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Do you think guns should be allowed in national parks?

The federal government will lift long-standing restrictions on guns in national parks Monday, meaning that visitors with proper permits could pack heat along with camping and picnic gear to most of the 392 parks. The move concerns current and former employees of the National Park Service who are convinced that the move will damage the spirit of the nation's park system. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  February 19, 2010; 8:50 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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do all you think you are protected all the time when you are in a national park...
can you fight a bear off with your hands...
can you fight off a lunatic thats looking to skin you...
if unarmed are your safe...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2010 11:19 AM

DWIGHTCOLLINS wrote this little gem:
"do all you think you are protected all the time when you are in a national park...
can you fight a bear off with your hands...
can you fight off a lunatic thats looking to skin you...
if unarmed are your safe..."


All I can tell you, Mr. paranoid tin foil hat dwightcollins sissy girl is this: If you need a gun, most likely it's to compensate for your femininity, and that you are unable to complete the sexual act with a woman. It's the fluoride, dwightcollins...and of course, all of us nasty rotten libtards. You idiot.

Posted by: swatkins1 | February 19, 2010 11:30 AM

I think it depends on the park - it might be appropriate to have designated hunting areas in some of the larger parks or more remote areas. In the smaller national parks, there is no good reason to permit guns.

Posted by: tedplaw | February 19, 2010 11:30 AM

It's completely unnecessary. We need more gun control, not less. Guns may not kill people (people do), but the guns do help, don't you think? (Thanks, Eddie Izzard.)

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | February 19, 2010 11:38 AM

interesting results so far in the poll. a few days ago a similar poll regarding guns in restaurants had it completely upside down. Go figure.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | February 19, 2010 11:42 AM


Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.

If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.


Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2010 11:42 AM


Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.

If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.


Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2010 11:54 AM

Absolutely yes. As a nature lover who enjoys overnight hiking/biking/camping trips, I have to plan my routes around national parks, because there is no way I am going to risk coming up against a mountain lion in a remote area without some sort of protection.

In other words, the "guns in parks" issue isn't about protecting myself from crime, it's about protecting myself from dangerous animals. The "gun control" advocates need to realize there are legitimate uses for them.

Posted by: DCinND | February 19, 2010 12:09 PM

Why not?

Guns don't kill people.

People kill people.

So I have a suggestion the NRA should absolutely love!

Let's do away with all gun laws...

Period.

If you want to carry a gun on a commercial airline...

Cool!

If you want to carry a gun (drunk or sober) into a bar...

Why not!

Also there should be no age limit to owning a gun.

Instead of wasting tax payer money building schools, colleges, and other such commie pinko liberal stuff let's teach our kiddies how to shoot a gun instead!

Who needs to learn about reading, writing, and arithmetic when you can fire a gun!

Guns rock, man!

I get a woody thinking about my gun! As a matter of fact, I like to spank my monkey with my right hand while I hold a gun in my left hand.

Ooh, baby! I got my gun! I'm soooooo excited!

I'm an American and live in the land of the free and the brave and I should be allowed to carry a gun everywhere anytime as the 2nd Amendment allows.

I love guns!

Oh, God! I'm getting so excited!

Posted by: montana123 | February 19, 2010 12:31 PM

I've been in National Parks, National Monuments, National Seashores & National Lakeshores in many of the 48 states. I go backpacking, deep into these parks, not just along the roads, but way off the roads and sometimes way off the trails. I've never had any need for a gun. Yes, I've had close encounters with snakes, bears, bison, and moose but none have required the outcome of a dead animal. But because I wasn't carrying a gun, I looked for a way to resolve the conflict without violence.

Some people who are armed, will look to provoke dangerous animals so that they can justify a shooting. After the fact, who will know if you approached a bear or a bear approached you? No one. That is why a lot of wild animals will die if/when they allow guns in the national parks.

Posted by: cyberfool | February 19, 2010 12:32 PM

People don't make spelling errors, pencils do.

Posted by: cyberfool | February 19, 2010 12:33 PM

I guess I'm a "liberal" since I mostly vote democratic, but I disagree 100% with libs on the issues of gun control and capital punishment. swatkins1, you should quit acting like a republican and calling people names. I see you didn't answer dwight c's questions, and based on your other comments I presume that you would just jack slap any grizzly bear or other threats you might encounter. I'm no wimp by any stretch of the imagination, but I can't beat up a grizzly bear, or a gang of thugs. I guess you must be a real killer. there are many reasons to carry firearms, most notably the FACT that there are thousands of violent crimes committed every single day. I prefer carrying a weapon, which means there will be no violence. I haven't met a person yet crazy or dumb enough to argue with a loaded firearm pointed at them. I know a lot of libs rely instead on luck, or hope, or God, or whatever, but if you find yourself in the wrong situtation they'll be calling you "victim." They'll be calling me still alive, and unharmed. Until this world becomes as "civilized" as some would like to believe it is, I'll rely on Smith and Wesson, Colt, et al. I own many firearms, and have for years, and for some odd reason mine don't do anything I don't let them. They're right where I left them when I get home, and have never gone out while I'm away and committed any violent acts. Guess I'm just lucky, or my guns listen, I don't know which. If we use the moronic argument that guns should be taken away because they can kill, let's take every single item you own that can kill and treat it the same way. That means you can't own 99% of what you have now. Everyone will have to walk around nude, because you can use clothes for a weapon. No more pots and pans, no more hand or power tools, no cars, nothing that can be used in any way as a weapon. I don't understand why "libs" depart from reality on this issue. Why don't you demand lighter and gas control when someone commits arson? gun control is useless. Armed citizens with the ability to protect themselves and their families works. The rest is a joke. And gkam, yes, a gun can be an equalizer. are you another killer who can just beat up armed gangs? I read about situations all the time where if the victim had been armed, they would have had other options besides begging for mercy that doesn't come. You can beg, or you can beat up 9 men if they decide they want to rob you and beat you down. I'll mind my own business, but if I'm in that situation I won't beg or run. I'll tell them what to do and if they don't, I'll shoot. Don't have a problem with it.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 12:35 PM

the only way you anti gun nuts will ever learn is if you find yourself in a situation where you need a gun but don't have one. good luck with that. I'll continue to carry mine, and will have the ability to deal with any and all threats as necessary. Sometimes, cooperating with violent criminals isn't enough because some of them want your money AND your life. And I think those two girls who got killed by some nut job in a national park a couple of years back would have had a choice to stay alive had they been armed.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 12:41 PM

It's highly doubtful that this new policy is going to negatively affect any law abiding park visitor. Criminals already carry weapons illegally in the national parks (for instance guarding pot farms in the Smokey's). Now it will simply be legal for law abiding citizens to carry as well. By the way, this policy is not going to make it legal for criminals to carry nor does it lessen any charges they could have made against them. And just like other places where lawful carry is permitted it's not going to result in bloodbaths on the trail when two people can't pass on a narrow trail without one of them stepping aside.

