Friday, July 3, 2009

No Guns

For those guns rights advocates who cheered when Congress passed and President Obama signed the Credit Card legislation into law with the amendment rewriting the regulations governing guns in National Parks where you can, supposedly, carry a loaded weapon in the National Parks and wildlife refuges, you'll be disappointed to realize the law doesn't go into effect until February 2010, and until then guns are not allowed in National Parks except as already defined, unloaded and secured in vehicles.

Congress decided this will give the opponents time challenge the law in court or give Congress the right to introduce legislation this fall to, hopefully, rescind it. Considering the backlash the change has created from the National Park Service itself, the organization of retired park rangers, and the many people who visit the National Parks, it's likely amendments will be introduced to attach to larger bills to do just that, return things to normal.

And already people carrying weapons in the National Parks have been stopped and informed to follow the regulations. And it is important to remember the law does not apply to buildings in national parks. You can't carry them into visitors centers, museums, restaurants, lodges, etc. That's a different federal law that applies to all federal buildings. The new law only applies to the land.

I've made my view obvious. Guns aren't necessary in National Parks. The facts of history are there. They're not necessary for personal security or safety. That's why park rangers are there. And in National Parks where it's essential to carry a loaded weapon, meaning Alaska, it's obvious and some of those places also require guides. I've been hiking Mt. Rainier National Park on and off since the late 1970's and every spring-to-fall since the early 1990's, and have never needed a gun.

It's that simple. All the milliions of visitors have proven guns aren't necessary or even needed or wanted. And the change in the law wasn't necessary, and hopefully will over rescinded. Until then remember to follow the rules for guns in Mt. Rainier National Park. That's your civic duty to all of us.

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