From the Washington Post:
A federal judge yesterday blocked a last-minute rule enacted by President George W. Bush allowing visitors to national parks to carry concealed weapons.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by gun-control advocates and environmental groups. The Justice Department had sought to block the injunction against the controversial rule.
The three groups that brought the suit -- the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees -- argued that the Bush action violated several laws.
In her ruling, Kollar-Kotelly agreed that the government's process had been "astoundingly flawed."
She noted that the government justified its decision to forgo an environmental analysis on the grounds that the rule does not "authorize" environmental impacts. Calling this a "tautology," she wrote that officials "abdicated their Congressionally-mandated obligation" to evaluate environmental impacts and "ignored (without sufficient explanation) substantial information in the administrative record concerning environmental impacts" of the rule. ...
NRA-ILA has the judge's ruling here.
The Washington Times reports that the NRA has appealed the injunction order:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Rifle Association on Friday appealed a federal court ruling that blocked a Bush administration policy allowing people to carry concealed, loaded guns in national parks.
The decision, issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, halted a regulation from the waning days of the Bush administration. The rule, which took effect in January, allowed visitors to carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge as long as the person had a permit for a concealed weapon and the state where the park or refuge was located allowed concealed firearms. Previously, guns in parks had been severely restricted.
Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, said the group will pursue all legal and legislative options. The NRA had pushed for the Bush rule change and was granted legal standing in a lawsuit brought by gun-control advocates and environmental groups. ...
Columnist asks: how does self-defense harm the environment?
Do concealed handguns contribute to air pollution? There are more than a dozen national parks and wildlife refuges in Georgia, and now your right to bear arms in Georgia’s national parks and refuges has been swept away by a federal judge in Washington DC. Yesterday, United States District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered Kenneth L. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, not to implement the new regulation that permits loaded, concealed firearms on national park and wildlife refuges until the Court can make a final decision on whether to enjoin the new regulation permanently. This new regulation had taken effect on January 9, 2009 and removed a ban on such weapons.
The inaptly named "Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence" sued three days before the new rule took effect, claiming that the Department of the Interior, which oversees national parks and wildlife refuges, had failed to study the environmental impact of the new rule. Judge Kollar-Kotelly agreed, finding that the Department of the Interior and the Secretary "abdicated their Congressionally mandated obligation to evaluate all reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts."
So what is the environmental impact that a concealed, holstered pistol might have in a park? Judge Kollar-Kotelly answers this question by explaining "that persons who possess concealed, loaded, and operable firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges will use them for any number of reasons, including self-defense against persons and animals." In other words, Judge Kollar-Kotelly believes that your right to self defense is harmful to the environment. ...
David Codrea weighs in:
... But perhaps I'm being unfair. After all, these are isolated incidents--over years. Sure I could find more. But all in all, national parks are probably pretty safe.
How many children died in school fires in this country last year? Would anyone seriously propose that we take that as a guarantee of statistical safety, and dismantle sprinkler and alarm systems as unneeded?
I have a thought experiment. Imagine Colleen Kollar-Kotelly and Sarah Brady alone together in the wilderness, having backpacked miles from the nearest ranger facility. Now imagine an immediate threat--one that's been stalking them with deadly intent--confronts them, confident it has the advantage. Imagine this threat is capable of outrunning them and overpowering them. Imagine this threat has savage murder on its mind. Imagine the only thing that will stop this threat is lethal force--or the realization that they possess such capabilities.
And they've come up short.
Imagine their only option is to plead and beg and cry and then howl in fear and pain when that doesn't work. It's happened to others, you know, and based on policies these two promulgate, it will happen to more. And they'd rather it did than the victims be armed. ...