Thursday, May 21, 2009

Really Stupid

Update July 3rd.-- The law does not take effect until February 2010. See column on latest news.

Update.--The amendment attached to the Credit Car bill was passed by both house and signed by the President. So now, it's a really stupid law and a stupid act by the President too. He should have vetoed the bill and asked the amendment be striped. Or else it shows how little he cares about our National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges to make them save for visitors. The need for this amendment has never been proven.

Original Post.-- Congress has proven how stupid a bunch of elected representatives can be by ignoring the popular view, their constituents, and pandering to a minority of extremists who want the right to take a gun anywhere just because they can, and they're backed by one of the most extremist lobby, the NRA. Congress passed an amendment (HR 1684) to the Credit Card bill passed by both houses with a clear veto-proof majority to ensure the amendment becomes law.

There is almost nothing as stupid or necessary and the right to allow people to walk around with concealed loaded firearms in a National Park. This amenedment is opposed by a coalition of all the NP Superintendents, the active and retired NP rangers, and various other groups who would have to live with this law.

And it's the last place we need people with guns. With all the visitors going to NP, including many from foreign countries, do we really want to put everyone at risk because any visitor could have a gun? Do we want to put every background and law enforcement ranger at risk when they do their job? Do we want to put every backcountry hiker at risk? Simply because someone has a gun?

The worst place you want to worry about others is in the backcountry. Allowing gun owners to carry guns in NP is just one step away from them using them in the backcountry for a variety of reasons. Is that what Congress intends, to instill fear in every visitor to a National Park? In every backcountry hiker who may encounter someone using a gun in the backcountry?

This bill is legalized intimidation by gun owners. It's not about the Second Amendment. It's about a group of extremist pushing a political agenda into areas it's unnecessary simply because they want to and can. This isn't the wild west anymore. It's about being smart, civilized and respecting the rights of others to be safe and secure, especially in a place they go to enjoy nature, a National Park.

If this bill becomes laws, I see two things happening. One, it will be challenged in court as the Bush rule was challenged and won. And two, it won't take very long for someone to be arrested for using a gun in a NP or Wildlife Refuge, just because they wanted to target practice, shoot wildlife, or just scare people.

Maybe the NP should put a sign at every entrance now, "A person can carry a concealed loaded weapon in a National Park. Enter at your own risk." Is that the message Congress intended? Or were there minds out to lunch and their wallets getting fat on NRA money? Obviously Congress didn't have American in mind with this bill.

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