One other important thing that this new policy allows is for many of us to drive to work without committing a felony, especially in the DC area. I drive on the George Washington Parkway every day on my way to work in Alexandria. Until now it was illegal for me to carry my legally possessed concealed handgun because technically the GW is, guess what... a National Park! Thus I did not carry, or when I did I was forced to use Rt 7 and other surface streets. What this policy simply does is makes the various parks comply with the laws in the jurisdictions surrounding the parks. VA says I can carry and it's stupid that I cannot transit (w/o even stopping) a national forest without committing a felony.

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 12:42 PM

I hardly ever see wildlife in parks, when bears see humans they run away and so do the deer. Who are these people that are so afraid of going to a national park without a gun? If they are so afraid just stay home.

Posted by: rj2008 | February 19, 2010 12:50 PM

"I think those two girls who got killed by some nut job in a national park a couple of years back would have had a choice to stay alive had they been armed"

Right on, bro!

Arm the little ones before we send them off to summer camp or to play outside!

Instead of "Leave No Cild Behind" let's start a program called "Leave No Child Un-armed"!

Let's also eliminate any test to evaluate academic achievement! Instead of SAT's, GRE's, LSAT's, and all those other teacher union, communist, leftist, liberal things let's give our kids a gun proficiency test!

Hence forth, no kid in the mighty US of A shall ever again not know how to care for or fire a gun!

Posted by: montana123 | February 19, 2010 12:51 PM

Forget bears and mountain lions; think predators that walk on two legs. I'm a woman who likes to hike and camp, and wouldn't camp alone in a national park in the past because I couldn't bring a gun to defend myself.

Do the anti-gun people think a "no weapons" sign keeps murders and criminals from bringing these items into national parks? A look at the number of women that were killed by assailants in Shenandoah National park alone in the past two decades should be enough evidence to debunk that theory.

Posted by: CLH1978 | February 19, 2010 1:02 PM

Absolute lunacy. Until this law is revoked we will not be going to any national parks. Just what we need, angry gun toting freaks or paranoid loonies looking for a fight while families are trying to enjoy our national treasures. What would possibly compel a normal person to begin to think they would need to carry a firearm to a picknic at Gettysberg, or Valley Forge, or on a sightseeing tour of the Grand Canyon???? Disgraceful.

Posted by: John1263 | February 19, 2010 1:24 PM

Do some research on how many people have been attacked in national parks by bears. What an absolutely retarded argument. The only attacks, and the number is less than a dozen, were on people who were in bear caves and/or messing with cubs. And in those cases it is simple Darwinism.

Posted by: John1263 | February 19, 2010 1:26 PM

Guns are not allowed on any federal property; i.e. federal buildings, military bases, etc. National parks are no different. Why treat them different? Anyone that feels they need to carry firearms on federal property should consult a mental health expert. There is no hunting allowed on federal property. The only hunting will be human to human.

Posted by: patmatthews | February 19, 2010 1:33 PM

It amazes me that people who have such an irrational fear of an inanimate object in the hands of a law-abiding citizen are seemingly unafraid of criminals in possession of the same inanimate object.

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 1:34 PM

"DWIGHTCOLLINS wrote this little gem:
"do all you think you are protected all the time when you are in a national park...
can you fight a bear off with your hands...
can you fight off a lunatic thats looking to skin you...
if unarmed are your safe..."
All I can tell you, Mr. paranoid tin foil hat dwightcollins sissy girl is this: If you need a gun, most likely it's to compensate for your femininity, and that you are unable to complete the sexual act with a woman. It's the fluoride, dwightcollins...and of course, all of us nasty rotten libtards. You idiot.
Posted by: swatkins1 | February 19, 2010 11:30 AM "

I actually like knives and carry them all the time...
can't wait to hear about you being cut up and used for bait...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2010 1:41 PM

"Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.
If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.
Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2010 11:42 AM "

they will never hear from you again...
and I would be justified since you threatened me...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2010 1:43 PM

Pat Matthews...

1. Firearms are permitted in National Forests and BLM lands (federal property) already! Where do you think the bulk of hunting lands are in many states?

2. Firearms are allowed to be possessed and stored in military family housing (though not in dorms, barracks, etc) throughout the US. Those same firearms may be transported on and off of base by their owners.

3. You are allowed to transport firearms thru most of the country's airports, many of which like Dulles, are federal property.

And under your theory, park rangers should be disarmed or seek mental counselling. If the parks are so safe, why do they feel the need to carry weapons?

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 1:45 PM

"Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.
If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.
Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2010 11:42 AM "

At which point, IF you managed to actually do this, you would be arrested and charged with assault and several other crimes and escorted to a jail where you would become acquainted with some real criminals.

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 1:53 PM

"http://www.hkshooter.net/nps/crime.html"

check this out...
seems you put yourself at risk in a national park...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2010 1:57 PM

What if I am on an extended trip that includes hunting and a stay at a National Park? Previously, what should I have done with my weapon?

It was a silly rule, easily transgressed with no consequence and the rule change is equally foolish.

Sheesh.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 19, 2010 2:07 PM

the two girls who were killed in a national park were grown women who were sexually assualted and then killed. the story made the national news, guess you missed it. And sorry montana123, you're one of those either or people. Based on your comments, it seems that we have to choose between educating our children with what is taught in schools, or how to use firearms. here's a novel idea for you. how about both? I graduated with a 4.0 gpa and I can use a firearm. Possessing a firearm doesn't somehow make it impossible to learn other things, at least not in my world. it's a fact, many people are frightened of guns and think they're evil. Personally I can protect myself from whatever comes my way, but you obviously rely on hope or jesus to save you or maybe a teacher will come running along just when you need them! Would you rather be shot or have someone take you out with a hunting knife or a hammer? You'll be just as dead either way, but something tells me the hammer and the knife are going to hurt a lot more. You keep talking about children. what if you're out in one of these national parks, or even a local park alone with your child and a man approaches you with a large knife and says i'm taking your child to use and then sell, and I WANT YOU to try to stop me. what are you going to do Montana? Scream? Take the knife away and beat the bad man up? Look for a stick or a rock while he buries that knife in your back? Oh, I get it, nothing bad like this could ever possibly happen to you. Well, as long as Jesus has your back I guess you'll be alright. Owning firearms doesn't turn people into morons. The number of crimes committed by law abdiding gun owners is miniscule. You people are infected with irrational, illogical hysteria. Please send back a list of why I shouldn't own firearms. As I've said, I've owned them for years and never caused any problems for me. Learn to use them and respect them, and it'll be the same for you too. They have no power in and of themselves, they are harmless until a criminal misuses them. Somewhere within the last few hours someone drove a car drunk and killed innocents. Are you going to give up your cars and say no one should be allowed to own one as a result? Get over it, you're arguments are pathetic.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 2:08 PM

gkam, that's a great idea! If you see a person with a firearm, rush up and demand that they surrender it and let them know if they don't you will thrash them soundly! let me know how that works out for you, or I guess I should say please tell your surving family members to pass along the news after your demise as a result of unparalleled stupidity. Are you going to wear a - please kill me - or a - I just can't wait to die t-shirt on this suicide mission?

