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Interior Department's New Rule on Firearms Possession in National Parks:

The Department's fairly detailed discussion is here. An excerpt:

[Previous] regulations generally prohibited visitors from possessing an operable and loaded firearm in areas administered by [the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service] unless the firearm is used for lawful hunting activities, target practice in areas designated by special regulations, or other purposes related to the administration of federal lands in Alaska....

[T]he Department's final rule amends the regulations to allow individuals to carry concealed, loaded, and operable firearms in federal park units and refuges to the extent that they could lawfully do so under non-conflicting state law.... [T]o the extent that a state's law recognizes licenses issued by other States, including the applicability of reciprocity agreements, the final rule would similarly recognize such reciprocal authorities.

There are FAQ's here. Some excerpts from that:

Q: Won't visitors and wildlife be endangered by allowing concealed firearms in parks and refuges?

A: No. The final rule continues to maintain existing regulatory provisions that prohibit poaching, unauthorized target shooting, and other illegal use of firearms. Additionally, individuals authorized to carry firearms in a park or refuge will continue to be subject to all other applicable state and federal laws. We have no reason to believe that law-abiding citizens who carry concealed firearms will disregard these prohibitions and use their firearms for illegal purposes. Moreover, the final rule does not affect existing rules limiting the possession of loaded rifles or shotguns.

Q: Aren't parks and refuges already safe places? If so, why allow people to carry concealed firearms?

A: America's national parks and refuges are often safe places to visit, and our law enforcement officials are working to the best of their abilities and resources to maintain visitor safety. However, we also recognize that current statistics show an alarming increase in criminal activity on federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior, especially in areas close to the border and in lands that are not readily accessible by law enforcement authorities. In these circumstances, we do not believe it is appropriate to refuse to recognize state laws simply because a person enters the boundaries of a national park or wildlife refuge, or because there is a lesser chance that a visitor will be harmed or potentially killed by a criminal in a national park unit or wildlife refuge.

Thanks to John Hollingshead for the pointer.

GD:
How much bear protection does a handgun offer?
12.5.2008 5:46pm
notaclue (mail):
Depends on the handgun.
12.5.2008 5:53pm
whit:
.454 casull.

for bear

fwiw, i "have this friend" who is a cop who always carries in Mt. Ranier national park. nice to know the law will now be on his side.
12.5.2008 5:58pm
Ben P:
Hmm, I was never really aware of the previous regulation. A handgun is part of my normal set of camping gear. Although when I go backpacking it's often left behind for weight reasons. I don't often carry it concealed or otherwise, but it's in there along with the machete and the camping axe and various knives.
12.5.2008 6:03pm
Oren:

We have no reason to believe that law-abiding citizens who carry concealed firearms will disregard these prohibitions and use their firearms for illegal purposes.

Judging by the number of shell casings I've found in random places in the wilderness (in large piles, usually directly facing a rock quarry that makes a good backstop -- i.e. definitely some dudes firing at cans and shit), this is absolutely not credible.

Still, the rule is a good one for entirely different reason.
12.5.2008 6:07pm
Gregory Conen (mail):
Oren: Those aren't the "law-abiding citizens", as they are probably already breaking the rules on "unauthorized target shooting", not to mention littering. The people who are most affected by the rules change (those who obey rules) won't add to the problem.
12.5.2008 6:35pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
Unless those "random places in the wilderness" are in "areas administered by [the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service]", your evidence is not on point. There are many "random places in the wilderness" where it is (and has always been) completely lawful to shoot at targets (including National Forest land within 10 miles of where I'm sitting right now).
12.5.2008 6:56pm
Steve:
Well sure, law-abiding citizens always follow the law, if you want to make a circular argument.
12.5.2008 6:56pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Oren: Vandals are not law-abiding citizens. I might add, vandals are not hunters, either. Hunters don't shoot signs..... there is no valid season on "signs," cows, abandoned cars, rock quarries, etc. So if someone is doing that, they cannot be hunters.... they are simply vandals, no matter what they try to tell you as an "excuse."

Oh, was that quarry you speak of in a National Park? If not, it isn't quite the same thing. I guarantee that if anyone fires a shot in a Park, the rangers will be on it in minutes if not seconds. The person pulling that trigger better have a darned good reason for having done so...... life and death had better be in the explanation somewhere :)

Seriously, this is GREAT news. I never thought I would see that day. For me, there is an entirely different reason for liking it. One of the hunt units I like to use is just outside the Grand Canyon National Park. We camp at large in the Kaibab forest to the south. The one thing that isn't easy to find, except in the Park, is water supplies. Hauling a trailer with water in it burns a ton of gas so we try to avoid that. Anyway, if we were to want to go inside the park, we had to leave the firearms off site.

What does that mean? I have to leave them somewhere I am not...... I REALLY don't like doing that. Now I can actually take the rifles with us when we go into the park to shop at the grocery or to get water. Kind of an offbeat reason for appreciating this new rule, but it is a good one in my opinion.

Oh, if you are talking a Park in Alaska, I wouldn't keep anything lighter than a short-barreled 12ga slug gun.... that is what the rangers carry for a darned good reason. The bears there are BIG!
12.5.2008 7:00pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Oh, and Oren..... a rock quarry is a TERRIBLE backstop. Who in their right mind intentionally shoots toward rocks? Yeah, the same ones that shoot at water...... good choice, dudes :)
12.5.2008 7:04pm
ObeliskToucher:
Gregory Conen
Oren: Those aren't the "law-abiding citizens", as they are probably already breaking the rules on "unauthorized target shooting", not to mention littering. The people who are most affected by the rules change (those who obey rules) won't add to the problem.

Not so much littering as creating brass mines for future generations...
12.5.2008 7:05pm
Smokey:
I seem to recall that the Trailside Killer used a handgun in parks to randomly murder people. If he were around today, he might think twice.
12.5.2008 7:09pm
pintler:

How much bear protection does a handgun offer?


With the right ammunition, they can be effective. They have advantages and disadvantages relative to bear spray - for example, bear spray isn't too good if the wind is up or coming from the bear towards you (which is when you are most likely to surprise a bear). Bear spray works better in other situations.

And there are non-bear predators. Mt Rainier NP had, for years, a notice up with a composite sketch of a rapist that liked to wait for lone women a few miles up the trail. The notice was taped to the permanent 'No Firearms' sign at the trailhead. I should have taken a picture.
12.5.2008 7:24pm
PersonFromPorlock:
I seem to recall that the Trailside Killer used a handgun in parks to randomly murder people.

Why, this is terrible! He'd be able to murder people legally, now!
12.5.2008 7:33pm
Brett Bellmore:
Anyone forming a pool to bet on how long this lasts past inauguration day?
12.5.2008 7:35pm
Nate in Alice:
I hope Obama gets rid of it. National park system is fine without guns, as it stands now. No need to throw them into the mix. Common sense, maybe coupled with bear spray, is much more effective against any bear problems.

I might add, the only people killed by a grizzly in ANWR had a handgun with them.
12.5.2008 8:03pm
whit:

I hope Obama gets rid of it. National park system is fine without guns, as it stands now. No need to throw them into the mix. Common sense, maybe coupled with bear spray, is much more effective against any bear problems.

I might add, the only people killed by a grizzly in ANWR had a handgun with them.



first of all, the national park sysztem is not "without guns" prior to this decision. it was without LEGAL guns, apart from the law enforcement overlords who can carry.

banning guns doesn't eliminate guns. it eliminates LEGAL guns.

do you want to make the claim that Washington DC didn't have any guns prior to heller, because they were effectively banned by law?

why should somebody, upon entering a national park give up their means of defending themselves?

this aint about (yer average) bear. it's about self-defense, and that the right to self-defense, and the means to do so, shouldn't be rescinded upon entering a national park, a place where you are often fwiw far from help if something goes wrong.
12.5.2008 8:08pm
Nate in Alice:
Yah yah yah...legal vs. legal guns. I've hiked a hell of a lot and only seen and heard guns in areas where guns can legally be carried. I would venture to guess that national parks, prior to this decision, had very, very few guns. In anycase, I've been woken up to gunfire near my tent before, (yes, legal gunfire) and it's just not pleasant. I hope this rule is reversed, and it seems silly to promulgate it in Dec. 2008.
12.5.2008 8:16pm
Nate in Alice:
You're not giving up your right to self-defense, just the right to carry a gun. If you think you must have a gun in order to be able to defend yourself, fine, I disagree. Moreover, the national park system provides a wilderness generally free from hunting, snowmobiling, guns, and other redneck pastimes. I'd hate to see national parks turn into national forests....where every local Chuck and Dick goes toting around firearms even in the absence of any real need (likelihood of encountering criminal activity that requires a gun for self-defense in Yosemite, say, is miniscule, laughably so).
12.5.2008 8:21pm
whit:

Yah yah yah...legal vs. legal guns. I've hiked a hell of a lot and only seen and heard guns in areas where guns can legally be carried. I would venture to guess that national parks, prior to this decision, had very, very few guns. In anycase, I've been woken up to gunfire near my tent before, (yes, legal gunfire) and it's just not pleasant. I hope this rule is reversed, and it seems silly to promulgate it in Dec. 2008.


you don't see guns that are carried concealed, legal or not.

you have no idea how many guns were in national parks, because you don't see concealed guns.

otoh, you can be confident that prior to this decision, there were practically no LEGAL guns.

you remind me of a seattleite i was speaking to recently, who claimed he loved seattle so much because there were "no guns".

lol.

there are TONS of people walking around seattle with a CCW and a gun, myself included. of course he assumed i wasn't carrying a gun, because he didn't see it.

typical "logic" of anti-gunners.

guns are like abortion. if you don't want one, don't carry/buy one.
12.5.2008 8:22pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
this aint about (yer average) bear. it's about self-defense, and that the right to self-defense, and the means to do so, shouldn't be rescinded upon entering a national park, a place where you are often fwiw far from help if something goes wrong.

I am sick of you paranoid assholes who are so afraid of the world around you that you can leave your house armed to the teeth. If the world is so damn scary stay at home with your guns. I will feel a whole lot safer.

My God, you are pathetic.

[EV: Commenter banned for personal insults and vulgarity; I would have deleted this comment, but others commented on it, so I decided to leave it up. Folks, please respect our comment policies. We're happy to have lots of views represented here, but we want all of them expressed politely.]
12.5.2008 8:25pm
Jack Smith:
The Washington DC area has several "parkways" built along the Potomac River that are officially "national parks" as I understand it. They are certainly patrolled by the Park Police.

In the absence of this rule change, someone with a Virginia CCH permit would have been guilty of a federal crime to drive a quarter mile on, for example, the GW Parkway whilst carrying a concealed handgun. There are other national park enclaves in Northern Virginia that are in highly populated areas, around Arlington for example.

Jack (in Northern Virginia)
12.5.2008 8:27pm
whit:

You're not giving up your right to self-defense, just the right to carry a gun.


which is why i referred to the right TO self ***and*** the means to do so.


