Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009: In early December, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced the final amended version of a change to rules on carrying firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The change will restore the right of law-abiding gun owners to transport and carry concealed firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, according to the laws of the states in which these public lands are located.
The new rule, which takes effect today, allows Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges in states that recognize their permits. The new rule will also put an end to the patchwork of regulations that governed different lands managed by different federal agencies. In the past, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while lands managed by DOI did not.
The change was obviously necessary, given the passage of Right-to-Carry laws in so many states over the past two decades. As expected, of course, anti-gun activists are adamantly opposed to the new rule, and are already seeking to block the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families while on DOI lands.
Not surprisingly, the first to jump on the "banned" wagon was the anti-gun Brady Campaign, in a lawsuit filed against the DOI in federal court, seeking to have the new rule struck down. The National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees have also filed a similar suit.
Brady contends that people have a right to visit parks without fear of permit-holders carrying guns. The contention is ludicrous, of course, since to get to a park requires people to travel through places where permit-holders abound, without posing any threat whatsoever.
Using the same hyperbolic rhetoric and fear-mongering claims that are the mainstay of their anti-Right-to-Carry crusades, the Brady Campaign alleges that Right-to-Carry equals danger and violence, when countless studies and reams of data have repeatedly and consistently proved otherwise. Remember, the new rule will extend only to law-abiding citizens who have met the strict safety and background check requirements necessary to acquire a carry permit, and who are legally allowed to carry in the state in which the park is located.
Rest assured that NRA will do everything within its power to keep this important change on the books.
Copyright 2009, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.
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