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Trigger-happy Man Shoots Another Rustling in the Brush


A trigger-happy camper, possibly fueled by alcohol, shot another man in an Oregon campground after hearing rustling in the brush. The incident, while not occurring in a national park setting, could fuel arguments of those opposed to the legalization of carrying concealed weapons in national parks.

According to an article in the Daily Astorian, the incident occurred Monday afternoon at the Spruce Run Campground along the Nehalem River in Oregon's Clatsop County. The shooting occurred when one man in a group of people, who were said to be drinking heavily, fired a number of shots from a 22-caliber rifle into the woods after hearing some rustling.

Five of the shots struck a 22-year-old man, who was taken to a Portland-area hospital where he remained in an induced coma.

The shooter was arraigned on one count of second-degree assault.


Kurt, you're going to take a lot of heat here for this one! I really don't see this being very apropos to the guns-in-parks debate, but I'll let the masses decide that.

What this does reinforce for me, is how dangerous alcohol is. Guns, rattlesnakes, bison, vehicles, and cliffs aren't really all that threatening to a sober and sane human being. But all of the above turn deadly when mixed with alcohol - or other mind-altering substances. I'd be happy to see possession or consumption of alcohol banned in the parks before guns. A campsite full of guns doesn't scare me nearly as much as a campsite full of empty bottles.

But I'm a vehement teetotaler, so take my opinion with a grain of salt - or a shot of tequila...your choice.

-Kirby.....Lansing, MI

Kurt, you didn't give us the whole story. The shooter "had five previous alcohol-related convictions." I don't know if this person would be able to get a concealed weapon permit under Oregon state law. Doubtful. At any rate, one does not need a concealed weapon permit for a rifle. This is not an argument for keeping law abiding citizens (those without multiple alcohol-related convictions) from legally carrying arms.

No doubt, there are individuals & organization who will try to use incidents like this to argue against firearms, period. As noted, it's not directly germane to whether the firearms are being packed within the National Parks (though of course that won't stop some from trying to connect them).

To have an armed citizenry is obviously not cost-free. There are risks & an ongoing price involved. Some people see & embrace the rational for providing a right to arms, and some deny it's valid.

In the case of the ban on firearms in the National Parks, that was a mistake in the first place. There is no basis to exempt Parks from the right to bear arms, whether we approve of the right itself or not. The right is there, and the argument that guns "aren't needed" in Parks is what is legally known as "specious".

The more meaningful & determinative question is, what happens in the Presidential and other ballots a few weeks from now? The election of McCain & Palin will generally solidify & promote firearms rights, while a victory for Obama & Biden would be less favorable for weapons.

Personally, I expect the new Conceal Carry rule-change in the National Parks will gradually morph into an increasingly needed selective hunting system in the Parks.

Not all campgrounds are created equal. I've stayed at a lot of campgrounds and I've found the vast majority of those inside the parks to be pretty quiet and civilized. On the other hand, I can only describe a significant percentage of grounds outside the parks as wretched hives of scum and villainy.

-Kirby.....Lansing, MI

This has more to do with irresponsible drinking than with guns.


I'm truly sorry to hear you've had such experiences with non-NPS campgrounds. I must say that in 30+ plus years of camping in mostly privately-owned campgrounds, I've had no more trouble than rowdies hooting and hollering late at night. I also have found that NPS units are virtually the same, with the exception that Park Rangers on the grounds generally keep the rowdies quiet due to their meer presence alone. I even recall doing some hooting of my own while in my 20's....

I've generaly found the camping/RVing folks to be some of the nicest, friendliest and helpful people you would ever want to meet. I've fostered many new long-lasting friendships over the years through meetings in these parks.

I have, however, seen the villainous types that you describe in my stays in hotels/motels, hence my gravitating to the campgrounds.

As to the firearms issue, doesn't each state regulate when/where/how you can carry? I know in VA that a CC permit does not apply to neighboring states, and there are limitations as to where you can carry. (IE: Not allowed in bars, concert halls, etc., which I totally agree with).

Does the NPS have the sovereign ability to deny residents of the same State that a park unit is in the right to carry? I ask this in all seriousness, as I have no idea, and cannot find the answer in the previous threads on a quick search.

I have, however, seen the villainous types that you describe

Indeed, I exaggerated for the purpose of using a quote from Star Wars. I also think I have less tolerance for general rowdiness than the average person. Further, I can definitely draw a map with contour lines representing camping civility. Some areas we've been, the camping crowds are the nicest and least rowdy you can find. Other places, we'll know pulling up to the campground that it's going to be a long night. We've gotten in the habit of using KOA's if backcountry isn't an option. The family atmosphere of the KOA's seems to eliminate the domestic disputes erupting at 3am and the impromptu dirt bike races we've run into at some private joints. You pay more for it, but you sleep better.

I don't think I've ever found anything but the personable, friendly, helpful folks you speak of in the NPS sites. I've always attributed that to having shared interests with these folks. My wife and I don't drink, don't like loud vehicles, don't own a TV, don't hunt, don't fish, and don't have kids. That seems to put us at odds with how most of the folks enjoy the Interstate campgrounds. (And we're 35 and 27....imagine how boring we'll be 30 years from now!) In the parks, I always seem to run into retired folks on cross-country bird watching excursions (as happened in Teddy Roosevelt this summer) or something like that to make it a pleasant experience. I've never felt nervous or unsafe in a park, but definitely have when camping other places.

As for hotels, I can't argue with you. The expense of hotels repels us more than the clientele, though. A bed isn't worth $80 a night.

-Kirby.....Lansing, MI

Look at it this way. A rowdy drunk man can do more damage with a gun than a rowdy drunk man throwing beer cans at a bush.

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