Smith

Kur says,

> 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.

Naahhh, Kurt, I'm not glossing over anything. What I do is simply exercise common sense self-defense. As Fred notes, this is not a law it's a {questionably legal] regulation. I'll pay the fine when I call the park rangers to come after I've defended myself against a criminal attack. Let them eat the public relations fodder. Until then no one will have an reason to know if I'm carrying a firearm. When the park service provides me with personal protection I'll leave my gun in the car. Until then any claim on their part that I'm safe is just a bunch of indefensible baloney. To recap: they are law enforcement. That means they come when your already a victim. Court cases have proven these folks have no obligation to provide for your defense. I'll hire Karen Taylor-Goodrich to be my mouthpiece.

Kurt, you persist in quoting loony groups like the Violence Policy Center who are masters at lying with figures, as Art mentioned above. These gun haters are the same ones always yapping about "children" being killed by handguns. Have you ever looked into the firearm accidental death rate statistics for honest-to-God children under the age of 15? Or revisited those data I provided? I'll let you do the work this time. As for those 19 year old "children" you mention, the 19-25 age group is responsible for most of the crimes committed in this country. Hint: it's an urban demographic. They don't have concealed carry permits. I gave Lyle Laverty as much official concealed carry permit revocation statistics as I could find as well as data from John Lott. We're not among those statistics.

Jerry Patterson is exactly correct in what he says and has done. I'm also responsible for getting the ball rolling on eliminating a similar bureaucratic preemption of my rights here in PA. I proved the department that regulates state parks has violated the law by preventing concealed carry permit holders from possessing their firearms while beyond their campsites. Our State House approved the bill and now it goes to the Senate where it will most likely pass.

I think the anti gun folks here are the ones glossing over the true issue. Prove that concealed carry permit holders have committed a crime other than a bureaucratic infraction. Prove they'll be a threat to you ore somehow ruin you park "experience."

I promised I wouldn't use NRA statistics but you still need to drag the Brady Bunch and the VPC crazies into the discussion. Stick to the facts from the government and law enforcement. Prove that permit holders are a threat. Give me numbers. And not from gun hater groups. We have 40 states that have proven my case. I don't know what hat you're pulling your mythical claims from.

Ya' know what's delightfully ironic about all of this gun control stuff? It's racist. Do a bit more reading: "The Racist Roots of Gun Control" by Clayton Cramer. Soon this type of discussion will all be moot because the Supreme Court will finally affirm the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and that will send the gun haters scrambling like vampires from daylight. And, yes, essentially, that does include automatic firearms like a SAW and M-16 since these are arms an infantryman or citizen militiaman would typically carry into battle. Even Laurence Tribe and Allan Dershowitz finally had the intellectual honesty to admit the Second was an individual right. Only the desperate and disingenuous continue to cling to the mythical "states right" concept.

Don't worry, though, the only folks you'll see in your sacred national parks with AR-15s will continue to be the drug smugglers and pot growers. Interestingly, Lyle Laverty asked me to speculate if I thought someone in a park carrying a shotgun concealed under a long coat would be permissible under our proposal. I told him it's illegal.

Lone Hiker is definitely living in la-la land by continuing to believe that being a nice person will magically dissuade a criminal from their intended goal. And still going on with the "macho" and "testerone" insults." How childish. "All these shouts of self-defense are becoming rather tedious," he says. I say all the bleating about surrendering my rights has long ago become tedious. Because people like him just don't like guns is an asinine reason for me to surrender my natural and Constitutionally guaranteed right to self defense. It's a shame criminals can't come to an agreement with Lone Hiker.

How about this, Lone Hiker? "It's just a shame that criminal's thoughts of asset reallocation and self-gratification in general begin and end without consideration of other alternatives." Why don't you guys try that approach to this discussion instead of whining about citizens lawfully exercising their rights without any being able to prove any impact on your life whatsoever.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide