Another View on National Park Carry

From Andrew McKean of Outdoor Life’s “The Gun Shots” blog:

On the other side, some of the most passionate gun-rights advocates claim their Second Amendment rights allow them to carry guns anywhere, forgetting that the American landscape is dotted with areas where private guns are prohibited. These include prisons, military installations and most public buildings.

The sensible middle is where this proposal should be debated. The Interior Department should relax firearms restrictions in national parks and refuges because it keeps honest people honest. And because it would prevent otherwise law-abiding gun owners from inadvertently becoming felons simply because they cross a jurisdictional boundary.

I am not at all opposed to the proposal for allowing unconcealed or cased firearms to be transported through National Parks. If that all the DOI is willing to give us, I’ll take it, and will advocate strongly for it. But I wouldn’t discount so readily how inconvenient the ban on concealed carry is for people who have state licenses to do so. The perspective of someone out west might be a bit different than mine.

Out West, the parks are big, and boundaries more apparent. Here the parks are small, and often not readily apparent. I routinely drive through property owned by the Department of Interior, namely Valley Forge National Park, sometimes Hopewell National Historic Site, and on the grounds of Independence National Historical Park. In the last case the street outside these places is technically under authority of DOI, but it also a Philadelphia city street. Am I to cross the street? Or drive around Valley Forge constantly? Going miles out of my way?

Most people who drive through these state rights-of-way are often unaware they are in a National Park. While DOI says they enforce state law on state rights-of-way, there’s always the problem of hitting a deer (a real possibility in Valley Forge), and suddenly finding yourself in violation of federal law because you stopped.

The National Park restrictions on concealed carry a major impediment to those who choose to carry. I would hope sportsmen will get behind the most recent efforts to force DOI compliance with state laws on this matter, and won’t merely support a “middle ground” which will only really benefit them.

4 thoughts on “Another View on National Park Carry”

  1. Last year we went to Yellowstone. The route that we took was through Nevada, California, Oregon,Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming (Yellowstone) and then back home through Colorado, New Mexico and back into Arizona. I carried my .45 with me during the whole trip. It was legal until I arrived at Yellowstone, but what was I supposed to do? Get rid of it at the gate? These laws are total nonsense. If I’m allowed to carry a firearm in downtown Tucson, surrounded by literally thousands of people, why am I not allowed to carry in Yellowstone where I am surrounded by thousands of Buffalos? These laws are just insane.

  2. ” Am I to cross the street? Or drive around Valley Forge constantly? Going miles out of my way?”-Sebastian

    While I understand the proposition, I don’t grant much weight to arguments about personal convenience, and I’m on your side on this.

    Hell it isn’t convenient for bank robbers that all the money is behind the cages. I don’t see the problem. Same with “Am I supposed to drive around?”

    The difference in the bank robber’s plight and yours is that the money isn’t his, the park is yours, and mine, and everyone else’s. Our rights should apply there just as much as anywhere. You asked the wrong question from a subservient attitude, so don’t be surprised when they say “YES, or go to jail”.

    Instead of wondering or accepting what they will “give” you, how about demanding they “return” what they took. Otherwise you are agreeing that it was theirs all along.

  3. Most people who drive through these state rights-of-way are often unaware they are in a National Park … a real possibility in Valley Forge

    Oops. No further comment. I take the Fifth.

  4. This may be a little out of the norm for comments on your blog but I was bouncing around the internet and saw a comment by Dennis Stonehocker and the mention of Tucson. The question I have is if this is the same Dennis that was a cop in Tucson as well as a runner and bike rider. I have not been back to Tucson in many many years and due to circumstances lost contact with Dennis. So if this is not the same Dennis have a great day but if it is can you contact me. You can follow the link to my blog and leave me some way to contact you.


    Tony Konvalin

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