Fairfax, Va. - The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, today issued a proposed rule to amend regulations prohibiting firearms in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. The National Rifle Association (NRA) led the effort to amend the existing policy regarding the carrying and transportation of firearms on these federal lands.
“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 This is an important step in the right direction, and we applaud efforts to amend the out-of-date regulations.”
The proposed rule was filed today and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, and can be found online at: http://federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2008-09606_PI.pdf. It provides sixty days for public comment.
These new regulations 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 lands managed by DOI 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 has long held that amendments to those regulations were needed to reflect the changed legal situations with respect to state laws on carrying firearms.
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 issuing licenses or permits to allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry firearms for self-defense. Two states do not require permits, 38 states have a “shall-issue” permit process, and eight have a discretionary process for issuing permits.
This move will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, and will make federal law consistent with the state law in which these lands are located. Fifty-one U.S. Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of the Interior supporting the move to make state firearms laws applicable to National Park lands and refuges.
“These changes respect the Second Amendment rights of honest citizens, and we are pleased that the Department of Interior is recognizing the authority of state right-to-carry laws,” concluded Cox.
NRA members should take this opportunity to help write our nation’s laws, by submitting comments until June 30. Members should submit comments online here, or mail comments to:
Public Comments Processing
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.