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 2:19 PM

Actually I thought this had started in January this year. I am totally disgusted with this and let Senators Warner and Webb know they could not count on my vote for any Virginia Dems in the future because of their vote, (not saying I'll vote Republican-I just won't vote for anybody). They sent something back about 2nd Ammendment Rights which I think is a red herring. If they are so interested in 2nd Ammendment Rights, then I am sure they would want to stop the screening for weapons that goes on at many government buildings and also at airports. As far as I'm concerned, this was merely a giveaway by Coburn to his NRA friends on the backs of the Credit bill. I agree guns are probably needed in some areas of the US. I just think it is way out of balance and that also there is more chance of me being mistaken for a bear when I go off-trail in a park. This is especially true with some of the people I've seen in some of the parks I've been including someone I hiked with who was sure there was a bear on a part of a trail we had hiked, (I don't think she was right on this). I have encountered bear a number of times and have had 0 problems.

Posted by: gonhkn | February 19, 2010 2:37 PM

"They have no power in and of themselves, they are harmless until a criminal misuses them"

I guess we could apply the same logic to machine guns, tanks, jet fighters, and what the heck, why not nukes?

Why can't we extend the NRA's logic regarding guns to nukes?

Why shouldn't I have a 2nd Amendment right to own a nuke. Actually, I prefer H-Bombs. H-Bombs make those cute mushroom clouds when they explode and I feel like a real man when I have an H-bomb in my garage.

H-bombs don't kill people.

People kill people.

If we take away H-bombs from law abiding citizens then only criminals will have H-bombs, right?

"I've owned them [guns] for years and never caused any problems for me."

Well, what about the rest of the country? What about the 40,000 or so gun deaths a year?

I guess you gun nuts could care less. All you and all you other mental midgets care about is getting your grubby little paws on a gun without the slightest inconvenience.

Also, the rest of your other arguments (actually NRA talking points guns) are fallacious. Having a gun is NOT going to make you more secure. Check the stats, man. As a matter of fact, having a gun makes you or someone around you MORE LIKELY to be a victim of gun violence.

Yea, you're right. I think someone who obsesses about guns or feels they need a gun to be whole is mentally ill. Something is seriously wrong with these people. Perhaps they suffer from an inferiority complex or are simply losers in life and need a gun to feel significant.

Posted by: montana123 | February 19, 2010 2:43 PM

It seems obvious to me that a lot of people here aren't aware of how much drug traffic goes on in little traveled areas of National Parks. Not only do criminals often plant their marijuana and other plant based drug crops in meadows off the beaten path, often locals will be aware of various places in the park where drug deals go down because they aren't likely to be interrupted by the law. Bear aren't the only reason Park Rangers go out armed.

Posted by: RazorGirl | February 19, 2010 2:53 PM

There is entirely too much individual liberty in this country. Forget guns in national parks; no private individual should be allowed to own a firearm under any circumstance. Gun owners are all lunatics. Repeal the Second Amendment! Ban private automobiles in order to stop the carnage on the nation's highways. In the meantime, the animals in the national parks will love their newly pristine environment. Ban cholesteral-laden foods in the home and in public eateries to ensure a safe, healthy populace. Eliminate private ownership of airplanes to stop crazy people like the guy who crashed his plane into the IRS building in Austin, TX. We must destroy our freedoms in order to save them.

Posted by: txpenguin | February 19, 2010 2:54 PM

National Park units are often very isolated land areas that attract people who may use guns because no one else is close by to see what they are doing with a gun. Someone can be shot and disposed of without anyone seeing it happen. Alaska, south Florida, Great Smokey Mountains, Arizona, Utah, etc. are places that come to mind. We do not need to make it easier for people to commit these very serious crimes.

Posted by: wckriz | February 19, 2010 2:56 PM

Hey gun owner, no we don't want to take away your gun. In fact you should bring it with you and hold it tightly in your hands, next time you go to get an MRI. Don't let them take it from you, it's your right to be armed at all times.

Posted by: frantaylor | February 19, 2010 3:00 PM

well montana, you can spew that propaganda all you want, but if you don't like guns you should find a new country to live in. The FACT is, you have an opinion and I have a different one. There is one difference in those two schools of thought. The Constitution, the government, and the courts all agree with me, and and aren't going to legislate your opinion. It's not going to happen. 40,000 gun deaths a year? how many were committed by law abiding citizens with their own gun? How many were in self-defense. And if you're opposed to nukes, you'll need to find a new planet, because they're here to stay too.
You have no basis in fact whatsoever to say that anyone who owns a firearm is a "mental midget." It is you that cannot see reality or logic because of your blind hatred for a thing. How many deaths per year are caused by knives, baseball bats, golf clubs, hammers, swords, cast iron frying pans? Are we going to ban all of those evil things too? You're a pansy who'scared of a gun. The reason violent crime is on the rise and nothing is ever really done about it, is because of fools like you who think we'll be living in the land of peace and happiness if we just take away those evil guns. You're the kind of person who thinks of what we cannot do. We can't solve the underlying problems that lead to gun violence because as a people we're not smart enough, so we'll just take away the guns and that will fix everything. You can say whatever you want, but regardless your arguments are irrational hysteria based totally on ignorance and as such are worthless and moot. There will always be guns and criminals will always misuse them. And I will always be allowed to protect myself from those criminals with a gun and will not hesitate to do so if put in that situation.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 3:05 PM

Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.
If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.

POSTED BY: GKAM | FEBRUARY 19, 2010 11:42 AM
Chances are we would find you naked and face down with a gun shot to the head. But by all means keep pretending to be the tough guy you are ON THE INTERNET. LOL anyone going hiking, camping or what ever in the wilderness should be able to protect their selves. Anyone dumb enough to go off into the woods unarmed is just a LIB FOOL. Like the ignorant woman that though the polar bears at the zoo we’re so cute she just had to jump into the cage. Great idea if you wish to become a meal. People like you are a pathetic excuse for an American.