If you think you must have a gun in order to be able to defend yourself, fine, I disagree.


it depends on the threat. i don't need a gun to defend myself in most circumstances. and in 20 yrs of carrying concealed, i've never fired it (off-duty), and only had to display it once.

but the issue is that in the situations where the threat is the gravest, is where the deadly force is needed for self-defense. iow, it's exceedingly rare, but also exceedingly negatively impacting - deadly force decisions.


Moreover, the national park system provides a wilderness generally free from hunting, snowmobiling, guns, and other redneck pastimes.


ah yes. the bigotry exudes from your pores.

and guns, carried for self-defense are not a "pastime". they are a tool.


I'd hate to see national parks turn into national forests....where every local Chuck and Dick goes toting around firearms even in the absence of any real need (likelihood of encountering criminal activity that requires a gun for self-defense in Yosemite, say, is miniscule, laughably so).


one needn't display a "need" to exercise a civil right, to include keeping and bearing arms.

similarly, you don't have to demonstrate a "need" to exercise free speech, have an abortion, or be secure in your person from unreasonable searches.

just because the chance of "needing" a firearm for self-defense is swimmingly small, doesn't mean it's a right that should be rescinded. again, when it *is* needed, it is likely a life or death situation. which distinguishes it from most other exercises of a civil right.

it's about choice. you don't want to carry a gun in a national park? feel free not to.

choice. it's what's for dinner
12.5.2008 8:28pm
Nate in Alice:
Oh, don't be so paranoid. The chance you'll NEED a gun is miniscule compared to the chance that some gun-toting law-abiding citizen will hurt someone or something with their legal gun. How about a little cost-benefit analysis, not to mention polling naturalists who actually utilize the national parks, rather than paranoid gun-toters who believe they need their gun to feel safe. (Doubtful these nervous nellies trek too far into the backcountry anyway).

Also, where is the evidence of crime in the backcountry that justifies the need for guns? Funny that it simply doesn't happen. Incredibly, incredibly rare.

The pro-gunners sound incredibly paranoid to me.

Not to mention, serious hikers would consider carrying a gun ridiculous considering the weight-to-utility ratio. Weight would be better spent on an emergency transponder. Guns are like pacifiers--only babies need them in the backcountry.
12.5.2008 8:30pm
whit:

I am sick of you paranoid assholes who are so afraid of the world around you that you can leave your house armed to the teeth. If the world is so damn scary stay at home with your guns. I will feel a whole lot safer.

My God, you are pathetic.



feel the ad hominems. feel the bigotry. ah, the "tolerance" of the left.

fwiw, i'm not afraid to leave my house unarmed. i frequently do. it's about CHOICE, which is what we respect in a free society.

i've carried concealed for 20 yrs. carrying a gun isn't about "fear" any more than refusing a consent search is about hiding criminal activity. it's about exercising a right, a choice, and understanding personal responsibility.

i wouldn't call somebody who doesn't choose to carry a gun names. but then that's a matter of maturity... and choice.
12.5.2008 8:32pm
Smokey:
Nate in Alice:

You sound frightened. Relax. A few people in a park with legal concealed guns will go a long way toward making sure sociopaths think twice before shooting you; you might be armed. They can't be sure.

This has little to do with bears, and everything to do with human predators. And remember that people who legally target shoot have rights too. Camp elsewhere if the noise is scary. It's a big country.
12.5.2008 8:32pm
Nate in Alice:
Re: guns and civil rights. There are restrictions on free speech, as there are restrictions on being free from search-and-seizure, etc., etc. etc. I'm hoping the restrictions on guns extends to parklands--you obviously disagree.

Your view that guns are tools of self-defense really overlooks that guns are MOSTLY a hobby. You know this--I know this. People who take guns into the woods do so usually to shoot animals or bottles of beer. Let's cut the crap and acknowledge that...will go a long way to understanding why avid hikers do NOT want guns in national parks.
12.5.2008 8:33pm
Nate in Alice:
Smokey: nail on head. Yes, I'm frightened of gun accidents.

I'm more frightened of being hit accidentally by a non-criminal when I'm stealth camping or otherwise not visible than I am of being stalked by a sociopath.
12.5.2008 8:35pm
whit:

Oh, don't be so paranoid.


ad hominem noted. it's about choice.

whether or not i'll NEED to use it is not relevant. i will be prepared if i need to. i doubt i'll need to exercise my 5th amendment rights either, or various other rights, but i respect that i have the CHOICE.


gun-toting law-abiding citizen will hurt someone or something with their legal gun. How about a little cost-benefit analysis, not to mention polling naturalists who actually utilize the national parks, rather than paranoid gun-toters who believe they need their gun to feel safe. (Doubtful these nervous nellies trek too far into the backcountry anyway).



we don't need to assess a need or do a cost-benefit analysis when we talk about civil rights. i don't have to crunch the #'s to exercise any of my civil rights. guns are no different.

fwiw, i frequently use the natural parks. my wife just climbed mt st helens fwiw, and I frequently climb and visist and mt rainier.

they are a wonderful resource, and we don't give up our rights at the door.


Also, where is the evidence of crime in the backcountry that justifies the need for guns? Funny that it simply doesn't happen. Incredibly, incredibly rare


again , this false argument. no civil right needs to be justified by need. i don't have to demonstrate a need to exercise ANY of my civil rights.

do you want to apply needs based tests to everybody before they execute a civil rights.?


Not to mention, serious hikers would consider carrying a gun ridiculous considering the weight-to-utility ratio. Weight would be better spent on an emergency transponder. Guns are like pacifiers--only babies need them in the backcountry.



ah. so you get to define who is a serious hiker. lol

fwiw, a glock is pretty light. i'm a weightclassed strength athlete, with low bf, so i probably carry less needless weight (bf) than you do. i'll make it up with my glock, thanks.

as for the babies comment, perfect example of your liberal tolerance. when you have no cogent adult intelligent argument, it's all about name calling.
12.5.2008 8:38pm
Nate in Alice:
There is no way a rights-based argument can really be productive, because we'll just disagree.

I will say from a purely utilitarian argument--more people are hurt by "law-abiding" legal guns in parklands than are by criminal activity. Moreover, more people are hurt accidentally than are saved by concealed weapons.

Therefore, increasing more legal guns in parklands will NOT decrease the likelihood of gun-related injuries.

You are arguing for a measure that will most likely increase the likelihood of gun-related injuries....that's the jumping off point, I think, for a discussion of civil rights.
12.5.2008 8:41pm
Nate in Alice:
Stop calling me a liberal--you have no idea where I stand in the political spectrum. I'm giving back what you threw--and your Bill O'Reilly "liberal" agitprop is ridiculous.

Plenty of conservative people do not want guns in the backcountry.
12.5.2008 8:42pm
whit:

Your view that guns are tools of self-defense really overlooks that guns are MOSTLY a hobby. You know this--I know this. People who take guns into the woods do so usually to shoot animals or bottles of beer. Let's cut the crap and acknowledge that...will go a long way to understanding why avid hikers do NOT want guns in national parks.



just because some people use a tool (a gun) as a hobby is irrelevant to the underlying issue. there are all sorts of first amendment tools that are similarly utilized. it doesn't diminish their importance as a civil right.

i've been carrying a gun (backwoods and elsewhere) for 20 yrs and have little interest in guns as a hobby. they are a tool. i feel no different about my kitchen knives. my computer, otoh, is both a tool and a hobby.

you have no idea what an avid hiker wants.

and again, it doesn't matter what AVID HIKERS want. we don't give up civil rights because other people don't want us to exercise them.

quite the opposite.

i enjoy hiking and the outdoors (part of the reason i live WA state). i don't enjoy carrying concealed, nor is it a hobby. it is simply a choice i make sometimes. it's my civil right. like any civil right, you are free NOT to exercise it if you choose not to. it's about choice.
12.5.2008 8:43pm
Nate in Alice:
Again, fall back on the "civil right" argument. Really not going to be productive. Guns are not allowed in churches, on airplanes, etc., etc. Most rights are circumscribed by law. Right to bear arms is no different.
12.5.2008 8:45pm
whit:


Stop calling me a liberal--you have no idea where I stand in the political spectrum.


i didn't call you a liberal. i said you were displaying "liberal tolerance" which is not the same thing. "liberal tolerance" is a term that displays the hypocrisy of your position.


Plenty of conservative people do not want guns in the backcountry.


fortunately, when it comes to civil rights, it doesn't matter whether liberals or conservatives disapprove of somebody exercising their rights. or even if those exercising the rights are in a tiny minority.



I will say from a purely utilitarian argument--more people are hurt by "law-abiding" legal guns in parklands than are by criminal activity. Moreover, more people are hurt accidentally than are saved by concealed weapons.


which has been debunked endlessly not to mention that you can't accurately measure the extent of people saved by CCW's because it is like proving a negative. i can't prove how many crimes my concealed carry has prevented. because they didn't happen. QED.

from a purely utilitarian argument lets ban swimming in parks and elsewhere. far more kids are killed by accidents in the water than are by guns.

and swimming aint a civil right that has protection.

civil rights do not require a "needs" assessment is what it comes down to. i don't need to carry a gun. i CHOOSE to carry a gun.

feel free not to.
12.5.2008 8:49pm
whit:

Again, fall back on the "civil right" argument. Really not going to be productive. Guns are not allowed in churches, on airplanes, etc., etc. Most rights are circumscribed by law. Right to bear arms is no different.



guns are allowed in churches in my state. and colleges and universities. i am still waiting for the carnage at the UW from all those eevul gunz.

as for airplanes. airplanes are controlled environments where everybody (except for me when i am doing extraditions :) ) doesn't have a gun.

a gun ban is entirely different . it only prevents the law abiding.

regardless, you cannot restrict a civil right based on the determination (in your mind fwiw) that there is no "need" or the "need" will be very rare.

that's not a valid constitutional argument.

i don't have to demonstrate a need to exercise ANY of my rights. that's how it works in a free society.
12.5.2008 8:53pm
Second Amendment Sister:
Nate,

I'm happy you are rape-proof.

I don't have that luxury.

Perhaps I should stay home with my gun, barefoot and pregnant as well.
12.5.2008 9:06pm
pintler:

.will go a long way to understanding why avid hikers do NOT want guns in national parks.


Well, not all avid hikers. I'm pretty avid - I have spent 2 months a year hiking for over 30 years, all of it in grizzly country. A clean camp is good, bear spray is good, but firearms have their place. I have, thank goodness, had to use neither spray nor gun so far.

I have encountered at a guess 2 dozen bears over the years, the closest a grizzly 50 feet away, and a lot taller than I am. Bears are awesome creatures, in the fullest sense of the word. As you back away, believe me, being armed doesn't seem that bad an idea.

If you don't want to carry, that's OK by me. I didn't for years, partly because of the weight and partly because when you're young and single you worry less. When they came out with 26 ounce 44 mags, it was worth it for me and my family. I put it in the holster at the trailhead, and take it out when I get back. It's not harming anybody.
12.5.2008 9:16pm
Alaska:
I am glad to see this rule, at least in my neck of the woods. The Alaska Department of Fish &Game advises people in certain state parks to carry adequate firearms to deal with bear protection.

