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Comment Period Reopens on Whether National Park Visitors Can Arm Themselves


The comment period regarding a proposal to allow national park visitors to carry concealed weapons has been reopened.

Starting today and running through August 8 you can post your thoughts on this proposal at this site.

The comment period originally was to close on June 30, but requests from groups such as the National Parks Conservation Association and members of Congress convinced Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to extend the period another 30 days.


I'm a Second Amendment advocate, but carrying firearms in our National Parks would just lead to easier poaching, unnecessary killing of wildlife by anyone who feels even remotely threatened, and an increase in opportunistic crime by people who can now legally carry a gun in secluded places where young people, families, and women are hiking alone. I understand the degree of protection that a firearm can provide, against both natural and human predators, but most of this risk can be eliminated by doing things such as making noise, hiking with a friend, taking proper precautions when storing food, etc. Also, many people will feel threatened coming across someone carrying a weapon while they are out hiking in the middle of nowhere with their families. I love our National Parks, and I want everyone else to as well, regardless of how they feel about me owning a gun.

All of this aside, there is virtually no reason to carry a weapon in a National Park in the first place. I have hiked in about 8 National Parks in Arizona, Utah, and up here in Alaska in the last year alone. This includes about a dozen back-country hikes in Denali National Park, which is definitely grizzly bear country. I have never felt like I needed a firearm to keep myself safe. I'm sure anyone can point out an incident where a hiker could have avoided injury if they only had a firearm, but these instances are very rare. The potential benefits simply do not outweigh the potential costs. I know Americans are polarized on the gun control issue, but I urge fellow Second Amendment advocates to exercise restraint and use common sense, instead of just looking at this issue as another potential political victory. Besides, your little 9mm is just going to make that charging grizzly bear angrier....

If the only things dangerous in National Parks were animals, I would be the first to agree that there is no need for guns. I don't feel that poaching would increase. People will still poach whether or not they are allowed to carry guns legally. In all, there will not be a noticeable difference on daily life in National Parks if guns are allowed in. A concealed carry license from the home state might be nice to require. We are all smart people; let’s figure out how to make it work without many layers of government bureaucracy.

I go to National Parks to view and enjoy our nation's great outdoor heritage. I am not a gun owner and never have been. I do not want to feel the need to purchase a weapon just so I can visit our great nation's natural resources.

Basically I agree with commenter Sully above.

We definitely should have the right to carry firearms in national parks, and anywhere else that we travel so that we may protect ourselves and our families. I live in Indiana and am licensed to carry a firearm, however, i never abuse that privelage.

Yesterday the Fairbanks, Alaska newpaper reported that a National Park Service researcher who was working in the backcountry of Denali, shot a black bear that was threatening the camp. He used a shotgun which he had special permission to carry. Kurt could post the link to the article.

It is time for American citizens to grow up and stop hiding behind weapons, the historical fiction of the gun toting wild west mountain man myth promulgated by hollywood, the news media and our federal governments fear based policies has gone on long enough, IMHO.

Yes, it should be legal for persons with legally registered and permitted firearms to carry them in our National Parks for the perpose of self preservation. Why not, those who carry guns illegaly and with intent to harm others surely do. Laws are already in place to protect the wildlife, those who break them now will continue to do so. Lets give the law abiding citizens of this country the chance to defend themselves when the need arises.

I am a Marine, lisenced concealed weapons permit holder, and a senior citizen. I fully defend our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I am a sportsman also and truly fear only one thing. The person who illegaly carries a wepon, and will continue to do so regardless of the law, with the intent to do physical or mental harm to his fellow beings. I see no reason why a leagly licensed citizen of the United States of america should not be able to carry Arms, concealed or in plain view, anywhere in this Country.

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