Posted by: askgees | February 19, 2010 3:19 PM

Does the Mall count as a national park?

Posted by: stikyfingas | February 19, 2010 3:26 PM

I think hunting should be allowed wherever hunting is safe. If hunting can be done safely in parks, then it's fine. However, the types of guns used for hunting should be restricted. You don't need a machine gun to go hunting!

Another issue is that organized crime in places like California use public land to grow marijuana. They would probably love to legally be able to carry guns in those areas, even if they were hunting guns. I think that complicates the issue. How can we be sure people will use guns for hunting?

Guns can also be used to defend against wild animals when they attack. Are guns the only suitable method of defense? Instead of real guns, stun guns would be more appropriate, as long as they could adequately protect against wild animals.

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 3:29 PM

I think the reality is that some kind of weapon is needed against wild animals. I'm not convinced it has to be a gun. I think it's also a fact that it's not worth worrying about serial killers in the woods. Even if you do encounter a psychopath in the woods (or actually, maybe a gangster--now that you might actually have to worry about), then what are the odds of you defending yourself any better with a gun as opposed to a mace, taser, or some other weapon less deadly than a gun?

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 3:38 PM

montana, you're ludicrous assertion that people own guns as a way to deal with some kind of inferiority complex is laughable. I can assure you I have absolutely no lack of self confidence or self assuredness with or without a gun. It makes no difference. I own guns to hunt with (OMG! How appalling!) Again, sorry if you have a problem with hunting you're in the wrong country. Also as to your ridiculous comment that firearms owners are mentally ill, sorry again, but federal law and every state law prohibits the mentally ill from owning firearms. Who did you vote for in the election between george bush and john kerry? Both of them are gun owners, so you admittedly voted for a mentally ill person, assuming that you voted. The other difference between us is that I'm rational and mature enough to own firearms and not misuse them. I encourage everyone to arm themselves, especially single women, but would ecourage you to stay as far away from them as possible. i dont think you could be trusted with something as deadly as a firearm. All of your "points" can be easily refuted. Some of the most stable and successful people on the planet own firearms. To categorize a group of people in such degogatory terms when it's obvious to anyone with a brain that it's ludicrous just shows that you're whole mentality is everyone who holds a different point of view than you do is a mental midget, mentally ill, a loser, etc. What about all of those supreme court justices who recently ruled that DC's gun laws were unconstitutional. Are they all inferior to you montana? Are they losers? Are they mentally ill? There's a reason they're the ones ruling on these issues and you're the one whining about it on a message board. It's the law, get used to it or find another country to live in.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 4:01 PM

I'm surprised that 60% in a WaPo poll agree that you don't check your civil rights at the gate when entering a national park.

On a practical level, campers and hikers in relatively isolated areas are inviting targets for criminals. I have no objection to the legal possession of firearms in parks. If you're alone in a very remote area for a protacted period of time with no real prospect of any assistance from law enforcement, I think carrying a weapon for self-protection is a prudent precaution.

Posted by: hit4cycle | February 19, 2010 4:12 PM

Montana, you're hysterical and irrational. You categorize anyone who owns a gun as having an inferiority complex, or as mental midgets, or mentally ill, or "losers." Really? What about those supreme court justices who ruled that DC's gun laws couldn't stand last year? Do they fit in that category? Who did you vote for in the presidential election in 2004? Whichever candidate it was is a gun owner. Lost of people who are many times more stable than you, way smarter, and way more successful own guns. I don't own them because I'm lacking in any way. I own them for the reasons they were invented for in the first place. To hunt and for protection. If you're opposed to it, again, sorry it's the law of the land, it's not going to change and if you're this obssessed over it, you should really find another country to live in.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 4:15 PM

But there are ways to protect yourself other than guns. What about stun guns, bb guns, mace, and tasers? Some of those require less skill and training than gun, which may make them a better option.

Until now, no guns have been allowed in public parks, so how have people been protecting themselves?

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 4:15 PM

kimk, your suggestion might work, assuming that the gangster you're facing also has a weapon less than a gun which isn't likely. If you bring a mace, or a taser, or any weapon that is less than a gun to a gunfight you will lose.
And my apologies to everyone for repeating myself in my last post, but for some reason my previous post wasn't showing when I wrote it. But my points are still the same. Fear of guns is irrational hysteria.

Posted by: red2million | February 19, 2010 4:20 PM

In the busy areas of popular national parks-- for example, campgrounds in Yosemite and overlooks at the Grand Canyon and heavily used trails-- there is no need for a gun. Carriers have these fantasies that they need to protect themselves and others, but that is all it is-- a fantasy. In the situations above, the only crime to speak of might be pickpocketing; you are not at risk from some nut trying to assault, rape, or kill you. Guns in those busy places are a bad idea because of the altercations that frequently erupt over parking spots, campsites, inconsiderate drivers, and the like. Tempers flare and sometimes fists fly. We don't need to add guns to the list of available weapons when someone's anger gets the better of him. And the need to protect yourself from wildlife is also pretty much nonexistent. There is little dangerous wildlife around heavily used spots, with bears attracted by careless campers being the notable exception, but even they are relatively rare. It's also a phony argument because as anyone who has ever seen a bear charge can tell you, unless you're expecting that charge and already have your weapon ready, you're not getting that gun out and using it in time. People who have successfully defended themselves from bears with weapons such as guns and pepper spray almost always do so after being attacked; they are lucky enough to get enough of a pause in the attack to get that weapon out. That rare instance is not justification for wannabe heroes toting guns in campgrounds.

On the other hand, I can totally see the need or at least wish for a gun in the backcountry. It is out there that you are more at risk of being attacked by an animal or, worse, a human nutcase. Out there, the concern about timely and effective use still exists, but the ones stemming from irritated people in close proximity don't.

I think the policy should be no carrying except on backpacking trips and remote/lightly used day trails. Yes, that means guns will still be in cars, and potential problems still exist with that, but it is better than people carrying their guns everywhere.

But you will never get through to a lot of gun owners on these things. There is a contingent that wants to have guns everywhere. These are the same people who think it's a good idea to carry guns in bars. You will never get through.

At least one good thing about open-carry over concealed is that at least it's easier to know whom to avoid. While I see the need for carrying a gun in the inner city, I don't in Yosemite Valley, and my feeling is that people who do are just looking for a reason to use their guns.

Posted by: RMS70 | February 19, 2010 4:27 PM

In 2006, with 273 million visitors to national parks, there were 11 violent deaths, one being a DUI, one being a suicide and one being a body that washed up on the shore of a national park, from a murder that may not have occured there.
I don't see a compelling safety reason to justify bringing guns into parks.
You are expontentially safer from violent crime inside a national park than outside of it.