I'm not really scared about needing a gun to protect myself from people. I have spent weeks in the bush where I have not seen anybody but the people in my group. But I have had to demonstrate to a large brown bear why it should not come any closer to my tent. And I have to say that having a rifle is a real comfort when facing a large brown bear. A pistol is a last-ditch measure that I would not rely upon as a first choice.

I also think that it is good for another reason. A firearm is a very good tool to have if you are lost and/or stranded in the wilderness. You can take down game and feed yourself if you have to. Firing three shots in a row is a universal distress signal that carries much farther than your voice ever could.

It seems to me that if we are going to set these vast areas for us to enjoy as vast, natural areas, we should also be allowed the proper tools to deal with the environment and that will help us to survive.
12.5.2008 9:27pm
John Moore (www):
Oh, don't be so paranoid. The chance you'll NEED a gun is miniscule compared to the chance that some gun-toting law-abiding citizen will hurt someone or something with their legal gun. How about a little cost-benefit analysis, not to mention polling naturalists who actually utilize the national parks, rather than paranoid gun-toters who believe they need their gun to feel safe. (Doubtful these nervous nellies trek too far into the backcountry anyway).

Also, where is the evidence of crime in the backcountry that justifies the need for guns? Funny that it simply doesn't happen. Incredibly, incredibly rare.

The pro-gunners sound incredibly paranoid to me.


As a civilian who used a firearm in self defense out in the country, I'm really glad that I'm "so paranoid." The consequence of that event was that nobody, especially myself, was hurt.

You are suffering from "normalcy bias" - "it can't happen to me" or "it can't happen to you" because you've never seen it.

Don't be an idiot. Firearms are used in self defense all the time in this country, and on balance the results are extremely positive.
12.5.2008 9:30pm
Nate in Alice:
26 oz 44's....wow. That is really light. Chances it could take down a grizzly?
12.5.2008 9:32pm
John A. Fleming (mail):
1. I like the outcome, but it redounds no credit to the outgoing Bushies: too jealous of giving up Federal power while they are in, and then pulling a transparent political stunt like this at the end.

2. Isn't this a tacit admission by the Federals that the Grand Bargain is off: we'll keep you safe, you keep your guns at home. An admission that they can no longer afford to or are unwilling to protect the visitors at that high standard. And so we return to an older, more natural principle: we'll do what we can, but you have to decide on and make your own accommodations for any additional level of preparedness you wish.

3. A number of commenters now feel uncomfortable about the concept of park visitors packing heat. Calm your fears. Law abiders don't want to shoot nobody. Only the bad boys have more to fear now, and more reason to stay away. I quite doubt that there will more stray bullets to dodge from accidental discharges, dueling, or illegal plinking, especially after the first few well-publicized offenders spend some time in the Federal Pen.
12.5.2008 9:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I might add, the only people killed by a grizzly in ANWR had a handgun with them."

There's a great book, Alaska Bear Tales, that has a collection of these stories.
12.5.2008 9:51pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Gee whiz! It's hard enough to get a reservation as it is. Now with all the militiamen clamoring to get in, I'll never a camping spot!
12.5.2008 9:55pm
whit:

A number of commenters now feel uncomfortable about the concept of park visitors packing heat. Calm your fears


i agree with your wording. fwiw, i am amazed at how often, when anti-gunners discuss this issue, they use the word "i feel" vs. "i think or "i believe".

it's a not-so-subtle hint that we are dealing with emotional, not logical arguments.

the other big one is that argument that people don't "need" a gun etc.

seriously, probe any anti-gunner discussion (democratic underground a good place to start) and the anti's will frequently cite the "need" argument.

i don't see them use this with other civil rights. only guns.

NEED an abortion?, etc.
12.5.2008 9:56pm
Putting Two and Two...:
So, anybody think we'll make it through next summer without some idiot leaving his loaded gun in his tent within reach of a curious child?

I know. Price of Liberty. (Not being sarcastic, just my ol' pessimist, realist self.)
12.5.2008 9:59pm
Putting Two and Two...:
Why run off to Democratic Underground? Just look at any same-sex-related thread here. There are tons of "why do you need to get married?" posts...
12.5.2008 10:02pm
Nate in Alice:
Whit: I put forth a very rational argument for keeping guns out of national parks. Cost-benefit analysis and so forth. Your response was to claim it was wrong, and in anycase, resort to a rights-based argument.

Sure, I feel less safe knowing there are guns, legal or otherwise, around, but this feeling is backed up by facts--criminal activity is not as dangerous for hikers as is gun-related accidents. This is a FACT.
12.5.2008 10:02pm
John A. Fleming (mail):
1. Some people take walking sticks/poles while hiking. I don't.
2. Some people take sat phones while hiking. I don't normally, but someday I may have to.
3. Some people travel really light, and accept the risk that their skills and determination will more than make up for their sketchy preparedness. Plus if they have an accident or encounter severe weather, they are implicitly depending on the help of strangers to succor them, strangers who are carrying more than they.
4. Packing heat is a choice, out of a spectrum of choices, that people make when they decide how valuable is their life, how much risk they are willing to tolerate, and how much trouble they are willing to go through to keep themselves, family, and friends safe.

I don't criticize other people choices about how much junk they want to stuff in their pack. It's their business, not mine. I'm curious though, and quite happy to talk to people who are curious about my choices. It's cool, interesting and personable to swap reasons we give for our choices. There ain't nobody who has the magic formula on how to move with success through life, or the wilderness. By learning about the spectrum of choices from others, we are more likely to stumble on the one that works for us.
12.5.2008 10:03pm
whit:

Whit: I put forth a very rational argument for keeping guns out of national parks. Cost-benefit analysis and so forth. Your response was to claim it was wrong, and in anycase, resort to a rights-based argument.


that is not a rational argument when it comes to advocating against civil rights. do i need to explain to you the proper analysis? here's a hint. civil rights do not have to be justified by cost-benefit analysis. i don't agree for a second WITH your analysis' but that's tangential to the fact that it's irrelevant to the issue.


Sure, I feel less safe knowing there are guns, legal or otherwise, around, but this feeling is backed up by facts--criminal activity is not as dangerous for hikers as is gun-related accidents. This is a FACT.



except this is in an environment where (since guns are generally banned) gun related accidents are by definition committed by people who are law violators.

fwiw. i am talking concealed carry here. concealed carry means you keep it holstered.

i have yet to see an "accident" where a holstered gun went off by itself.

this is the right that is being protected. not the right to plink cans, or otherwise fire a weapon, except in a deadly force situation.
12.5.2008 10:08pm
Guest12345:
And in case anyone actually cares about reasons to be armed in National Parks, here you go.
12.5.2008 10:09pm
whit:

Why run off to Democratic Underground? Just look at any same-sex-related thread here. There are tons of "why do you need to get married?" posts...


excellent point. i support gay marriage, but have yet to see a cogent argument for why it's a RIGHT. however, i think as a matter of policy, it's good policy, which is why i support it.
12.5.2008 10:10pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I carried a small folding .22 rifle and 200 rounds in the survival kit I kept in my small float plane in Alaska. This was in addition to dehydrated food, fishing gear, water, first aid kit, etc. I landed on lots of lakes on federal land. Was I paranoid? Can someone run the cost benefit ratios?

My house was off a stretch of highway which was patrolled by one state policeman. He covered 140 miles. Half the time he wouldn't be able to get to my place in under an hour. Was it paranoid to have agun in the house? What is the police response cutoff time that would justify having a gun?
12.5.2008 10:13pm
RAH (mail):
Nate in Alice is obviously an anti gunner. For your information open carry and carry in luggage or a pack was legal up to 1976. When we backpacked we had a 45 handgun on the hip of one person in the group.

In the last 30 years the amount of crime in national parks have skyrocketed. Park Rangers carry a handgun when they did not 30 years ago. In the southern areas near Mexico there are parks that researchers like to visit and they have been told not to because of drug runners and are very dangerous areas.
Meth labs and marijuana farms are in national parks and that has been an increasing problem. Like many, these criminals seek out of the way areas to do an illegal activity. An unsuspecting hiker is in danger and has been in danger in documented encounters.

The overall crime in all the parks is low but the percentage has increased sharply in certain areas.

The other non-right reason for this law change is that many roads cross national parks just to travel to work in the west and in the east. People who have a legal right and do carry concealed in theses states must stop and secure the weapon before they cross in and out of the park. This is a major inconvenience.


So self-defense is viable and reasonable reason and just to lessen the hassle on road travelers this rule change was needed.

Heller recognized the ability to own, possess and carry a gun is an individual right. The second amendment said the federal government couldn't infringe on that right. A ban in national parks by the federal government was an infringement.

Even this rule change that allows CCW holders to continue to carry concealed in a national park is an infringement since it dies not state that open carry is allowed.

This rule change does not impact the rules that prevent or prohibit gun fire at wildlife and signs. That vandalism and poaching is still prohibited. This law never did address those problems and the ability to carry does not increase those problems. Those vandals will still exist and can be prosecuted still.

All this ruling is say that carrying a gun in federal lands is lawful; it still prohibits unlawful uses of the gun.

CCW holders have an impressive record of being lawful and not misusing the gun. There is no reason to believe that behavior changes just because they cross a border into a national park. This ruling simply recognizes that reality.
12.5.2008 10:23pm
John A. Fleming (mail):
Nate and Alice: ... criminal activity is not as dangerous for hikers as is gun-related accidents. This is a FACT.

Want to share your links? It'd be interesting to see if "hikers" includes hunting accidents, or it truly is just hikers. Outside of ill-trained and unsafe hunters mistaking a hiker for a browsing quadraped, I can't imagine the accident rate is more than shooting accidents by football players in bars.

And if you're stealth camping, no one knows you're there because by definition you're where the people are not. You're pretty darn safe from people at that point. Good luck with the bears and mountain lions though. To a mountain lion, a solitary stealth hiker/camper at dusk looks like ... dinner.
12.5.2008 10:29pm
subpatre (mail):
Gotta love the argument from 'Nate in Alice' based on lack of need ... when the subject is hiking and camping in nationally owned parks.

It clinches 'Nate in Alice' as a leftist; coercing everybody else's wealth and civil rights over NiA's "right to camp".
12.5.2008 10:30pm
pintler:

26 oz 44's....wow. That is really light. Chances it could take down a grizzly?


Well, the weight of the gun doesn't affect the effectiveness (but does make it unpleasant to shoot). I'm fortunate to not have first hand experience, but as previously posted, with the right ammunition it has a reasonable chance of working. From the Garrett FAQ:

"Are our 44 Magnum loads really capable of handling grizzly? The answer is yes, in the hands of a reliable shot. From a comparative point of view, our 44 Magnum Hammerheads provide far more penetration than the 300-grain NosIer Partition fired from the 375 Holland &Holland. Also, both bullets present an extremely blunt front end (meplat). Our 44 bullets also offer far greater security from bullet fracture or deflection than any expanding bullet. Since beginning production in 1988 we have had many customers defend themselves from grizzlies, and always our 44 Magnum ammo has provided super-deep penetration, generally to the hips on a frontally shot bear (even when the skull is engaged.)"

Over the years, I have seen anecdotes in the papers of successful bear defense with 44s. It's not foolproof, any more than bear spray is.
12.5.2008 10:33pm
zippypinhead:
Moreover, more people are hurt accidentally than are saved by concealed weapons.

