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A Piece Of History

St. Mary Ranger Station
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Before the rules changed back in February, this sign let visitors to Glacier National Park know that they couldn't carry firearms in the park. Now it's just one more piece of National Park Service history.

Actually, these are the new signs that just got sent out to every park to put on the outsides of buildings to remind people that while they can now carry in the parks, it is still illegal to bring them into buildings such as visitor centers, ranger stations, museums, etc.

Why do you need to carry in a Park?

Yes, why do you need to carry while in the Park?
The fears that have been accepted by too many people over the past 9 years need to be purged.
Remember: "We have met the enemy and he is us!" Pogo
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself" FDR

People carry inside the parks for the same reason they carry outside the parks, self defense against attack, whether it's human or wild animal. Congress, the President and the Supreme Court all agree. However, everyone has the freedom to make up their own minds, which is why some choose to carry and others not, but one group's position should not be forced on the other. I'm sure we can all survive together, some armed and others not, inside the park just as we do outside the gate.

The locals I had the chance to meet, living around Yellowstone and Glacier, felt some relief that they could use their state-granted privileges legally in the parks. They know that threats don't go away once you cross an imaginary line. They live in Grizzly country and know that wind blowing in their faces or rain will reduce bear spray canisters to the likes of a small club. The visitors I met, however, especially those from New England, were more frightened of the chance of encountering an armed person than the Grizzly and 3 cubs they photographed, approaching and then standing 20' only away. Sure, I would have loved to get a shot of the Griz on Iceberg Lake Trail with my telephoto lens, after climbing the steep grade just to get off the trail, but the darn tourists were in the way.

The No Firearms signs were easy to spot in some areas of the parks I visited, but not in others. It was harder to find the one sign at the Apgar Villiage Visitor Center in Glacier than the many placards placed around the door to the Scuptor's Studio at Mt. Rushmore. There seemed to be no standard to placement. However, I noticed that some non-federal buildings had the same sign posted; it was just a copy of the federal sign with something like Xanterra Properties written on it and taped to the inside of windows at Yellowstone hotels and eateries, but not one was spotted in Glacier. I have a feeling the local management doesn't like guns, and that's OK, but unlike the verbiage on the signs intended for federally manned buildings, those that carry on Xanterra properties aren't breaking a federal law if they carry there. If noticed, they can be asked to leave, and if they don't leave they are breaking Trespassing laws. It's a shame to know that those who carried a firearm in their pocket destined to stay a night at Old Faithful Lodge will let such a sign deceive them, making them leave their firearm in their car where it can be easily stolen, rather than stay safely in their pocket.

I highly agree with corv78, I would much rather have a weapon and not need it, than to need it and not have it. If someone is not comfortable with carrying a weapon then they shouldn't carry one, for me I'd rather have something more than a can of seasoning protecting me from a grizzly. This law was passed for responsible gun owners, this will not increase crime in our great national parks system, this will make it safer.

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