Concealed Carry in National Parks

As you probably know, it is currently (almost always) illegal to carry a weapon in a National Park, even if you have a concealed weapons permit. Georgia recently changed the law for state parks, and National Forests follow local state law. In response to a letter from 51 U.S. Senators, the Department of the Interior has published a proposed change to the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge rules. The proposed change is a big improvement, but it doesn’t really go far enough. They are currently calling for comments and you have until the end of the month to make them. Here is a suggested comment from VCDL:

The proposed rule falls far short of what Senator Crapo’s letter to DOI on December 14th, 2007 requested. The letter, signed by 51 Senators, asked that National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges assimilate the host state’s gun laws.

The rule also falls far short of the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s Petition for Rule Making sent to DOI and dated January 19, 2008. Like Senator Crapo’s letter, the Petition, representing over one million gun owners, requested that the gun laws for the host state be assimilated.

The proposed rule needs to assimilate state law in a similar manner as National Forests do for the lawful carry of weapons for self-defense. That would make the rules for such carriage of self-defense weapons in National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests the same and consistent with the laws of the state surrounding the parks and refuges.

Please change the wording of the rules as follows, which would make the regulation of carry commensurate with standards of the host state, while removing the nebulous and confusing wording about “similar lands.” Existing poaching laws will serve to deter poaching in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, just as they do on state land:

“A person may possess, carry, and transport loaded, and operable firearms or other weapons within a national park area in the same manner, and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and transport loaded and operable firearms or other weapons in the state in which the federal park, or that portion thereof, is located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law.”

And for National Wildlife Refuges:

“A person may possess, carry, and transport loaded, and operable firearms or other weapons within a national wildlife refuge area in the same manner, and to the same extent, that a person may lawfully possess, carry, and transport loaded and operable firearms or other weapons in the state in which the federal wildlife refuge, or that portion thereof, is located, provided that such possession, carrying and transporting otherwise complies with applicable federal and state law.”

Click here to submit comments and view the full text of the proposed changes. There are only a few days left, so go ahead and send your comments right away.

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