-- and --

The chance you'll NEED a gun is miniscule compared to the chance that some gun-toting law-abiding citizen will hurt someone or something with their legal gun. How about a little cost-benefit analysis...
Empirically incorrect statements. There has been fairly rigorous studies on this issue, and the data simply doesn't support this type of assertion. You're much more likely to be struck by lightning or kill yourself slipping in the bathtub than be a victim of a firearms accident. Conversely, depending on the statistical methodology used, between 140,000 and 2 million criminal acts are stopped or deterred every year by law-abiding firearms display or use.

And (with apologies to Whit, whom some of y'all probably don't realize has a day job as a law enforcement officer), the crime rate among CCW permit holders is actually lower than it is among uniformed law enforcement. Go figure...
12.5.2008 10:50pm
whit:
zippy, i agree with that last point. ... although those silly state troopers skew the stats :)

seriously, though... i have investigated all sorts of crimes and dealt with tons of violent and other crimes.

the incidents of people legally carrying weapons OR people who have CCW's committing crime is ridiculously small.

a lot of people carry legally around where i live, work. they just aren't the ones committing crimes.

i can only recall 2 people i have arrested who were carrying. one was a dui. the other was an attorney, who was carrying and was accused by a son/mother of brandishing. when i took him to the station he waived his rights (smart attorney) and wrote out a great statement detailing why his actions were self-defense. i drove him home, and the prosecutor declined to prosecute. it was actually a justifiable self-defense (or at least not provable as a crime due to the self-defense argument).

anyway... i pull a guy over and he tells me he has a CCW and is carrying, and i know he is (statistically speaking) far less of a risk to assault (let alone shoot) me or commit any other crime.

simply put - they are a law abiding, non-violent demographic.

there are a # of demographics that have low crime rates... the elderly, for example, and japanese americans.

CCW'ers are another.

but again, i don't have to rely on how i "feel" a la Nate in Alice. i can rely on extensive experience and the actual statistics.
12.5.2008 10:59pm
Allan Walstad (mail):
Whit: I really admire your patience in answering persistent ad hominem with reason and fact.
12.5.2008 11:03pm
whit:
thanks allan.

i learned LONG AGO (usenet) not to take the internet personally.

to quote my verbal judo instructor... "when arrow of insult is aimed at head... move head" :)
12.5.2008 11:06pm
therut (mail):
Yes. Now, I will plan my month long trip next year to the WEST. I can actually visit the parks and be safe. Yeah.....
12.5.2008 11:09pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

26 oz 44's....wow. That is really light. Chances it could take down a grizzly?


A grizzly has sufficient armor that a kill shot is indeed a problem unless you have fairly heavy weaponry. Many a hunter has discovered that a .30-.30 fired at point blank range may not penetrate a grizzly's rib cage. The important thing to remember is that if you don't have the firepower for a kill shot, your initial goal is not to kill an attacking bear but to disable it. This you can do with a lighter weapon. Although a grizzly gets up on its hind legs to threaten, if it actually attacks it will charge on all fours. You want to aim at one of its shoulders. A shot in the shoulder will probably knock it down, at which point you should try for the other shoulder. If you can get both shoulders, it will be sufficiently crippled for you to kill it from a safe distance.
12.5.2008 11:12pm
NickW:
Plaxico Burress will be thrilled.
12.5.2008 11:30pm
Fidelity (mail) (www):
Wow, this conversation got really off topic.

So there's some confusion here: there's a difference between National Parks (like Yellow Stone), State Parks (smaller local campsites), National Forests, and State Forests.

Since most of you don't follow Concealed Carry Law, let me brief you: citizens in most states can legally carry a firearm concealed if they obtain a permit from the state (which is normally through the sheriff's office). You can't be a felon, and in most states you have to demonstrate competency with a firearm by taking a class. I can't speak for everyone who gets a license to carry, but most are reasonable people who carry a gun for their protection. I have the license, and typically keep my gun in the trunk of my car. These people aren't crazy, they just want some protection.

To understand why this law was changed, you have to look at the history of the law: previously, if you ENTERED a National Park, you had to disassemble your firearm and keep it in a secured location. So people who got their State's permission to carry a gun virtually everywhere, had to not carry while in the National Parks. You can carry in National Forests, State Forest, and State Parks, if the State allows it.

I'd also like to say that anyone can carry a gun. Got a belt and a pistol? You're set! You can bring it into a court-house, a high school, the shopping mall, even the airport. It's only those who were doing it LEGALLY who were being effected by the prohibition.

If anything, this is a triumph of State Rights, over Federal Rights. It's not about self defense, or poaching, or anything else Bill Wade (the leading voice of opposition to this) wants you to believe.


*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._National_Forests
12.5.2008 11:34pm
JAL (mail):
I am not sure of the actual impact of this on National Parks ... (Are they covered? I think Fish and Wildlife operate in national forests...)

Regardless, an acquaintance who is law enforcement (federal)recommended I carry when he found I (a woman) rode (horses) in national forests.

And that was before Meredith Emerson (age 24, an avid hiker, north Georgia), Irene and John Bryant (elderly, avid hikers, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina)and Cheryl Dunlap (avid hiker, north Florida, Apalachicola National Forest) were murdered by a guy with a knife in 2007 and 2008.

I would wager that a trained civilian with a firearm would have been a discouragement to Gary Hilton. There are questions about other missing hikers over past few years who might be victims also.

I would also guess that Nate, if he lives in a state with CC, has absolutely no idea how many people around him have concealed carry permits -- and do.

He would be very surprised.
12.5.2008 11:35pm
Archon (mail):
I really hate all this crap about "gun free zones." Just because there is a law, rule, or regulation banning guns does not therefore make it a zone free of guns.

The only truly "gun free zones" are areas that have heavily regulated access where people must pass through metal detectors and undergo searches to enter. For instance, you can be reasonably certain that no unauthorized personnel have a gun in the secured area of an airport. This is because everyone who enters this area is subjected to various searches and access is heavily regulated.

This, however, is certainly not true in an area where possession is merely prohibited by a rule. For instance, Virginia Tech was a "gun free zone" by rule, but there were no searches or access restrictions to ensure compliance. Hence a student was easily able to carry a gun on to campus and shoot up the place (and as a bonus he was also gauranteed that no one would be shooting back at him because all the law abiding folk left their guns at home.)

When you lack safeguards such as those at the aiport, there is no way to gaurantee that there are no firearms in an area. You are merely relying on voluntary compliance with the rule. And, imagine that, only law abiding people will voluntarily comply with such a rule. And, imagine that, the VT gunman (a crazy criminal) didn't follow the rule an brought a gun on to campus.

Unless you are willing to turn every "gun free zone" into an airport with metal detectors and restricted access there is no way to make sure no one will have a gun.
12.5.2008 11:37pm
zippypinhead:
Eventually people will realize that, just like when shall-issue CCW laws were passed in 40 states and there wasn't the predicted "blood in the streets," the new Interior Department rule won't have any significant negative effects. And to some extent we can see this today on public lands (other than National Parks) in states where back country firearms carry is currently legal.

FWIW, I live, and regularly camp and backpack, in a state whose laws do not prohibit CCW permit holders from carrying in state parks and, by extension, National Forests. I'm a member of one of the clubs that maintains a segment of the Appalachian Trail and even more miles of trail on state, county and non-NP Federal land. I take Boy Scouts camping and backpacking in these areas several times a year. I have literally never had, seen, or heard of a problem from legal firearms in the areas where back country concealed carry is legal. And we almost certainly won't have a spike in incidents from legal carry in National Parks in the future.

And frankly, it will end some confusion. For example, there's one area in my state where southbound AT hikers leave a state wildlife management area (where both carry and hunting are allowed) and after only a couple of miles find themselves in a National Park. Leave that NP on westbound side trails, and you can quickly find yourself in a either a state park or a National Forest. And there's one narrow National Park in an urban/suburban part of my state that has a multi-lane commuter artery running through it, and that directly abuts residential and commercial areas where both CCW permit concealed carry and unlicensed open carry are legal.

Although in the interest of full disclosure, I don't see much need for ME to carry while hiking in my little part of the world. Unlike grizzlies or Alaskan bears, eastern black bears aren't much of an issue (worst case scenario, they say slapping them on the nose is supposed to be an effective defense), and we don't have mountain lions or other human-endangering predators. We have some dangerous two-legged types in the parks (you can usually spot them by their D.C. license plates), but most of them are too intimidated by the back country to venture far from their cars. But if I was a small-stature woman as opposed to a large, grumpy-looking guy, I might make a different decision about my personal safety on the trail. And if I was hiking the Continental Divide trail in Montana, or was anywhere in the Alaskan back country, I'd feel a lot more comfortable carrying a .44 Magnum at minimum (a gun that has enough seriously unpleasant recoil that even if I were irresponsible, I would NOT be tempted to just plink at things with it for phun).
12.5.2008 11:46pm
Oren:

Unless those "random places in the wilderness" are in "areas administered by [the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service]", your evidence is not on point.



Oh, was that quarry you speak of in a National Park? If not, it isn't quite the same thing. I guarantee that if anyone fires a shot in a Park, the rangers will be on it in minutes if not seconds.


All of those incidents were on Federal land (either forest service, park service or wilderness area). Many of them were a day's hike away from a road and hence pretty much beyond the reach of the rangers. If you think that any appreciable percentage of Federal land is even with earshot of a ranger, you are either nuts or from the east coast (distinction -- not sure).

Like I said, it's a fine rule and I don't know what proportion of shooters were responsible (by definition). That said, it's nutty to think that there isn't flagrant abuse of public lands for target practice.
12.5.2008 11:48pm
Archon (mail):

That said, it's nutty to think that there isn't flagrant abuse of public lands for target practice.


I can certainly agree with Oren on this one. It is a travesty that people must resort to illegal target practice on public lands because shooting at ranges is too expensive.

If it wasn't for the profiteers that run public ranges and the corporations that have a stangle hold on the ammunition manufacturers, target shooting would be much more affordable and people wouldn't have to shoot at beer bottles at the national park.

Clearly the way of solving this problem is by strictly regulating the prices that ranges can charge for use and setting price ceilings on ammo. This way we won't have to resort to back alley target practice. My motto has always been keep it legal and keep it safe. The government needs to do more to ensure this is true for target shooters everywhere.
12.5.2008 11:57pm
whit:
archon.

that wasn't quite sarcastro grade, but it was pretty good
12.6.2008 12:03am
Archon (mail):
I wish the government would do more to ensure affordable gun ranges for all. I drop at least $100 on overpriced junk ammo and inflated hourly charges every time I go to the range.

I mean owning a firearm is a constitutional right and what good is a right if you can't afford to exercise it. Just like the Dems want to pay for every abortion, I think the government should also buy anyone who want one a firearm and lots of ammo.
12.6.2008 12:14am
whit:
i realize this incident happened in a national forest, not national park, but here it is... an interesting twist is that the suspect's ex-wife (a teacher) was fired for carrying a gun at work... she was in fear he would kill her.

so it's a two-fer on the gun issue.



