Back in June we wrote a post about the possible rule change on carrying a weapon in National Parks. As you may remember, National Forests have long had a rule allowing concealed carry if you can legally carry in the state. National Parks just had a general ban, with only some narrow exceptions for hunting in certain places at certain times. Many National Parks are in cities any you may cross into one just driving down the street. For example, you might be driving down Monroe Dr./Boulevard Dr. from Piedmont Park to Grant Park on a nice sunny afternoon and little do you know, but you’ve just entered Martin Luthor King Jr. National Park. If you had a weapon, you could be in some serious trouble. At the other extreme, there are National Parks encompassing vast areas of wilderness (Wrangell-St. Elias is over 13,000 square miles and 20 are over 2000 square miles) where the nearest ranger may be several hundred miles away. You may be unlikely to run into a criminal there, but that will be of little comfort to you if you do and were required to be unarmed.
Thankfully, things are different now. The National Park Service and the Department of the Interior have just published the new Final Rule (PDF), under which you can now carry in National Parks to the same extent that you can carry in the state. The original proposed rule had an ambiguous clause referring to “similar lands,” which was never defined. Our earlier post asked that you comment on this proposed rule and support it but ask that the similar lands requirement be stricken. If you wrote in, pat yourself on the back because they removed that clause. You can also thank the 51 US Senators that wrote to the Department of the Interior to request this change, and VCDL for getting the ball rolling on this one. The NRA, our own GeorgiaCarry.org, and other gun rights organizations were also instrumental in getting the rule change passed, so thanks to all of them, too. And thanks to all of you who wrote positive comments on the proposed rule change this summer!
Here’s the DOI Press Release.