Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Hunting

Update On Right-To-Carry In National Parks And Wildlife Refuges

Friday, February 15, 2008

The current regulations on possession of firearms in national parks--which generally prohibit possession, carry or transportation of loaded or uncased firearms--were proposed in 1982 and finalized in 1983.  Similar restrictions apply in national wildlife refuges.  It is now time to amend those regulations to reflect the changed legal situation with respect to state laws on carrying firearms. 

The effect of these now-outdated regulations on people who carry firearms for self-protection was far from the forefront at the time these regulations were adopted.  As of the end of 1982, only six states routinely allowed average citizens to carry handguns for self-defense.  Now, 48 states have a process for issuance of licenses or permits to carry firearms, and 40 of those states provide the opportunity for average citizens to legally carry firearms for self-defense. 

Starting in 2003, NRA staff began meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior to change this regulation and allow state law to govern the carrying and transportation of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges -- as it does in national forests and on BLM lands.  There was little resistance to such a policy change but also little action to make this change.  Bureaucrats involved in this issue would move on and others would replace them, needing to be educated from scratch about the need and importance for this change. 

As the second term of the Bush administration began in 2005, there was more of a sense of urgency to get this regulation changed given the uncertainty of the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.  NRA asked several key Members of Congress, by virtue of their leadership roles as committee or subcommittee chairmen, to write letters to then-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in support of this policy change.  All of those letters went unanswered. 

After the 2006 elections, NRA asked House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ranking Member Don Young (R-AK) to write another letter in March of 2007 requesting revision to the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) to apply state law regarding concealed weapons statutes in National Park Service (NPS) areas and National Wildlife Refuges.  Eight months later, they finally received a “thanks but no thanks” response from National Park Service Director Mary Bomar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall. 

In January of 2007, NPS Visitor and Resource Protection Associate Director Karen Taylor-Goodrich wrote in a letter that “(1) Parks are safe places,” “(2) 'Right to carry’ laws do not reduce crime,” and “(3) ‘Right to carry’ laws do not protect visitors from wildlife.” 

On December 14, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and 46 of his Senate colleagues (including eight Democrats) sent a letter to former Idaho Governor and now Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking for the restoration of the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm for self-defense in national parks and wildlife refuges.  (NRA-ILA initiated and worked closely with Senator Crapo on this letter.)  

Two months later, there had been no response from Kempthorne.  So on February 11, four more Senators sent another letter to Kempthorne requesting this same policy change.  Now 51 Senators -- a majority of the upper chamber of the United States Congress -- have publicly sought this regulatory change. 

Finally, Kempthorne appeared on February 13 before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and on February 14 before the House Natural Resources Committee, for the annual department oversight hearings.  Members of both committees asked Kempthorne about the delay in responding to the letters from 51 Senators, and the Department’s position on allowing those with valid state licenses or permits, to carry firearms in national parks.  Following his admission that some parks are unsafe due to drug trafficking, Kempthorne was pressed on the need to allow law-abiding citizens the opportunity to legally carry firearms in national parks for personal protection and whether he believed that Right-to-Carry doesn’t reduce crime. 

Congress has rightly become frustrated over the years of inaction at Interior.  Members of both houses have introduced legislation -- H.R. 5434 by Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and S. 2619 by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) -- within the past week to change the policy relating to carrying and transportation of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. 

The U.S. Congress and NRA are anxiously awaiting a response from the Interior Department.

For more information about this issue please see these articles:

Pursuing Safety in National Parks

Pursuing Safety: Half of Senate Backs Firearms in Parks

Our View: Federal Lands Should Have Consistent Gun Rules

Crapo Leads Charge to Allow Guns in Parks

Discussing Rights: Reason, Not Emotion, Should Rule The Day

Easing Gun Ban Could Reduce Crime In National Parks

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne Testifies Before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee and Responds to Questions from Congress Regarding National Park Service Rules that Prohibit Law-Abiding Citizens from Carrying/Possessing Firearms for Self-Defense in National Parks

TRENDING NOW
Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Urban Myth: Crime Doesn’t Pay – California City Authorizes Stipends to Gang Members

In a special meeting on August 29, the nine-member City Council of Sacramento unanimously agreed to allocate $1.5 million in funding and to move forward with a “gun-violence reduction strategy” that will include cash payments ...

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone

Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative ...

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reuniting The United States With Reciprocity

Most concealed-carry permit holders understand the potential pitfalls of traveling with a firearm, given the outrageous patchwork of state laws involved in even a short interstate trip. And while we haven’t posted much about reciprocity ...

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

Hunting  

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

House Committee Passes SHARE Act by Wide Margin

As we have reported, this year’s version of the SHARE Act is the most expansive and far-reaching yet. Besides previously-introduced provisions aimed at enhancing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and shooting and broadening access to federal lands ...

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Concealed Carry Legislation Scheduled for Committee Vote This Week

This Tuesday, September 19, Senate Bill 169 is scheduled for a vote during the executive session in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 169 would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license ...

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

News  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NRA Backed SHARE Act Passes Committee

“Today marks an important step in protecting the Second Amendment freedoms of America’s hunters and sportsmen and strengthening our outdoor heritage,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The SHARE Act will cut burdensome red tape that restricts ...

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

News  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bloomberg Spending Millions To Elect Anti-Gun Virginia Governor

Billionaire anti-gunner Michael Bloomberg is at it again, pledging to spend $1 million through his gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety in an attempt to impact Virginia’s upcoming elections for governor and attorney general.

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

News  

Hunting  

Friday, September 8, 2017

NRA Applauds Reintroduction and Expansion of SHARE Act

On Sept. 1, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan introduced H.R. 3668, the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), a wide-ranging package of legislation aimed at promoting Second Amendment rights and America’s outdoor sporting traditions.

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Washington Post’s Resident Anti-Gun Zealot Parades his Ignorance in SHARE Act Column

Dana Milbank is not a serious journalist. A former White House correspondent for the Washington Post, Milbank now writes what can be characterized as a humor column for the paper.

“What Happened”: Clinton Recognizes NRA’s Power, Rewrites History, and Urges Dems to Double-down on Gun Control

News  

Friday, September 15, 2017

“What Happened”: Clinton Recognizes NRA’s Power, Rewrites History, and Urges Dems to Double-down on Gun Control

This week, twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her new book, “What Happened,” which chiefly serves to assign blame to the myriad politicians, journalists, organizations, countries, prejudices, and technologies she claims caused her defeat. Gun ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.