DOI takes public comment on allowing loaded guns in national parks
The Interior Department has officially proposed allowing concealed firearms into some national parks and wildlife refuges. State laws against carrying loaded guns into parks would supersede the new rule: thus, for example, visitors to Death Valley National Park could tote a gun in the Nevada portion of the park, but not on the California side. As expected, opinions vary on the matter. Critics say that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be a victim of a violent crime in a national park; the proposal, says Bill Wade of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, is “a politically driven effort to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.” Gun-rights advocates are, of course, in favor of the change. “[I]t just doesn’t make sense to assume that there’s some kind of mystical bubble around national parks where your safety isn’t an issue,” says Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation. The Interior Department will take public comment on the proposal for 60 days.