Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National parks prepare for end of gun ban

Article from a Kentucky news site on the eventual end of the ban on lawful carry in national parks, scheduled to end in February of 2010:
Mammoth Cave National Park has long banned guns from its underground treasures, saying that keeps the public and employees safe.

"Once you get inside a cave tour, there are not a lot of exits — you can be two miles from an exit, and half a mile from a phone," said supervisory park ranger Brad McDougal.

But legislation passed by Congress in April, and signed by President Barack Obama, is intended to open national park, as well as federal wildlife refuges, to people carrying loaded guns, making "it clear that the Second Amendment rights of an individual should not be infringed."

It remains unclear, however, how far the new law will extend gun rights in national parks and federal wildlife refuges.

At Mammoth Cave National Park, for example, it's not certain whether the new law means guns will be allowed inside the park's cave — known for its gypsum lined passages, narrow canyons, large rooms, and dripstone formations — or in the park's visitor center and staff offices, or whether they'll only be allowed in campgrounds, or on roads, trails and in the backcountry of the 82-square-mile natural and historical preserve 75 miles south of Louisville.

That's because federal attorneys are still sorting through legal issues, including how the new law can work with an existing general ban on guns in federal facilities.

At Mammoth Cave park, officials have deemed the cave, park offices and the visitor center to be a "federal facility," but not campgrounds and trails, McDougal said.

So, "We are waiting for guidance from Washington" he said. ...

Article here. The anti-gun hippies who run the National Park Service will try to keep as much of the current anti-gun rules in place as they can. Trying to designate Mammoth Cave itself as a "federal facility", which would allow NPS to keep its gun ban rule, is one such tactic.

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