SEATTLE (AP) - Forks Mayor Nedra Reed remembers going on a ride with U.S. Forest Service Officer Kristine Fairbanks and her patrol dog, Radar, into the woods around the small town on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula.

"I was so impressed with her knowledge and her skill and her care and concern as a law enforcement officer," Reed told the Peninsula Daily News. "It was a blessing to ride with her that day, because that's the way I will remember Kris."

Fairbanks, 51, and Richard Ziegler, 59, were killed Saturday by Shawn M. Roe, 36, who was wanted by the state Corrections Department for failing to appear at a meeting with his probation officer in August.

The probation officer had requested an arrest warrant in Mason County Superior Court for Roe, who died Saturday in a shootout with Clallam County sheriff's deputies, but no warrant was issued, department spokesman Chad Lewis told The Seattle Times.

At the time of his death, Roe was carrying three handguns, including Fairbanks' service weapon, Washington State Patrol Trooper Krista D. Hedstrom said.

The shootings occurred Saturday on the northern Olympic Peninsula near Sequim, about 50 miles west of Seattle.

Neighbors said Ziegler, a retired California corrections employee who moved to the area in May, had recently gotten approval to begin construction of a house. His body was found in a fifth-wheel trailer where he was living.

"He was really upbeat," neighbor Arthur Foster told the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, adding that he and his wife heard shots from Ziegler's property about 5:15 p.m.

Fairbanks leaves behind a husband who works for the state Fish and Wildlife Department and their 15-year-old daughter. The family lived in Forks and was well known around the peninsula. The officer, with her German shepherd dog in tow, often visited schools to talk about her job.

She mainly investigated timber theft and illegal harvesting of salal, ferns, mushrooms, moss, cedar bark and grass in the nearly 1,000-square-mile Olympic National Forest.

As recently as late year, she was the only Forest Service officer in the state and one of just 40 nationwide who worked with a trained police dog. Radar was found uninjured in her vehicle after she was shot.

Roe was convicted in 2007 of unlawful imprisonment, a felony, and malicious mischief, a gross misdemeanor, Lewis said. In September 2006, Roe's ex-wife, Mary Catherine Roe, carried a gun to her teaching job at Nisqually Middle School in Lacey, saying he had threatened her with a gun and she was afraid.

Her mother, Patti White, said he once threatened to burn down her home
12.6.2008 12:27am
andinista (mail):
This will be good news to my climbing buddy.

In our younger days, when we had more time and less responsibilities, road trips were in order, touring the West and climbing at all the great places. Naturally, in National Parks, where we would stay for weeks at a time. We usually travelled with my girlfriend and his wife. His concept of the responsibilities of manhood included bringing a handgun. For the protection of family and friends, for you never know what could happen on the open road outside the genteel confines of the Park. I trusted my wits, for him he trusted his friends Smith and Wesson.

So in the Parks, it had to stay carefully hidden away in the car. All quite illegal, of course. However. It was a very low risk that we would ever get entangled with Park Police, for we were and are otherwise law abiding gents. We were just there for the climbing. Nevertheless, a Federal weapons charge would have been a significant detriment to our budding professional careers.

He took that risk because, in his opinion, it was his duty to be prepared to protect his family. He will be pleased to know that he carries that risk no longer.
12.6.2008 12:35am
Mark Jones:

Again, fall back on the "civil right" argument. Really not going to be productive. Guns are not allowed in churches, on airplanes, etc., etc. Most rights are circumscribed by law. Right to bear arms is no different.



You're right. the RTKBA is circumscribed by law.

I cannot legally shoot someone for anything less than immediate self-defense.

I cannot legally threaten to shoot someone for a lesser reason.

I cannot legally brandish my firearm without that same valid reason.

Outside of a shooting range, there's nowhere in the entire city I can legally fire my gun AT ALL (again, short of a self-defense situation).

To carry it concealed legally, I need a carry permit, which involves time, effort and money, including a getting fingerprinted and undergoing a background check. Having done all that, I am now legally allowed to carry concealed in a wide number of locales. Including, I'm happy to hear, national parks now.

It's not like the RTKBA isn't ALSO circumscribed by law. And having jumped through a number of hoops that, in my opinion, shouldn't be legally imposed on my RTKBA in the first place, I don't really care if you lose a little sleep over the presence of legal firearms in national parks. Firearms have been there all along; the only difference is that now there will be firearms in the hands of those least likely to misuse them.
12.6.2008 1:07am
MCM (mail):
I seem to recall that the Trailside Killer used a handgun in parks to randomly murder people. If he were around today, he might think twice.


I doubt it. You're talking about an individual who is obviously clearly disturbed. You can't necessarily count on him to make a rational assessment. If you'll recall, he ended up being sentenced to death. If the death penalty wasn't a sufficient deterrent, I'm think that's good evidence that his next victim might be packing wouldn't deter him either. The man is insane.
12.6.2008 1:13am
MCM (mail):
I cannot legally shoot someone for anything less than immediate self-defense.

I cannot legally threaten to shoot someone for a lesser reason.

I cannot legally brandish my firearm without that same valid reason.

Outside of a shooting range, there's nowhere in the entire city I can legally fire my gun AT ALL (again, short of a self-defense situation).


None of these seem to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
12.6.2008 1:15am
tsotha:
I doubt it. You're talking about an individual who is obviously clearly disturbed. You can't necessarily count on him to make a rational assessment. If you'll recall, he ended up being sentenced to death. If the death penalty wasn't a sufficient deterrent, I'm think that's good evidence that his next victim might be packing wouldn't deter him either. The man is insane.

Well then, even for a psycho there's a chance one of his would-be victims will shoot him. I understand if you show up to the emergency room with a gunshot wound there will be questions.

I don't think people who are against CCW realize just how law abiding permit holders are.
12.6.2008 2:32am
whit:

I understand if you show up to the emergency room with a gunshot wound there will be questions.


"does it hurt?"

"do you have insurance" ?

:)
12.6.2008 3:17am
tsotha:
Heh heh. They'll probably ask about the insurance first.
12.6.2008 5:24am
girl plus (mail):
the best gun for grizz is a .22.
Shoot your partner in the knee, then run!
;-)

For those who think Yosemite is safe pleas google this! Staynor,
Sunds, , Silvina Pelosso, naturalist Joie Armstrong
12.6.2008 6:17am
Kirk:
JAL,

Don't forget the two women who were murdered recently in WA while hiking.

Whit,

You're a WA guy: can I interest you in the Seattle City Council meeting on the blatantly-unconstituational proposal to ban firearms from Seattle City Property? (One side benefit of that site is that, after you register, you can send private messages to other members--it would be great to connect off-blog sometime...)
12.6.2008 6:23am
Kevin P. (mail):
So exactly when does this law take effect? I'm going on an RV trip in a week :-)
12.6.2008 6:47am
Kevin P. (mail):
Ok, the rule will take effect in January.
12.6.2008 7:04am
Brett Bellmore:

Most rights are circumscribed by law. Right to bear arms is no different.


No, it's very different indeed: Generally, when rights are circumscribed by law, the acts being prohibited are themselves highly objectionable. To give the classic example of 1st amendment rights being limited, you can't falsely cry "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Note: A specific sort of utterance, issued wrongly, under circumstances where it's likely to cause great harm. The analogy for firearms would be something like firing wildly into a crowd without any justification.

By contrast, gun control laws generally circumscribe the right to keep and bear arms in a far more general, inclusive fashion, lacking that direct connection to wrongful, harmful behavior. Flatly barring gun possession in specific places, banning general sorts of guns, unrelated to the nature of what would be done with the gun, or the actual probability of harm.

If we regulated speech in the same manner, we wouldn't punish falsely crying fire in a crowded theater. We'd require you to put on a ball gag before you entered the theater.

Now, there ARE regulations of speech comparable to gun control: The BCRA is one. Notice that it's highly controversial, with a lot of passionate opponents? That's because regulating rights in that kind of over-broad fashion ISN'T accepted practice.
12.6.2008 7:04am
zippypinhead:
Kevin P., don't take your Glock to Yellowstone quite yet. Under the Administrative Procedures Act, the regulation will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Publication reportedly will be next week (I don't know the specific day). The effective date will beat Inauguration Day by less than 2 weeks.

According to some press reports, there are advocacy groups that have already announced they intend to press the new Administration to repeal this regulation. And an Obama spokesman, while not commenting on the merits, is quoted as lumping this in with other "eleventh-hour regulations" by the outgoing Administration that will be flyspecked after January 20. Senator Feinstein is giving quotes about how bad this rule is. And while 51 Senators joined the original letter asking Interior to repeal its Park gun ban rule, a number of the signatories are leaving office, either voluntarily or because they lost re-election.

With all that, I have a baaaaaad feeling the Interior Department regulation may have a very short shelf-life, and won't be around long enough to demonstrate that it really doesn't adversely affect safety in the parks. It's a candidate to end up on the list of late-Bush Administration regulations that the incoming Administration will begin APA procedures on to repeal or modify. Or worse, a legislative repeal might end up attached to, say, Rep. McCarthy's next introduction of her "assault weapons" ban bill.
12.6.2008 7:46am
zippypinhead:
Oops... Just learned that the browser on this computer doesn't automatically update VC thread posts without hitting refresh. Loaded the thread, exited, and came back later to comment. Same posts as before showed up, no new ones. Turns out there WERE new ones. I see in the meantime Kevin P also linked the same WP article 40 minutes before I did.

And now to go play with the browser settings to see if we can fix this problem (this is not the computer I normally use on weekends).

Sorry for the redundancy...
12.6.2008 7:50am
Oren:
zippy, the conspirators needs to add a "meta http-equiv="refresh" content="600" /" tag enclosed in angle brackets.
12.6.2008 9:21am
Mikee (mail):
In Texas, Parks Department rules forbid firearms in state parks. However, the new rule only refers to possession of a state license to carry concealed as necessary for concealed carry in national parks and wilderness areas.

I have a Texas CHL (Concealed Handgun License).

When the rule goes into effect, can I legally carry a handgun concealed in Big Bend National Park?

I have no idea. And from the information provided by the DOI about the rule change I cannot tell.

What is the mechanism for states to define the way this DOI rule change works? As a non-lawyer I don't know.

Any help?
12.6.2008 9:54am
Daedalus (mail):
I still fail to understand the mentality of people who do not want to have people carry weapons in a National Park. Unfortunately there are both two legged and four legged predators in the National Parks and the ability to defend yourself against them is a right that cannot be taken away at a Park border.

No, this is not about shooting up a bunch of beer cans or beer bottles, its about not checking our right of self defense when we cross the into a National Park.

Maybe if one of these people who I am certain have the best of intentions, were to run across one of these two legged or four legged predators in a National Park where the nearest law enforcement is hours or days away, they would change their mind.......I doubt it, but it always helps to believe in miracles.
12.6.2008 9:54am
Sam H (mail):
"zippy, the conspirators needs to add a "meta http-equiv="refresh" content="600" /" tag enclosed in angle brackets."

