The long-standing prohibition on firearms in National Parks was lifted today.
Firearms now legal in some National Parks
The new law, which went into effect this morning, mirrors state law. Simply put, you can now possess firearms in a National Park under the same state laws that govern firearms in the rest of that state.
The actual law reads:
(b) Protecting the Right of Individuals To Bear arms in Units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System.--The Secretary of the Interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System if--
(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm; and
(2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located.
The truth is we don't really know how the National Park Service is going to apply the law. Often, the bureaucrats on the ground don’t really know the law and end up randomly enforcing what they “want” and not always what is law.
For the time being one thing we know is true; you can now posses a firearm in a National Park, so long as you are in compliance with the state law where the park is located.
The legislation in question, H.R. 627 the credit card reform bill, was amended by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to include the new pro-gun language.
Coburn’s amendment was a reaction to bureaucratic bungling by the Bush Administration. In the waning hours of the 2008, outgoing Interior Department officials attempted to change the rules to allow concealed carry in some parks.
However the last minute change circumvented the legal process for such rule changes and was blocked by a court order. Incoming Obama administration officials then reversed the rules, which led to Coburn's amendment of the credit card reform bill.
While these rules are certainly a step in the right direction they are a far cry from truly embracing our Second Amendment rights. Sadly, the fact remains that virtually no one can carry a gun at Minuteman Park in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
The very National Park that celebrates the armed uprising of our founding fathers, who were fighting against the British attempts to confiscate their firearms, remains closed to concealed carry.
We can -- and should -- celebrate this victory, but keep our long term goal of self-defense in all National Parks in mind.
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