Posted by: minorthread | February 19, 2010 4:30 PM

"exponentially"

Posted by: minorthread | February 19, 2010 4:31 PM

red2million: Well, if it comes to a draw, how is a gun really going to help? You still need the good luck to be able to draw first or be able to start running before you're being aimed at by the enemy's gun. If you can draw first, you can mace first, use a less deadly weapon, or just start running. What's the advantage of a gun? If you have the opportunity to use a gun, you'd probably also have the opportunity to use a less deadly, but still equally effective weapon.

Minorthread's statistics now have got me really convinced safety isn't a big concern for public parks (assuming they are true, which I will check). Now wanting to hunt, I can understand.

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 4:45 PM

Seems like the rates of violent crimes in national parks is really low. Your chance of being murdered, raped, kidnapped, or assaulted is less than 0.00012%.

See here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2008/02/28/GR2008022800363.html

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 5:05 PM

"What about those supreme court justices who ruled that DC's gun laws couldn't stand last year?"

Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and Roberts???

Geez! What towering figures of jurisprudence!

These are same supremes, incidently, who think it's "free speech" for corporations to inject unlimited sums of money into political campaigns. Somehow a corporation evolved into a person with "free speech" rights.

And don't tell me to leave the country, bro! I have as much a right to be here as you do. As a matter of fact, I'll make it a point to stay here just so I can cancel out at least of one of you right wing gun nuts at the ballot box.

Lastly, I say if we live in a country where we cower in fear and feel so threatened we have to arm ourselves to the teeth then we're both living in the wrong country.

A nation awash in guns and violence is not a characteristic of a of a civilized advanced society.

Finally, back to matter at hand, keep the freaking guns out of the national parks! If you get your rocks off shooting guns and killing things join the military and volunteer for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan! Do something constructive and go knock off some terrorists!

Also don't you think it's more sporting to shoot at something that can shoot back instead of a defenseless animal?

But in addition to being mentally ill, I always believed you gun nuts were cowards. Look at your hero, Dickless Cheney. Five student deferments during the Vietnam War who was more than willing to send others to die in wars and who also tried to cover up shooting his friend in the face during a hunting trip.

Wow, what an impressive guy...someone who you would like your kid to grow up an emulate!

So I say to you red2million and those of your ilk: You are all a pathetic, disgusting, reprehensible, and sub human forms of life.

Go away and take your beloved guns with you.

Posted by: montana123 | February 19, 2010 5:12 PM

You know, it would be nice to run this experiment on a smaller scale before allowing guns in ALL parks. If only our system were set up that way.

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 5:17 PM

RMS70, etc...

Unless you are one of the 2 or 3 "civilians" in California with a concealed weapon permit, this new policy will have little effect in Yosemite. The policy does not open national parks all over the country to unfettered carry. It simply applies the concealed carry rules in the surrounding jurisdictions to the parks themselves. As such, parks in say, New York and California and Illinois will hardly be affected at all.

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 5:28 PM

wildfyre99, hm, so very true. But it would have been nice to wait a couple of years before the change would take place so states could figure out what laws they want.

Posted by: kimk1 | February 19, 2010 5:48 PM

I'm a fairly liberal Democrat and a gun owner. The only time I take a gun in the woods is to go hunting.

I've come across bears, wolves, montain lions and crazy racoons. I once ran into the side of a large bull moose when I made a blind turn around a large tree while hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

Not once have I ever felt the need to protect myself from wild animals with a gun. Those that do are spineless and know nothing about nature. Wild animals want nothing to do with human beings, we literally smell bad to them.

I've been able to chase off bears and a mountain lion by simply yelling, standing tall, throwing rocks and waving my arms around. I once had to play golf with an overzealous racoon after my food with a small log.

Supporters of guns in national parks are just goons looking to shot at anything they want.

Posted by: tazmodious | February 19, 2010 5:51 PM

To all gun rights foes- substitute the term "victimizers" for "guns" in your arguments. We need to step up victimizer control everywhere in this country. I carry a sap or blackjack, and have used it a few times at work (servicing vending machines). I would like to be able to carry a sidearm, but can't. There is just not much disincentive for criminals these days, we all know that.

Posted by: rlmayville | February 19, 2010 6:01 PM

Aww, you poor widdle gun nuts who think everybody wants to shoot you.

It must be so hard to live a normal life when you are so paranoid.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 19, 2010 7:11 PM

Who's the bigger nut Soltice? Those of us who think that a criminal may attack us or those of you who think that a law-abiding gun owner is going to shoot you over a "smudge on their Pumas?" (to paraphrase Chris Rock)

Posted by: wildfyre99 | February 19, 2010 7:24 PM

***"So I say to you red2million and those of your ilk: You are all a pathetic, disgusting, reprehensible, and sub human forms of life.

Go away and take your beloved guns with you.
Posted by: montana123 | February 19, 2010 5:12 PM"***

Wow...you have obviously lost touch with reality. Where exactly do you live and hug your trees? Because there is a whole lot of bad in America that touches innocent law-abiding citizens daily. You must live in the fabled land of Utopia. Or are you just a troll, or maybe a criminal yourself?

If I can protect myself or a fellow citizen from any crime, just once in my life, I have made a difference. I refuse to walk blindly through life ignoring the facts. People are assaulted on a daily basis, and if just one of those assaults can be avoided it's a win.

I fear for your blatant ignorance to society...and am just a bit jealous that I too don't live in your wonder land. Good luck and God's speed.

Oh and yes, I will take my beloved guns where ever I go.

As for the survey. Yes I feel that a law abiding permitted citizen should be able to "pack heat" in a national park or wilderness if the state so authorizes it. Just as they do when getting groceries are enjoying a burger at their favorite restaurant. It gives me piece of mind knowing the guy next to me could protect us from a crime. I truly believe that criminals are less apt to choose targets if there is any chance they would be confronted. Criminals look for the easy safe pray; they don't want confrontations, they want you alone and afraid.

I really don't see how this move could damage the spirit of the park system.

Posted by: topher1 | February 19, 2010 7:29 PM

If gun nuts can't play with their guns out in the woods, then where?

Posted by: DonRitchie | February 19, 2010 8:25 PM

Why should only Leftists who just happen to be criminals have guns in the nat'l parks. Are you saying that lovers of the Constitution should be the only ones not with guns?

Posted by: falconflight | February 19, 2010 8:44 PM

Yeehaw! We all no that Jesus carried guns an' so di' his decipicles. I have a lot 'er guns in my tralor and I goin' me a huntin' whenever I feels like goin'. So you no that havin' guns is a god thing to do so yu kin pertect yer family from those tipes of peeple who aint like us. An' Jesu was no jew, he wa' a Americon.

