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National Parks to Allow Concealed Carry

Friday, December 5, 2008

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has announced the final amended version of its changes to rules on carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges.  DOI’s 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 public lands are located.  NRA led the effort to amend the existing policy regarding the carrying and transportation of firearms on these federal lands.

“Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of the Interior brings clarity and uniformity for law-abiding gun owners visiting our national parks,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  “We are pleased that the Interior Department recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families while enjoying America's National Parks and wildlife refuges.”

DOI announced the rule change today and will publish the new regulations in the Federal Register.  The new regulations allow right-to-carry permit holders to exercise their Second Amendment rights on national park and wildlife refuges in those states that recognize such permits.  The move will provide consistency 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, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while lands managed by DOI did not.

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.  Earlier this year, fifty-one U.S. Senators sent a strong bipartisan letter to the DOI 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 as they enjoy our public lands,” concluded Cox. “We applaud the Interior Department’s efforts to amend these out of date regulations.”

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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.