Pack Heat At National Parks

So now you can legally carry a concealed weapon while visiting our National Parks.  After all, you might feel the need for a pistol during a hike up Half Dome!

It almost seems like an April Fool’s joke.  Today a credit card bill passed through the U.S. Congress and President Obama is poised to sign it.  The new protections afforded to credit card-carrying Americans are a good step forward.  But there’s an unmentioned provision to reverse a Ronald Reagan-era ban on guns in parks, thrown in without warning.

Last Cannon Yellowstone

I love this quote from the  Brady Campaign:  “Families should not have to stare down loaded AK-47’s on nature hikes,” said Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  We saw this coming, when Bush reversed the Reagan provision back in December.

Now we have the freedom to bear arms while visiting our natural wonders.  It’s not hunting season ever.  No one is planning on attacking you in the woods.  No one ever likes carrying extra weight when they hike.  So this is political posturing at its finest, and I feel sorry for the extra burden placed on the National Park Service rangers.

Of course, I can’t help but think about Oaklanders carrying weapons around our city parks.  Even if there were trouble makers, no one will really know about them.  Only two park rangers are assigned to all the parks and their jobs will get chopped soon.  While I believe our assigned police officers are focused on their city beats, park surveillance is too much to ask from an already-stretched crew.

3 thoughts on “Pack Heat At National Parks

  1. You seem to (purposefully) misunderstand the new law. The law says that the National Park Service cannot make laws that override state and local laws with respect to firearms.

    Oakland Municipal Code 12.64.070 prohibits carrying firearms in city parks.
    East Bay Regional Parks Section Section 403 prohibits firearms in EBRP

    In California, you cannot carry concealed unless you have a permit (CCW). Given that permits are only issued to the elite in our midst (Alameda County only approved approx. 150 permits last year), I don’t think you’ll be “staring down the barrel of an AK-47” anytime soon — especially given the draconian “assault weapon” ban in this state.

    Unless, of course, your hiking partner is Dianne Feinstein, who actually does have a CCW!

    You might also consider the number of wild cats in the area – and that the cats have maulled and killed humans.

    You might also consider the number of bears, wild cats, and other predators, including humans, in National (and State) Parks in California – and that those predators have attacked, maulled, and killed humans. And many times, help is not available. Especially, as you point out, in Oakland, the only two park rangers are about to loose their jobs.

  2. Appreciate your sharing the laws for all. I am very cynical here, imagining a local situation that might be made worse if we did legalize gun toting. My belief is those people predators will carry guns whether legal or not.

    1. So with the people predators carrying guns “legal or not”, doesn’t it seem irrational to keep guns out of the hands of good people? I would think the reasonable thing to do would be to shift the balance of power back into our favor. Give the predators a real concern that someone may have the means to fight back, whereas the way it is now, predators are virtually assured that their gun is the only one around and they are free to rob and rape as they see fit.

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