Lifetime NRA Member.

Posted by: misterbumbles | February 19, 2010 9:06 PM

I work for corrections and hear stories about the worst people in our society doing the worst things on a daily basis. I don't carry a gun because I expect to have to use it. I hope I never need it. I also hope I never need my smoke alarm or fire extiguisher, but my homeowner's insurance gives me a discount for being prepared. I don't keep a first aid kit because I hope to have to give CPR, and since I'm not an EMT, I probably won't need it. If I ever have to draw my gun, it will be to stop the bad guy who is intent on killing my family, friends, and/or me.

I don't live near a national park, but there is a state park nearby. I have met more than a couple "gangsta" thugs in that park, and I doubt the national parks are that much different. In my state there are a couple of exits where taking a left instead of a right is committing a felony just because you are driving into the national park.

I went through my state's background check to follow the rules and legally carry my firearm. I follow all the rules. I have taken classes. Where I live meth labs are blowing up in the surrounding area at least once every two months, and I know the people making and selling that crap aren't going to follow the rules. Why demonize me for following the rules and protecting my family?

One more thing that most aren't considering is that it is concealed carry we are talking about here. That means that you don't see the gun. Unless someone threatens my life, no one will ever know I have a gun. If 90 percent of the people at a park picnic are carrying, no one would know who was carrying because we don't stand up and say "I have a gun." How will that affect the mood in the parks if no one knows? The only difference for the park rangers is that they will have to know what a concealed carry permit looks like.

Posted by: iaiguy | February 19, 2010 9:52 PM

People should be allowed to carry guns in National parks as long as they promise not to go all Charles Whitman and start blasting tourists alongside Skyline Drive. But they have to promise, and really, really mean it.

Posted by: rcupps | February 19, 2010 9:57 PM

I love how people say they want to protect themselves from bears and mountain lions. These people have a really Hollywood notion of how guns work and, for that matter, how nature works. I can see the headline they're imagining. "Local Accountant Slays Mountain Lion, Saves RV from Attack."

Posted by: TracyDC | February 19, 2010 11:10 PM

Absolutely not!! I trust nobody with guns, especially those who "need" them to be equal to everybody else.
If I run into Dwight Collins in the woods, he will be disarmed and frog-marched out to the authorities.


Posted by: gkam | February 19, 2010 11:42 AM

I'm just wondering how you plan to go about disarming an armed man and frog marching him to the authorities? Are you going to ask "pretty please?" And who gets to carry the gun when you do? Bet you knows kung-fu or somethin' and saw it in a movie where Van Damm took away dude's gun. It's that easy in real life, I know from experience

I'd sure everyone will be happy to give you their guns, probably not the way you are imagining if you tried some nonesense out in the backwoods and they don't know who you are. Oh, I'm certain they will just give them up to you with a shrug of their shoulders and a big ol' "aw shucks, you caught the 'tater" grin on their face.

And if you don't trust anyone with guns, why is it people like you always call 911 and scream at the police when you've been robbed? Police probably carry guns around your neck of the woods don't they? I mean, unless you live in Mayberry or something. That's probably it. But I guess they don't need them to be "equal" to anyone do they?

And I'm certain you don't think our military carries Super Soakers. Yeah, we don't carry rifles because we don't need them to be "equal" to our enemies.

Please think about what you say before you say it. Your thoughts are not quite sound in this matter. And please don't respond to this. I will have a hard time reading and replying for the laughter you cause me.

Have a wonderful day under the protection of people who carry guns to be "equal" to those who would do you harm.

Posted by: Grand58574 | February 20, 2010 12:40 AM

I only clicked on "No" because the answer choice "Hell, no!" was not included....

Posted by: acrossthegulf | February 20, 2010 3:00 AM

Red2Million wrote: "I own many firearms, and have for years, and for some odd reason mine don't do anything I don't let them. They're right where I left them when I get home, and have never gone out while I'm away and committed any violent acts. Guess I'm just lucky, or my guns listen, I don't know which. If we use the moronic argument that guns should be taken away because they can kill, let's take every single item you own that can kill and treat it the same way. That means you can't own 99% of what you have now. Everyone will have to walk around nude, because you can use clothes for a weapon. No more pots and pans, no more hand or power tools, no cars, nothing that can be used in any way as a weapon. I don't understand why "libs" depart from reality on this issue. Why don't you demand lighter and gas control when someone commits arson? gun control is useless."
--------------------------------------------------
Your guns won't stay right where you left them if a family member or intruder takes them when you're not home. Unless they're locked away (in which case they aren't very accessible to you in an emergency) or have trigger locks on them, guns are highly transferrable objects and could even be used against *you.*

The items you mentioned that should ostensibly be taken away because they can kill, all have another purpose--and that includes kitchen knives, which can kill but which can also slice a roast. Guns have no other purpose except to kill or to threaten to kill.

Posted by: Boomerang1 | February 20, 2010 3:35 AM

red2million, you've been throwing the words "irrational" and "hysterical" at commenters who don't share your belief in guns.

I believe people who walk in fear of being attacked by humans or animals every moment of their lives are the hysterical ones.

Posted by: Boomerang1 | February 20, 2010 4:21 AM

Can I ask everyone out there a simple question? Thank you.

Why should I not be allowed to carry a firearm when Rangers (police, etc) are? Why do THEY need one and I don't? is there something about where they are and who tehy will encounter thast is somehow different then me? after all, I might be right beside them!

As far as 'gunfights over a parking spot' I have carried a number of times. believe me that is NOT something one takes lightly. A legal gun owner (not a criminal intent on doing harm) KNOWS the weight of the responsibility he is carrying. He knows that in his hands may rest his own life. if you DON'T THINK that is a heavy responsibility, then you are completely out of context. Because we know and feel that weight, we tend to be even MORE cautious, MORE polite and MORE forgiving. Some people become mainiacs when they get into their car because they become anonymous in their ton of steel. Someone who is carrying is more cautious, because they KNOW if anything happens and it's determined to be their fault, they will lose the right to freely carry for the rest of their lives. We respect that. We cherish that right and want to keep it. So we are more forgiving.
If anything, carrying makes us MORE 'sissylike' because we like what we have, and want to keep it. So we 'walk on eggshells' to stay out of trouble.

But if trouble finds us, we WILL stand our ground.

If you don't like guns, could you please wear a shirt or something to that effect, so that if nything happens to you...no one with a gun will violate your beliefs and come to your aid? (that includes cops, troopers or the military.)

Thank you.

