Monday, December 8, 2008

Final rule announced for concealed carry in National Parks

On Friday, the Department of the Interior released its final rule allowing concealed carry in National Parks.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
WASHINGTON - People will soon be able to carry concealed, loaded guns in most national parks and wildlife refuges.

The Bush administration said Friday it is overturning a 25-year-old federal rule that severely restricts loaded guns in national parks.

Under a rule to take effect in January, visitors will be able to carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge — but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows concealed firearms.

The new rule goes further than a draft proposal issued last spring and would allow concealed weapons even in parks located in states that explicitly ban the carrying of guns in state parks. Some states allow concealed weapons but also ban guns from parks.

"If you can carry (a gun) on Main Street, you are allowed to carry in a national park," said Chris Paolino. a spokesman for the Interior Department.

Article here.

Naturally, the usual list of anti-gun politicians and special interest groups objected:
A group representing park rangers, retirees and conservation organizations said the rule change will lead to confusion for visitors, rangers and other law enforcement agencies.

"Once again, political leaders in the Bush administration have ignored the preferences of the American public by succumbing to political pressure, in this case generated by the National Rifle Association," said Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

"This regulation will put visitors, employees and precious resources of the National Park System at risk. We will do everything possible to overturn it and return to a commonsense approach to guns in national parks that has been working for decades," Wade said.
[] Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the new rule was a mistake.

"The Reagan-era rules have stood the test of time and make our national parks safe for all who visit them," Feinstein said. "The Bush administration changes will make our national parks more dangerous and will upset the delicate balance that exists between park visitors and wildlife."

And whether the incoming Obama administration will seek to overturn the new rule is yet to be seen:

Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, said no decision had been made on the gun rule.

"President-elect Obama will review all eleventh-hour regulations and will address them once he is president," he said.

The rule will be published in the Federal Register this week, but is available from the DOI website here.

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