Friday, February 12, 2010

Guns in National Parks becomes Law on Feb. 22

In less than two weeks a new federal law concerning firearms in national parks will go into effect. The new law, signed by President Obama last year which will go into effect on February 22, will allow park visitors to possess firearms in national parks consistent with the laws of the state in which the area is located.

As a result of straddling two states, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will pose a unique problem for visitors wishing to possess firearms within the park. According to a press release from the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees:

In North Carolina, there are few gun restrictions and visitors could be seen openly carrying guns. However, if you happen to be a gun-carrying visitor, you will need a “carry permit” when you cross into the part of the park located in Tennessee.

For more information, the park website has recently posted basic information regarding the laws and policies concerning firearms possesion within the Smokies. There are several links on this page that provide more in depth information as well.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I am okay with this change for the following reasons:

1) The type of people that misuse firearms are the type that don't bother to follow the law in the first place. Not allowing guns in parks will not stop these types of people from bringing them anyway and misusing them.

2) What most people don't realize, is that this change will have little noticeable effect. This is because those that wish to carry guns in public (in states like Virginia and many others) can already do so in the vast majority of public locations, including grocery stores, shopping malls, public sidewalks, city and state parks, etc. Park visitors will see just as many guns carried in National Parks as they have seen in these other locations, which for most people is none.

3) Only a very small percentage of people currently carry guns on a regular basis. Around 3% of people in states that issue concealed carry permits actually have permits and many of them don't carry a gun on a regular basis. Also, those that open carry are even more rare, so that chances of seeing one of these people is not likely.

4) Those that legally open and conceal carry firearms have proven themselves to be among the most law abiding citizens in the country. One study found that they are less likely to commit violent crimes than police officers.

5) No location is immune to violent crime, and this includes National Parks. A small percentage of the population, those gun owners that choose to carry a firearm on a regular basis, want to take advantage of every legal opportunity they can to provide for their own defense. These people have proven themselves to be law-abiding and safe, thus there is no good reason to deprive them of the right to defend themselves.

6) Self-defense is a natural right that belongs to all of us. To deprive that right from those that wish to exercise it is not only unconstitutional, but is inhumane.

7) Many National Parks are made up of vast wildernesses. To deprive law-abiding people of their right to defend themselves from animal attacks or criminal attacks in these wilderness areas is not rational.

8) Many National Parks have major highways and commuter routes that run through them. For those people that carry a gun on a regular basis and travel down these roads, they should not be disarmed or made a criminal for simply passing through a National Park. An example of which is the George Washington Parkway which is a major commuting route for those in Northern Virginia.