Please don't. I hate sites that refresh when I am trying to read something. I can reload when it suits me. Choice is good.
12.6.2008 10:28am
Pecos Pete:
I live year around in a National Forest in northern New Mexico. The closest village is 26 miles away (45 minutes) down a very curvy and dangerous road. There are four NFS campgrounds within 5 miles of where I live. These campgrounds are not patrolled by law enforcement of any kind.

Mobile phones are useless as there is no reception. I haven't seen an NFS ranger or state game/fish officer in the backwoods areas in 60 years, and very rarely do they make an appearance at a campground.

Mountain lions, bears and other 4-legged animals don't concern me. However, there are plenty of 2-legged criminals in the area that regularly burglarize summer cabins in the area. I don't know any regular hikers/backpackers/horse riders in this area that are not armed for personal defense.

When hiking I carry a 357 magnum revolver, and the weight is worth it knowing that I can defend myself and those with me. When horse riding I add a 30-06 rifle. These weapons are always visible which is, I believe, the reason why I have never had to use them. I have never seen nor heard of a gun accident in my area, but there have been many people who were hurt/killed by falling rocks and trees; or, who managed to put themselves in danger by being unaware of their surroundings. And driving off a cliff from slippery roads or DUI.

It always amazes me when I meet people in the backwoods who believe that help is only minutes away. Good luck to those who persist in believing that a wilderness area is populated by those singing Kumbaya.

This entire discussion reminds me of the lady from "back east" who complained to me that the hiking trails here were both too steep, had rocks on them that hurt her feet and there were no rest rooms.
12.6.2008 10:48am
John Moore (www):
When fishing with my daughter here in Arizona mountains (yeah, we have lots of high, Pine covered, mountains), I used to always carry a handgun, specifically for defense against two-legged predators. This is not an uncommon practice here.

Unlike the cities, where you have some control over the population you choose to be around, the great outdoors provide no such protection. Also, here in the city you can be assured that there are plenty nearby with legal concealed weapons - well known by the predators. Again, not so out in the woods.
12.6.2008 12:51pm
whit:

You're a WA guy: can I interest you in the Seattle City Council meeting on the blatantly-unconstituational proposal to ban firearms from Seattle City Property? (One side benefit of that site is that, after you register, you can send private messages to other members--it would be great to connect off-blog sometime...)



thanks for the tip on the meeting. i have mentioned this proposal before. it was a knee jerk reaction to the shooting at a seattle park earlier this year. of course, it's BLATANTLY against the state of WA constitution (as well as case law) for a city to ban firearms from parks and other places like that. i also find it ironic that the seattle mayor (a liberal) proposed doing an "executive order". this is the kind of crap they criticize bush for.

simply put, i would LOVE for them to "trespass" me from the park for my legal firearm. then, get arrested for trespass when i returned. it would be a lawsuit from heaven.

city mayors (and police chiefs) or city councils do not get to ignore the constitution within their city.
12.6.2008 1:09pm
whit:
i just had to mention this in regards to the specious "need" argument.

the claim by Nate in Alice etc. is that firearms can be restricted because the "need" for them is SO unlikely. it's just paranoia, etc.

analogy.

i have insurance on my house agaisnt house fire. do i "need" it? by nate in alice's "logic" i do not. the chances of my house catching on fire are very very small. anecdotally, i do not know anybody whose house has caught on fire and i know hundreds of people. otoh, i know several people who have either been shot or confronted with a deadly force situation... including myself.

yes, the chances of one's house catching on fire are very very small. but in the event it does, if one doesn't have insurance, the loss can be devastating.

this is an exact analogy to carrying a weapon. the chance you will "need" it are pretty small. but the consequences can be quite devastating in that eventuality.

these are what are referred to as "high risk, low frequency" incidents, on a threat assessment matrix.

no hoplophobe (anti-gunner with irrational fear of guns) would claim it's paranoid to have fire insurance.

but it's "paranoid" to want to exercise your right to carry a gun in their minds.
12.6.2008 1:13pm
Deep Lurker (mail):

I am sick of you paranoid assholes who are so afraid of the world around you that you can leave your house armed to the teeth.


So do you think the police are "paranoid assholes" or is that 'different' somehow?

I don't much like cops myself. Not because they carry guns, but because they are exempt from so many of the rules we peons have to follow - both wrt to carrying guns and wrt various other things, both officially and unofficially. As one of the other comments above noted, they have become our "armed overlords."

It's an important principle that cops - more generally uniformed law-enforcement and plainclothes government agents - not have any greater privilege to have and use weapons than ordinary private citizens. Giving them such a privilege tends to make them militarized, arrogant, brutal, and abusive of their power. It's turning them into a separate class or caste; a de facto aristocracy. Overlords, rather than public servants.

That's why "a well-regulated militia" - security forces armed only with what a private citizen might have - is "necessary to the security of a free state." Without the weapons, they can't provide the security; if given special privileges wrt the weapons, they destroy the freedom. That's why "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" is so important.

And that's why carrying a pistol everywhere is no more a sign of being a "paranoid asshole" than asking for a lawyer when arrested or refusing permission for the cops to search your house without a search warrant.
12.6.2008 1:57pm
whit:

So do you think the police are "paranoid assholes" or is that 'different' somehow?

I don't much like cops myself. Not because they carry guns, but because they are exempt from so many of the rules we peons have to follow - both wrt to carrying guns and wrt various other things, both officially and unofficially. As one of the other comments above noted, they have become our "armed overlords."



actually, i was the one who made the comment about 'armed overlords' and i am a cop. i am sorry that you believe (speciously) that cops are exempt from the rules you "peons" have to follow.

but i agree with you, that the right to carry should not be limited to LE.


It's an important principle that cops - more generally uniformed law-enforcement and plainclothes government agents - not have any greater privilege to have and use weapons than ordinary private citizens. Giving them such a privilege tends to make them militarized, arrogant, brutal, and abusive of their power. It's turning them into a separate class or caste; a de facto aristocracy. Overlords, rather than public servants.



in some respects, cops have LESS "privilege" to use deadly force than citizens. that is the law in WA state.

in other respects, like shooting at a prison escapee in the act of escaping, they can use deadly force where a citizen would not be authorized. those are pretty rare circs.

regardless,all your anti-cop whinging aside, the principle stands. the right to keep and bear arms is important
12.6.2008 2:14pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Those hikers opposed to guns in the national forest might consider they will never know who is carrying a gun in the future. Anyone they meet might have a number of guns in backpacks, shoulder holsters, waist bands, and ankle holsters. It could be that lanky guy with the scraggly dog, or even the fresh faced family at the picnic table slapping baloney on Wonder Bread for lunch.

Since the national parks are now free fire zones, they will never be safe from stray bullets chasing beer cans and half pint bottles of Jack Daniels. We should expect hundreds of calls for help to come in on those nifty Garmin GPS radios, all confident paramedics will arrive on the spot in under three minutes.

I'd even expect gap-toothed white Southerners to caravan their F-150s to northern parks and forests, jug in one hand and bayonet-lugged assault weapon in the other, overalls stuffed with cartridges and high capacity magazines, just lookng for anyone wearing Eddie Bean, Gortex, or carrying one of those cute little telescoping hiking poles.

The only sane response is to recognize the cost-benefit analysis tells us to stay at least five miles from any national forest or park. Be afraid. Stay away. Your life, the lives of your family, and the lives of all good people who can confidently dialog with the barista at Starbucks are in danger.
12.6.2008 3:38pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Nate sez I will say from a purely utilitarian argument--more people are hurt by "law-abiding" legal guns in parklands than are by criminal activity.

That isn't a utilitarian argument, but it could be backed up by stats - got any?
12.6.2008 4:26pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Nate repeats Sure, I feel less safe knowing there are guns, legal or otherwise, around, but this feeling is backed up by facts--criminal activity is not as dangerous for hikers as is gun-related accidents. This is a FACT.

And your evidence of this is?
12.6.2008 4:30pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
i have insurance on my house agaisnt house fire. do i "need" it? by nate in alice's "logic" i do not. the chances of my house catching on fire are very very small.

And if you have a fire extinguisher or two, it just proves you WANT your house to catch fire. I mean, why else would you have them?
12.6.2008 4:38pm
Elliot123 (mail):
And what about that neighbor with the matches? Why does he need so many? Why does he carry them concealed? I feel far less safe knowing he has matches. Next thing, he'll want to carry them into the national forests. Can you imagine where that will lead?
12.6.2008 6:02pm
A breath of fresh air:
A breath of fresh air from the FedGov. Next step: Permitting military retirees and Civil Service employees who possess concealed carry permits to take their weapons onto military installations.

Do the math -- You are a military retiree or a Civil Service Employee with a concealed carry permit in the state where you live: You basically cannot carry any day you need to go onto a military base (which for a lot of folks, is five days a week or more).

The issue is one of giving up one's right to self-defense -- not necessarily so much on bases, which are normally extremely safe (note the word, "normally") -- but during one's driving to/from that base, which may require travel and/or stops through some very bad neighborhoods.

It becomes even more egregious when one considers that a large number of military retirees are elderly and less able to defend themselves sans a handgun.

One final argument: You are a miitary retiree whose primary place for health care is on a military installation. You possess a concealed handgun. You are carrying on a day when you HAVE NO PLANS to go onto any military installation, but a medical emergency occurs IN THE VICINITY of a military installation. You are REQUIRED to go on-base ASAP to get your health situation addressed. You do not have time to properly store your handgun. Your choice: Get the care you need and risk felony charges if caught, or take chances with your health by looking for an alternate -- and, perhaps, less proximate -- health-care facility.

I feel certain that the change I advocate will happen early on under the Obama Administration. /sarc
12.6.2008 9:15pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Plaxico, get out in the fresh air! Those nightclubs are murder.
12.6.2008 9:31pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Mikee (mail):
In Texas, Parks Department rules forbid firearms in state parks. However, the new rule only refers to possession of a state license to carry concealed as necessary for concealed carry in national parks and wilderness areas.

I have a Texas CHL (Concealed Handgun License).

When the rule goes into effect, can I legally carry a handgun concealed in Big Bend National Park?


Mikee, IANAL but you can carry in Texas State Parks with a CHL from Texas or another state.

In any case, the new rule does not require that Texas permit guns in State Parks. So I would say that after the rule goes into effect, yes, you can carry a handgun concealed in Big Bend National Park. Note that the visitor center and other buildings, being defined as federal facilities, are still off limits. So you will have to leave your gun concealed in your car if you go into the visitor center.
12.6.2008 9:43pm
Kevin P. (mail):
zippy, I agree that there will be moves to try to repeal this rule. However, repealing the rule is a difficult process that takes several months, and since it (a) applies to only licensed carriers, a very law abiding group, and (b) has bipartisan support, the Obama administration will have to decide to squander political capital to repeal it. It is not clear to me that they will want to do that.
12.6.2008 9:46pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Who is Obama's choice for Secretary of the Interior?
12.6.2008 9:49pm
andinista (mail):
I still fail to understand the mentality of people who do not want to have people carry weapons in a National Park.

I'll give it a try.

Because it's one of the treasures of America, where you go to recuperate, rejuvenate, and enjoy yourself, surrounded by the beauty of Nature. You want to leave the noisome city behind, hear the wind in the trees, the birds in the forest, breathe the clear air and drink clean water (in my case, high on a cliff). Really, it's always a thrill, even a spiritual moment, for me to cross the border into a National Park.