Posted by: vt800c | February 20, 2010 6:29 AM

If anyone thinks that crime doesn't occur in a national park, I suggest you google their 'Morning report'.

Go back a few days...

See about the drug runners. The crooks and thieves. These are the ones that were on the same trails as we are. But these are the ones that got caught. Do the math for youself: how many are caught...50%? 33%? 20%? Less? More?

Tell me again why I don't need personal protection.

http://home.nps.gov/applications/morningreport/index.cfm

Posted by: vt800c | February 20, 2010 6:38 AM

I am democrat and for the most part liberal...however,i don't understand how people think gun control will work in view of the fact that this country was founded with guns....and there are far too many to efficiently control.Not being clicheish or anything but if guns are outlawed...only criminals will have them.....and in case people haven't noticed,this nation is full of nuts and i feel comfortable having guns at home to protect my family and my dogs.....and in a truly remote park ,i don't see the harm in carrying one....just because there are laws doesn't mean some hardcore nut wont be armed.I am not afraid of the government,or the cops,or black helicopters in the night...i am afraid of some nut breaking into my house in the middle of the night...or running into me in the Appalachia trail...specially if he's looking for an Argentine soulmate!

Posted by: kiler616 | February 20, 2010 6:53 AM

The only difference on Monday is that it will be legal. People have carried guns into National Parks since the 1st Park opened. You can't hunt in the parks, just ski, camp, get lost, or enjoy the scenery. You are always (ALWAYS) better off if you need a gun, having one, than in any situation where you need one, and don't have one and it does not matter if it's illegal considering the other alternatives (even if you only need it to signal someone that you're lost or injured).

Posted by: wmboyd | February 20, 2010 8:28 AM


Most of the time it's not the wildlife that is the worry in National Parks, although that happens. It is the animals on two legs that are the problem. People have been murdered in the parks because they could not defend themselves.

Once a Boy Scout troop was hiking in a national park. A couple of crazies began harassing the boys and the leaders. Fortunately, one of the adult leaders was an FBI officer, who is required to have his weapon at all times. The sight of the .45 was enough to send the crazies running back into the wilderness where they belonged. Hopefully Darwin will take care of them there.

Posted by: NormReisig | February 20, 2010 9:24 AM

While i fully agree with a citizens right to own and carry firearms(i do not own any guns), there needs to be limits on where and who can carry. Yes, a weapon would save someone from a bear attack(very rare) or from a crazy in the woods(rare), but what scares me is the drunk, foolish, right wing nutbar pointing guns at people becasue they feel like it. I do a lot of hiking in nat'l parks and hope i never have to deal with someone "excercising their right to defend themselves" from me. I bother no one, but some of these gun owners are notorious for bothering others. So LEAVE ME ALONE in my nat'l parks!

Posted by: rmk1122 | February 20, 2010 9:58 AM

Allowing guns in National Parks will change nothing. The bad guys and others that just ignore the law are already carrying guns, Laws make no difference to law breakers. This will only allow the good guys, most of whom don't cause problems, to carry them if they feel the need. Most people will see no change at all.

Posted by: hobo42 | February 20, 2010 10:02 AM

It's very easy for a particular group to influence a poll such as this. All it takes is a tweet or two to like minded individuals to vote yes or no. Since the NRA seems to be much better organized than the anti-gun people, the results of this poll would seem suspect at best.

Posted by: farnswth2 | February 20, 2010 11:53 AM

I choose not to carry a weapon, and one thing I can say with absolute certainty is if more folks decide to carry weapons in the parks, I am more likely to be injured or killed by a bullet if I venture into one. More guns make the National Parks less safe for everyone, including the gun carriers. Its called probability.

Posted by: rcupps | February 20, 2010 12:03 PM

There should be gun vending machines on every streetcorner in america - and NRA and gun freaks won't stop until there are.

I just wish the media wouldn't air it as tradgic news, and that people, would cut out the crap about being so "shocked" when someone kills off their entire family, or goes "postal" in an office or public place, or when the next Virginia Tech or Columbine or Ft Hood takes place.

What the heck do you all expect? how could you all be so shocked? ...and how could you think more guns, or looser laws would be the answer?

Posted by: jfern03 | February 20, 2010 12:10 PM

Normally hunters walk thru the woods with their guns ready to shoot their prey. When you are hiking thru the woods in a national forest I would assume that your guns would be holstered or shouldered and by the time you realize you are about to be dinner I don't think you would have time to prepare your rifle to take the animal down before it's on your little butt. I'm discounting handguns here because I don't know of any that would be protection against a bear. So if carrying a gun makes you feel safer, by all means take your guns into national parks and hike were the rangers reccommend not to because of the danger animals present, you probably will not come back and that will be one more gun nut off the face of the earth

Posted by: jmfromdc | February 20, 2010 1:35 PM

I work in Rocky Mountain national Park and have never heard of wild bands of thugs roaming the park harassing visitors presently or in the future.

I have read police reports of drunken people shooting themselves and innocent by-standers in National Forest land just South of Rocky Mountain National park on an annual basis. Along with partying, trashing and looting.

I've camped in said National Forest land and have had to put up with nearby drunk gun nuts shooting bottles of beer and booze all night long, because they could.

Posted by: tazmodious | February 20, 2010 2:51 PM

jfern03 posted:

"how could you think more guns, or looser laws would be the answer?"

====

2/3rds of Americans live in right to carry states (RTC) over non-RTC states.

According to UCR statistics compiled annually by the FBI rates of justifiable homicide by police trend higher in non-right to carry states 3 to 1. Police officers are more likely to have to resort to deadly force in a non-RTC state even though those states are 1/3rd the national population. Thats a fact.

FBI data also shows the average violent crime rate for RTC states fluctuating around 403.5 and their average murder rate at 4.8 (per 100,000 population). The average violent crime rate for non-RTC states fluctuating around 513.5 and their average murder rate at 6.4.4 Having about 1/3rd the population of the RTC states, the non-RTC states have higher levels of violent crime and murder, and defensive justifiable homicides by police occur more frequently.

The numbers have changed some year to year but the trend is the same. You are more likely to be a victim of violent crime in a non-right to carry sate, you are more likely to be murdered in a non-RTC state, and police officers in non-RTC states are more likely to have to resort to deadly force. Its a fact.

States with more legally armed citizens are safer places to live period. The facts are immutable jfern03. And thats "how you can reason that more guns, and looser laws (for law abiding citizens) would be the answer."

Posted by: Homunculus | February 20, 2010 3:41 PM

Wmboyd wrote: "The only difference on Monday is that it will be legal. People have carried guns into National Parks since the 1st Park opened."
-------------------------------------------------
So much for gun owners being "law-abiding citizens"!

