After posting about the injunction against Bush’s policy of allowing guns in National Parks, I decided to send an email to the National Park Conservation Association, one of the groups that were involved with the lawsuit. Below is the email I sent and the response I received.
I am writing to you concerning your support of U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s decision to block a law that allowed firearms in our National Parks.
It is much to my dismay that the National Parks Conservation Association was involved in this case. Your decision to back such an unconstitutional ruling is appalling. When the Constitution was written, long before there could be a “National Park” the founders of this country expressly wrote that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Banning me, as a law-abiding and licensed firearm owner from entering a National Park is a direct infringement on the Constitution. You say that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry their firearms in our parks will create an unsafe atmosphere, confusion and increased danger for visitors. I completely disagree. While National Parks have historically reported low numbers of violent crime, murders, robberies, sexual assaults and other hideous crimes have happened within the borders. A criminal intent on doing another person harm is not going to follow your “Gun Free” laws anymore than they do when they enter a school or a mall. The only thing this ban does is keep honest, law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves. Less than 2% of gun crimes in this country involve a person licensed to carry a firearm. 100% of all gun crimes involve a criminal that is already disregarding the law, so why do you think a no gun law will make any difference?
I visit National Parks several times a year. I spend countless hours hiking and fishing and have put thousands of dollars into the National Park system through my visits. There are millions of gun owners just like me and I can assure you that I will be visiting and spending my money in State Parks where, here in Pennsylvania, they believe that my right to keep and bear arms shouldn’t be set aside. As I plan family vacations and fishing trips, I will have to take into consideration that the National Parks Conservation Association doesn’t think that I should have the right to protect myself and my family.
I hope that you will reconsider your position on allowing the citizens of this country to continue to enjoy OUR parks and our Constitutional rights.
here is the response I received
Thank you for contacting us. Every comment we receive from our members and activists is valuable and we appreciate your taking the time to share your comments and concerns.
It is our position that the present regulations on guns in national parks are working and that they do not need to be changed. In particular, the proposed new draft regulations would create a bureaucratic nightmare of overlapping, inconsistent rules that would be difficult to enforce. The new regulation would compel the Park Service to let existing state regulations on concealed-carry permits in state parks apply at national parks inside those states.
That’s an ill-conceived rule. Many states don’t have specific regulations. Others allow concealed-carry permits to apply at some parks and not others. Many have reciprocity laws that are completely inconsistent with one another. In fact, the most heavily visited national park in the system (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) lies on the boundary between two such states. We therefore urge the Department of the Interior to reconsider this new rule.
We are not in any sense an anti-gun or an anti-hunting organization. Our sole concern is to make sure that the national parks are protected and properly managed, and the proposed draft rule does not meet that test. Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate the chance to clarify our position on this matter.
So basically, they told me in nice words that they don’t want my guns in their parks. They say the current laws work, but I did a little checking today and found that in 2001 (the most recent stats available) there were more than 4000 crimes in our National Parks. Ten people were murdered, 37 women were forcibly raped, and there were 70 robberies. On top of that, a report from 2004 showed that 111 National Park Law Enforcement officers were assaulted on the job during that year.
Certain National Parks that are near the US-Mexico border are safe havens for illegals and drug runners. So, my question is, what are the current regulations regarding firearms actually doing? They are keeping you and I from protecting ourselves and our families.
When GW initially signed the bill lifting the ban on guns in National Parks, the park service, along with the Brady Bunch complained that there would be an immediate increase in violence in our National Parks. On top of that, there were concerns that bears and other animals would be shot by scared gun nuts. So, a little more searching has turned up this site:
that lists news articles concerning National Parks. I went back to December of 2008 before GW’s bill, and guess what, there hasn’t been a single animal shot by a concealed weapon holder, and the only shooting was by law enforcement in the Shenandoah National Park. Seems a local soldier went nuts, shot a fellow soldier and then got into a gun battle with the LEO.
The point is, in the few short months that we were allowed to carry weapons in the parks, nothing happened. Which is just what all of us who carry guns hope for.
I hope that the Department of the Interior make a decision in favor of our Constitutional rights. A simple solution would be if the government would just pass a national right to carry act and then we wouldn’t have to worry about little things like state borders. Even better, the feds could just recognize the 2nd Amendment as our “national right to carry” and we could forgo the whole mess.
By the way, I also noticed that the National Park Service approved a demonstration by the KKK in the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. They can’t keep the racists and radicals from demonstrating because of the First Amendment, but damn if they care about allowing us our Second.