On September 21, Senators Jim Webb (D-Va.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced S. 1588 -- “The Recreational Land Self –Defense Act.” S. 1588 is the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1865, and is designed to protect the rights of gun owners on lands owned or managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Legislation that made it legal to possess firearms for self-defense on National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System lands greatly expanded the places where law-abiding Americans can legally carry firearms for self-defense. However, that change in the law did not include millions of acres of recreational land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps owns or manages over 11.7 million acres, including 400 lakes and river projects, 90,000 campsites, and 4,000 miles of trails.
After passage of the change in carry regulations for National Parks, the Army Corps released a statement that read: “Public Law 111-024 does not apply to Corps projects of facilities . . . It [the Army Corps] will continue to prohibit loaded concealed weapons on Corps properties regardless of the new law and notwithstanding any contrary provisions of state law.”
S. 1588 will reverse this Army Corps policy and prohibit the Secretary of the Army from enforcing any regulation that prohibits gun possession in compliance with state law on Corps projects and lands. The legislation would not, however, allow firearms in federal facilities such as Army Corps headquarters, Corps research facilities, or lock and dam buildings.
This important legislation is another step in the removal of a patchwork of laws that prohibit or restrict where law-abiding people may legally carry a firearm for self-defense.
“Gun owners need to know that they can exercise their Second Amendment rights when they are legally camping, hiking or fishing in our nation’s parks and recreational lands,” said Senator Webb. “This bipartisan bill would provide consistent rules for all federal lands rather than the current patchwork of regulations where the Army Corps has different rules than the Parks Service.”
"Gun owners must be allowed to defend themselves on federal lands. This is important to protecting our constitutional rights and we owe it to law abiding gun owners to address this national gun issue,” said Senator Boozman.
Please contact your Senators and thank them if they have signed on to this important bill. Or, if they are not yet cosponsors, please urge your Senators to sign on in support of S. 1588.