If you have to carry because you are concerned for your safety; or since they let anybody in the park, including all the less than exemplary fellow citizens that you are trying to avoid may also be carrying: it spoils the mood.

There's an assumption that everyone you meet in a Park is a fellow pilgrim, there just to "climb the mountains and receive their glad tidings", as John Muir would say (I don't think he carried). If they could be carrying, that assumption is lost, and with it, some of the magic of the parks.

A National Parks is an echo of the Garden of Eden, and if either you or others are carrying, it's a 5 pound uncomfortable reminder in your pack that Man and Woman have fallen from that state of Grace.
12.6.2008 11:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If you have to carry because you are concerned for your safety; or since they let anybody in the park, including all the less than exemplary fellow citizens that you are trying to avoid may also be carrying: it spoils the mood."

OK. So, don't carry a gun and spoil your mood. That's easy.

"There's an assumption that everyone you meet in a Park is a fellow pilgrim, there just to "climb the mountains and receive their glad tidings", as John Muir would say (I don't think he carried). If they could be carrying, that assumption is lost, and with it, some of the magic of the parks."

Perhaps that's your assumption, but I don't accept any responsibility for maintaining it. You're on your own there.
12.7.2008 12:23am
Kirk:
Shorter andinista: it's fantasy over reality. (Is that a fair abstract?)
12.7.2008 12:36am
zippypinhead:
...it spoils the mood.
LOL! Best argument I've heard yet for banning guns. I'm totally on board with that. For that matter, knowing that any or all of those cars I see on the D.C. Capitol Beltway with Virginia license plates might have firearms in them certainly ruins the mood there, as well. Heck, it's been decades since I've had a pleasant trip on the Beltway, all because of those pesky firearms I can't see...
A National Park is an echo of the Garden of Eden...
So it must be the guns that makes the traffic jams on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park during fall leaf season so depressing to those of us who actually like to get out into the back country. Get rid of the guns, and the line of urbanistas' cars no longer seems so jarring!

Oh, and private ownership of firearms probably causes global warming, too...

I assume we'll be seeing these arguments on the Brady Campaign website any day now.
12.7.2008 12:41am
pintler:

A National Parks is an echo of the Garden of Eden, and if either you or others are carrying, it's a 5 pound uncomfortable reminder in your pack that Man and Woman have fallen from that state of Grace.


Does having bear spray spoil the mood also? It seems it would provide the same reminder?

Aside: were there bears in the Garden of Eden?
12.7.2008 2:46am
T.S. Jones:

A National Parks is an echo of the Garden of Eden, and if either you or others are carrying, it's a 5 pound uncomfortable reminder in your pack that Man and Woman have fallen from that state of Grace.


Dude, it's a been a long, long time since we were in the Garden. Pesky little thing like getting driven out seemed to have happened. And so we need to deal with the reality of today, not wishful thinking for the paradise of eons past.
12.7.2008 5:13am
Deep Lurker (mail):

in some respects, cops have LESS "privilege" to use deadly force than citizens. that is the law in WA state.


Well, a lot does depend on jurisdiction. I'm in IL, where any greater legal latitude private citizens might have to use deadly force is overwhelmed by the fact they they can't legally carry in public at all (barring special legislation that makes them honorary cops). While WA state, I'm given to understand, is one of the more "gun friendly" states.

And while I haven't seen any formal studies on the subject, the horror stories about police arrogance and brutality do seem to come disproportionately from the places where the laws and the authorities are strongly anti-gun. (Or selectively anti-gun, where the "never intended to be applied to the white population" attitude still lingers on.)
12.7.2008 10:05am
Harry Eagar (mail):
There's a national park near my house. It's completely safe as far as crime goes. People don't get mugged or robbed, although they do have their cameras stolen out of their cars.

I wouldn't feel safer if I knew the kinds of fantasists who feel a need to carry guns in parks really were carrying guns.

Luckily, Hawaii has a strict 'place to keep' law and no concealed carry, so it will still be a hassle for the gun nuts to enjoy their new privilege.

No bears.
12.7.2008 2:01pm
whit:

the horror stories about police arrogance and brutality do seem to come disproportionately from the places where the laws and the authorities are strongly anti-gun. (Or selectively anti-gun, where the "never intended to be applied to the white population" attitude still lingers on.)



i don't know if i've seen evidence of this (haven't really looked into it), but it makes sense based on what i've experienced and read.

cops are certainly "special" in that they are tasked to be guardians, to run towards danger vs. away, etc. etc. but in societies (states etc.) where ONLY cops are viewed as special enough to be trusted with guns, it stands to reason that abuses of power would be more common than in places where the authority of citizens to do the same is respected.

i've worked in a (very liberal) jurisdiction where citizens have zero chance of getting permits to carry, and in a libertarian jurisdiction (purely due ot our state constitution. our legislature is profoundly nanny-state-collectivist-left-wing. this is a state that made online p0ker a C felony while encouraging people to use ind**n cas***s and other cas***s where they receive revenue, as well as publcially advertising state run l0ttery tickets) where right to carry is a given.

the dignity and rights of the citizenry to be responsbile for their own self-defense is CLEARLY greater here than in the gun-grabber jurisdiction.
12.7.2008 2:35pm
whit:

There's a national park near my house. It's completely safe as far as crime goes. People don't get mugged or robbed, although they do have their cameras stolen out of their cars.

I wouldn't feel safer if I knew the kinds of fantasists who feel a need to carry guns in parks really were carrying guns.

Luckily, Hawaii has a strict 'place to keep' law and no concealed carry, so it will still be a hassle for the gun nuts to enjoy their new privilege.

No bears.



this post is a perfect example of hoplophobia...

see for example "I wouldn't feel safer"/ as mentioned earlier, hoplophobes usually refer to their "feeling" and how they "feel" about guns, not data and/or beliefs. it's not about what you think, it's about emotion, the distaste of the evul gun, the "feeling" is paramount.


fantasists who feel a need to carry guns in parks really were carrying guns.


here we go again with the "need" fallacy, already debunked above in this thread. a common hoplophobic resort. the claim about "need". see for example, the fire insurance example.

fwiw, i used to hike and run haleakala crater quite frequently (i did 5ks, biathlons, etc. while on maui) and on occasion did carry there. haleakala is a national park.

it's not strictly true that hawaii has no concealed carry. it has the provisions for it, but the only way to get one is to get one from the county you live in, and they are dealt with purely politically. iow, if the mayor/police of chief WANT you to have one, you can get one. it takes political connections to get one. i was privy to everybody that had been issued one in the county of maui. HI like most liberal havens doesn't value privacy, let alone gun rights, when it comes to the evul that is guns in the hands of the hoi polloi

truly a freedom and liberty loving state lol.
12.7.2008 2:41pm
Carl in Chicago (mail):
Comments and perspectives are interesting.

A common theme is that 2A advocates/supporters bear arms out of paranoia. And knowing paranoid people are generally incapable of sound judgement, ergo, second amendment arguments may be dismissed. Quite the basis for a position and a foregone conclusion.

Another common theme is that "the left" opposes the repeal of this prohibition, and "the right" supports it. If true, that's flabbergasting. Like free speech, due process, equal rights for women, minorities, etc., bearing arms is a civil rights issue, an individual rights and choice issue, and as such the repeal of this prohibition ought be supported by both sides of the American political spectrum. In other words, opposition to restrictions of individual civil rights is something on which most of us can agree.

Are there risks associated with more legally-carried firearms in national parks? Perhaps, but nothing I worry about. All of our civil rights come with cost of some kind. Consider the 4A ... here in southside Chicago, communities would be MUCH safer if the CPD or National Guard simply detained and searched every young black male, siezing illegal drugs and guns, and locking up those in possession. But the 4A prohibits such onerous searches and seizures, even though it comes at a cost of diminished crime prevention. We must respect, protect, and promote all of our rights, and all of the time. The right to keep and bear arms is no different at all from any other fundamental civil rights, and it is something for everyone ... Dems and Reps and Independents ... to support.
12.7.2008 3:02pm
whit:

Are there risks associated with more legally-carried firearms in national parks?


yes. to criminals.
12.7.2008 3:51pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I wouldn't feel safer if I knew the kinds of fantasists who feel a need to carry guns in parks really were carrying guns."

Oh, dear. Is there anything we can do to make you feel safer? Your feelings matter.
12.7.2008 9:22pm
Bob Weaver:
Nate in Alice states:
"Moreover, the national park system provides a wilderness generally free from hunting, snowmobiling, guns, and other redneck pastimes. I'd hate to see national parks turn into national forests....where every local Chuck and Dick goes toting around firearms even in the absence of any real need..."

First off, the use of the term "redneck" immediately shows me that the person is of questionable character, and hence, I now take his statements as prejudice and offensive.

What I have noticed, disregarding his comments, is an intelligent discussion about the presence of concealed handguns.

What is interesting to me is that a large portion of the population has had quite extensive training in the use and safety of firearms. Most of the opponents of CCW want to purposefully disregard this fact. Currently serving, retired, and end of service military personnel have had this training and live among us every day. And most of the people that I find that own firearms are either ex military, or LEO's. I do not have a concern that people that have had such training, or those that have completed the CCW courses are in anyway a danger to anyone around them. Although, like the above poster, the anti-gun, anti-military, anti-police types, argue that those that have CCW's are a menace to society. I just cannot fathom where their arguments stem from other than "feelings". There exists no data anywhere to support their proposition. The data in all circumstances supports almost no illegal use or illegal brandishing of these lawfully acquired and permitted weapons. The criminals that are not legally able to posses firearms, yet possess and use them illegally, to commit illegal acts are the ones that constitute the majority of the gun related crimes. That is not only statistically supported, but common sense reasoning. But there is no logical or factual argument that can be put forth that would satisfy the "feelings" these anti-gun, anti-military, anti-police people have, I usually just shake my head and walk away.

Semper Fi
12.8.2008 6:31am
Loren (mail):
I grew up in Montana, and we almost annually traveled through, fished and camped in Yellowstone National Park. While the majority of the Park is in Wyoming, 3 of the 5 entrances are in Montana. Since this was pre-1976, my father legally carried a semi-automatic pistol every visit, without any permit at all. I don't think it ever left his holster.

At that time, grizzlies were pretty rare, but the black bears were somewhat of a nuisance. And bears are far from the only wildlife that you need to respect and appreciate only from a distance. Moose and buffalo are both very powerful and dangerous animals which are numerous in Yellowstone. I wouldn't want to encounter any of them at close proximity.

I never "felt" unsafe because of Dad's gun, in fact the opposite was true. And in that period, you rarely saw a ranger, outside any of the major sites (Old Faithful, Fishing Village, etc.) In fact, as a child, you never thought of a ranger as law enforcement.

I don't think that if you review the any pre-mid-seventies accounts of Yellowstone National Park, you will find any indication of widespread gun problems.
12.8.2008 1:25pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Nate in Alice:

"Moreover, the national park system provides a wilderness generally free from hunting, snowmobiling, guns, and other redneck pastimes. I'd hate to see national parks turn into national forests....where every local Chuck and Dick goes toting around firearms even in the absence of any real need..."

