Fairfax, Va. - At the request of the Bush Administration and 51 members of the United States Senate led by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prohibition of firearms on agency land will be revised in the following weeks. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is leading the effort to amend the existing policy regarding the carrying and transportation of firearms in National Parks and wildlife refuges.
“Law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves and their families while enjoying America’s National Parks and wildlife refuges,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “Under this proposal, federal parks and wildlife refuges will mirror the state firearm laws for state parks. This is an important step in the right direction.”
These new regulations, when finalized, will provide uniformity across our nation’s federal lands and put an end to the patchwork of regulations that governed different lands managed by different federal agencies. In the past, only Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while National Park lands did not.
The current regulations on possession, carry or transportation of loaded or uncased firearms in national parks were proposed in 1982 and finalized in 1983. Similar restrictions apply in national wildlife refuges. The NRA believes it is 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The effect of these now-outdated regulations on people who carry firearms for self-protection was far from the forefront at the time these regulations were adopted.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 citizens to carry handguns for self-defense. Currently, 48 states have a process for issuance of licenses or permits to allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry firearms for self-defense.
The move for regulatory change by the Administration will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes in most National Park lands and will make the laws consistent with state law where these lands are located. Fifty-one U.S. Senators from both parties sent a letter to the Department of Interior late last year supporting the move to render state firearms laws applicable to National Park lands.
“These changes will respect the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens, and we look forward to the issuance of a final rule this year,” concluded Cox.
For more information about this issue please see these articles:
Pursuing Safety: Half of Senate Backs Firearms in 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