On Thursday, April 2, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) introduced legislation (S.816) to restore the Second Amendment rights of visitors in national parks and wildlife refuges (its companion bill, H.R. 1684 was introduced last week by Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). The current Department of the Interior (DOI) regulations were amended by the Bush Administration in 2008, allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by carrying a concealed firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges. However, early this year, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. granted anti-gun plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against implementation of the new rule. The NRA has been working for the past several years in the regulatory, legal, and legislative arenas to achieve this policy change.
"NRA would like to thank this bi-partisan group of Senators for leading the legislative effort to strengthen Right-to-Carry laws on federal parklands. Senator Crapo has been at the forefront of this fight from the very beginning, along with Senator Baucus," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "NRA is committed to changing the old, outdated rule, and will continue to work aggressively with Congress to pass this critical legislation. NRA will continue to pursue every avenue to defend the American people's right of self-defense."
This bill would 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 and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while National Parks and Wildlife Refuges did not.
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.
"This is a common-sense measure. Senators Crapo, Baucus, Bennett, Tester and Lincoln should be commended for their efforts to allow law-abiding gun owners the option of protecting themselves in our federal parks and refuges. This legislation will amend out-of-date regulations and restore the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners," concluded Cox.