Snowmobiling is a "redneck" activity? Tell me, what is a redneck? I find your implication truly insulting. I guess it is now ok to refer to you as an intentionally ignorant idiot, right?

You know, the national parks are NOT YOUR PERSONAL PLAYGROUND, they are MINE and anyone else who wants to SHARE them. People like you are just unbelievable.

Moreover, for all I know, you are a criminal and that is why you are kicking so much about this rules change. I am well trained in the use of this particular tool. I know when it can be used, under what circumstances it can and cannot be used, etc. I am more than adept in its use.

Maybe your reticence is simply because you are unable to comprehend the USE of these tools or there are just too many moving parts for you to understand. I suspect this is the reason for all of the unfounded fear by the left. They just cannot understand that a metallic device is easy to use safely and expertly.

They also have a hard time thinking that "guns" are somehow infused with a soul. Well, you know what? I can lay a cocked and locked 45 on a table and yell epithets, racial slurs and expletives at it...... and it never points itself at me and fires. Do the same thing to a person and the result might be different. The real point being, in case you didn't get it, that the largest possible majority, short of an absolute 100 percent, of firearms owners are law-abiding citizens. If that individual is carrying a firearm in a national park, it doesn't make me feel less safe, it makes me feel more so..... I know they will come to my aid if the fertilizer is hitting the ventilator..... and that is a fact.

How about you? What are YOU going to do for anyone around you if they are being accosted in a national park? Nothing? Yeah, that is what I thought. Oh, and before you open your mouth, take into account the simple fact that I saved a young kid from being killed by a mountain lion about 9 years ago....... another minute or two and it would have been too late, he was already chewed to bits. I killed that cat and got that kid the help he needed. That god the kid wasn't being watched by you, eh?
12.8.2008 2:03pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Interesting. So, to steal from Buckley, who would rather be governed by? Two thousand rednecks or the faculty of Harvard?
12.8.2008 3:35pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Elliot123.
Give me the 1000 "rednecks" any day of the week! :) :)
12.8.2008 3:53pm
Spartacus (www):
I hope the Post Office is next.
12.8.2008 5:26pm
Kirk:
OT: Eugene, how about a report on last Friday's debate with the representative from Brady?
12.8.2008 5:35pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Harry Eager: "...Luckily, Hawaii has a strict 'place to keep' law and no concealed carry, ..."

Uh, NO! (on both counts)

You are right, tho, no bears or snakes, except those of the two legged variety. I suppose you are going to tell us there is no murder there or in the Parks, right? Careful..... I lived there.....
12.8.2008 6:44pm
ForWhatItsWorth:
Nate in Alice:

YOu said, "The chance you'll NEED a gun is miniscule compared to the chance that some gun-toting law-abiding citizen will hurt someone or something with their legal gun..."

Really? Prove it with statistics from the FBI or the National Safety Council. Anything "Brady" is not valid as a source.


You said, "...Doubtful these nervous nellies trek too far into the backcountry anyway..."

Really? Sounds like you haved never trekked into the real backcountry..... like Alaska around Salmon time.

YOu said, "...Also, where is the evidence of crime in the backcountry that justifies the need for guns? Funny that it simply doesn't happen. Incredibly, incredibly rare...."

Really? The park service, in deciding this issue, seems to directly contradict you in that statement. Funny that. Are you more experienced than them in this arena? I seriously doubt it.

You said, "...The pro-gunners sound incredibly paranoid to me...."

Really? You sound like someone who would not take the opportunity to help someone is deep trouble. I'd bet you would let a policeman help you, tho, even if it meant HE or SHE would have to kill someone, right? That is called hypocrisy, by the way.

You said, "...Not to mention, serious hikers would consider carrying a gun ridiculous considering the weight-to-utility ratio. Weight would be better spent on an emergency transponder. Guns are like pacifiers--only babies need them in the backcountry."

Really? I think emergency transponders are silly. People who count on them doing the job are sillier still. Oh, babies aren't allowed to have firearms..... guess you don't know the law, either. With regard to their necessity, read my other post above. I am not the only person who has saved a life, their own or someone else's, due to the fact that I/we were carrying firearms.

I have had to use mine twice in the woods (in my life). Once for a friend and once for the child of a third party. Both were animal attacks, unprovoked. Both of those people would have been dead if I had not been present. I dare say that my friend thanks his lucky stars that I was armed. The parents of the child certainly did..... I get a Christmas card from them every year..... without fail.

So why don't you take your unfounded fear of those nasty guns and tell them I shouldn't have been armed..... You are silly.
12.8.2008 7:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
OK, I'll tell you there is no murder in Haleakala National Park. In fact, despite our mostly gunless existence, there hasn't been a homicide (other than vehicular) anywhere in the county for over 2 years.

As for Hawaii Volcanoes N.P., I cannot recall a murder there but I don't follow it as closely. People get cooked there from time to time, but shot, almost never.

A cop shot a nut with a samurai sword a few years ago, but he didn't die.

You have to go back about 10 years to the last firearms homicide, 2 drunks exercising their 2nd Amendment rights out in the backcountry.
12.8.2008 11:09pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
For whit's benefit, I should have added that hoplophobia has nothing to do with it. I do have data. I reviewed all the deaths in the parks over the previous 10 years last year.

There were many: plane and helicopter crashes, falls, drownings. Nothing that amounted to a crime.

I wouldn't feel safer if there were guns in the park because it is already safe.
12.8.2008 11:13pm
whit:
harry, you do realize that a gun prevents crimes OTHER than homicide, nu?

rape, robbery, etc.

personally, i was robbed (and socked in the face several times) while in maui. i was not armed at the time. i was working deep undercover and prohibited from carrying. i survived quite well, thanks.

a tourist wasn't so lucky. the same perp's put the guy in intensive care.

etc.
etc.

i am well aware that maui's murder rate is quite low. i was a police officer there for years. my point is that my carrying in the park did not increase the likelihood of crime being committed. it DECREASED it.

and as long as you and nate in alice post by calling people "rednecks" "fantasists" and using other incendiary language, i will refer to you peeps as hoplophobes. hth

as somebody else pointed out, the parks belong to EVERYBODY and people don't give up their constitutional rights upon entering same.

that's what it comes down to.

you are free NOT to carry if you so choose. you are not free to dictate to others that they should not carry, and thankfully the law has come around to the side of liberty and personal responsibility.
12.9.2008 4:52am
ForWhatItsWorth:
Harry: "...OK, I'll tell you there is no murder in Haleakala National Park. In fact, despite our mostly gunless existence, there hasn't been a homicide (other than vehicular) anywhere in the county for over 2 years...."

Sure, if I point to a particular county or smaller area, I can surely find a place where homicides haven't occurred. Heck, inside my home..... none, ever in the history of the house. Wow, guess I don't need a firearm there, right?

Get a grip. Homicide isn't the only violent crime and you are limiting it to a particular county in Hawaii. How about ALL of Hawaii? How about assaults and rapes in the parks. How about missing persons?

I suspect that more than one body has been dumped in a flow. So you cannot even say that homicides in the park have not occurred. If you have any missing persons, it is quite likely they are located in one. The parks are large.......

Harry, I agree that parks in general are pretty safe places to be. But that isn't even close to ironclad. Your state is NOT gunless or even nearly so. I hunted there often when I lived there. Lots of people own firearms in Hawaii. What planet are you from? Still, what makes you think that you are less safe because criminals won't be the only armed people in parks? Now the law-abiding will be armed if they so desire.

This ruling isn't a free-for-all. As usual the anti-gun alarmists, paranoid as they are, fail to see the obvious. It is STILL against the law to discharge that firearm in the park. If one IS discharged, the person doing so had better have a life/death reason for having done so. The presence doesn't mean the use...... Hopefully nobody will ever have to use one in a park setting. I suspect that will be the case and that most people won't even know that someone is carrying...... which is the whole idea actually.
12.9.2008 10:47am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Rapes and robberies are unknown in the park, too, whit. I know you guys like to fantasize about how you would step in and save the day, but there is no day to be saved. Haleakala N.P. is real place, not a comic book. That's why I call you fantasists.

On Maui, you are much more likely to be eaten by a shark than to be shot.

I didn't say it is illegal to carry a gun in the park. I said it is unnecessary and that it wouldn't make me feel safer.

I've said before that I gave up hunting because of the drinking. I have been in the presence of too many gun accidents and near-accidents (my best friend failed to be shot in the belly only because a primer didn't ignite) to assume that a law-abiding person with a gun is less likely to shoot me than a law-breaker with a gun.

Rather the reverse, in fact. A law-breaker would usually have to have a reason to bother to shoot me. A fantasist could do it for no reason at all.
12.9.2008 1:54pm
whit:

Harry, I agree that parks in general are pretty safe places to be. But that isn't even close to ironclad. Your state is NOT gunless or even nearly so. I hunted there often when I lived there. Lots of people own firearms in Hawaii. What planet are you from? Still, what makes you think that you are less safe because criminals won't be the only armed people in parks? Now the law-abiding will be armed if they so desire.



the point isn't whether parks are safe, very safe, extremely safe, etc. i've already addressed this. assume they are super extra special incredibly safe. so what? one doesn't give up one's rights to something just because it is rare.

do we not allow people to carry in exclusive high income low crime neighborhoods, because their risk is smaller?

i've already addressed the ridiculous "need" argument. and i have never claimed that national parks are particularly dangerous, let alone haleakala.

this is a RIGHTS argument.

as another rare, but important analogy.

i am training in CPR. the chance of my encountering somebody (off-duty) who needs CPR is very small. does this mean people don't "need" CPR training? well, that's irrelevant. it's a good thing to have, and if i never need it, great. but if i do, i'm prepared (i've done CPR 4 times, but that's cause i was a lifeguard, cop and firefighter).

it's quite likely i could go to haleakala every day of the year for 20 yrs and never once "need" my gun

and of course this is COMPLETELY irrelevant to the fact that i should have the right to carry it and not cede my constitutional rights upon entering the holy and rarefied atmosphere of a national park
12.9.2008 4:06pm
whit:

A law-breaker would usually have to have a reason to bother to shoot me. A fantasist could do it for no reason at all.



here we go with the hoplophobe language again.

a "fantasist" could shoot you, fwiw, regardless of whether it's legal to carry in the park. again, these laws deter only the law abiding.

you miss that point

and you talk yet again about your feelings

"it wouldn't make me feel safer."

this is not about your feelings. it's about our rights.

i repeat, i have never claimed haleakala national park (or maui in general) are particularly dangerous. i have repeatedly said - it's COMPLETLEY irrelevant.

just as my risk of needing a gun in haleakala is very very rare, my risk of needing fire insurance is VERY VERY rare. yet, i carry fire insurance to protect my investment. even though i almost certainly will never need it.

same deal.

your feelings are irrelevant to whether people's rights matter. they do.

here's the great thing. this is about CHOICE. if you don't want to carry a gun, don't.

if you "feel" that people in a national park shouldn't have guns, then whinge all you want, but your feelings don't get to dictate other's rights.
12.9.2008 4:11pm

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