Posted by: Boomerang1 | February 20, 2010 4:21 PM

Proper permits is very vague and I suppose I could develop regulations on permiting which I could live with.

Guns do not belong in national parks beyond the law enforcement staff. People go to our national parks now with reasonable confidence of not needing a gun. If they were allowed, I truly fear shootings of people and protected animals because citizens thought they were in danger.

One additional point; guns are allowed under some conditions in George Washington National Forest only during hunting seasons. However, hand guns are allowed only by individuals who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Hand guns are not allowed for hunting in this National Forest.

If one looks at violent death rates in other developed countries, they are far lower in those developed countries which have very restrictive gun laws.

Posted by: torlasibold | February 20, 2010 4:33 PM

If I were to carry a concealed weapon into the woods, would you even see it?

Most likely there are already concealed weapons in the parks carried by those with the intent to harm other people, not to harass grizzly bears. It seems to me that most of the "best" pot in California is grown in state and national parks. Just how safe is it to walk up on someone involved with an illegal activity, and where are the park rangers when you need them?

Posted by: Kelvins13 | February 20, 2010 6:05 PM

I went to Denali a few years back, and before I left I emailed the Alaska Fish & Game Department. I told them I'd be tent camping on the tundra, and asked whether I should bring a gun.

Their response - this is a direct quote from their email:

"Yes, it is more than advisable. Please have a firearm big enough to kill the animal if you get into harm's way. Most animals will leave you alone, but it is better to be prepared. In Alaska, you need to be aware of bears and moose as either could attack you and do major damage. Don't shoot unless you feel threatened. If a bear is 100 yards away, no problem with him. If he is trying to gnaw on your ankle, you are definitely justified. If you do have to shoot, be aware you have to turn the meat over to the state and fill out a lot of paperwork. Just Use Good Common Sense."

The last sentence of that email is everything you need to know about guns.

Posted by: i82much | February 20, 2010 7:28 PM

I really enjoy reading the childish babbling of the crowd who demand that I change MY habits, even though I'm minding my own business and bothering absolutely nobody, because THEY have an irrational fear of firearms, they don't understand a thing about living free in a more or less free country, and they can't form a coherent argument without resorting to threats, slander and obscenity. Gun control is not about the guns, its about the control. Here's my advice to all the would be gun banners - just leave me alone. I'll decide if I "need" a gun or not, thank you, its not your place. If you have a few minutes, read the Constitution.

Posted by: Major94 | February 20, 2010 8:34 PM

I find this anti-gun hysteria fascinating. I don't think that people who honestly feel that people should not be allowed a pistol for personal protection have really thought this through. They have an irrational fear of guns, and gun owners. Listen, there is a big difference between: a law abiding gun owner, one who has taken the time to pay for training, get fingerprinted, turn in his law enforcement records, and register as a concealed carry gun owner: and common gang banger, or anyone with criminal intent.

CCW holders are generally ex military, or ex law enforcement, maybe even a reserve cadre. Not all, but many. We have actually seen the dark side of humanity that you fear (and perversely protect?) so much, and we are prepared. It's too easy to call those who carry a weapon names, dismiss them, and belittle them. You think that those of us who carry are itching for an excuse to blow someone away so that we can prove what a "big man" we are. This is the farthest from the truth. In reality, we are extra sensitive to our surroundings, and go out of our way to avoid confrontational situations that would require brandishing a weapon. There are huge consequences for CCW carriers for abusing our right to carry, and if we pull our weapon, it is ONLY to diffuse a situation that is out of hand, or to shoot. Period. A CCW gives us the right to carry, not permission to shoot someone.

Inversely, criminals could not care less about the laws of man. That is why they are criminals. They carry weapons illegally in restaurants, in all public spaces, in schools, in parks, on federal land. Do you honestly believe that a "no guns allowed by law" sign has any special powers? Criminal weapons are generally throw-aways, not registered to anyone they know. They have little to no training, except from some hip-hop loser in a rap video, or a game. They don't care about taking a life, and feel that they can do this indiscriminately.

So, I tell you this... I and other CCW carriers take our weapon seriously. I practice often at the range, with peers. I don't think that all of a sudden, your going to find a significant increase in gun carry in any federal park once this law is passed. You will be no less safe, and maybe even a bit more.

I'm sure plenty of people will attack me, but if I can at least put one reasonable person at ease, I've done my job.

Posted by: drumbeater | February 20, 2010 9:04 PM

I have hiked a lot in the high country of the Olympic National Park and the North Cascades. Having a gun never even entered my mind. Now if I was going somewhere there were grizzly bears its often recommended to pack some heat preferably .357 magnum minimum. I was at the Dosewallips campground car camping with my wife and there were posting about a man confronting a cougar on a trail. Later I met a park ranger who was carrying perhaps a 9mm semi-auto pistol. I said to him "must be for the cougar". He laughed and set it was for defense from the campers who show up and like to drink beer and be generallly aggressive. So if you need a gun to defend yourself from your fellow campers I would say no guns please. If you decide to go somewhere like in Denali where you'd meet Grizzly bears go somewhere else or carry major firepower. But remember to save one round to shoot yourself. I have seen human remains after an grizzly attach. And he story of emptying a .35 revolver with no effect. Of course if you can carry an AR15 and side arm to a presidential event given that logic you "should" be able to carry anywhere you feel like whether it's "sane" or not. We had fully armed cops shot to death in a restaurant here recently by a perp with a hand gun. The cops didn't stand a chance despite body armor and side arms. So guns do not equal safety or protection. Only its illusion.

Posted by: mickster1 | February 20, 2010 9:22 PM

"Absolute lunacy. Until this law is revoked we will not be going to any national parks. Just what we need, angry gun toting freaks or paranoid loonies looking for a fight while families are trying to enjoy our national treasures. What would possibly compel a normal person to begin to think they would need to carry a firearm to a picknic at Gettysberg, or Valley Forge, or on a sightseeing tour of the Grand Canyon???? Disgraceful."

I can answer that. The three times in one night, last year, that black bears walked right through our camp, within a few feet of our tents, during the night at Shenandoah National Park. Had they attacked us, would've been nice to have more than just a machete to try and keep ourselves alive with.

Posted by: SCOTSGUARDS | February 20, 2010 10:46 PM

I'm a fairly liberal Democrat and a gun owner. The only time I take a gun in the woods is to go hunting.
I've come across bears, wolves, montain lions and crazy racoons. I once ran into the side of a large bull moose when I made a blind turn around a large tree while hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming.
Not once have I ever felt the need to protect myself from wild animals with a gun. Those that do are spineless and know nothing about nature. Wild animals want nothing to do with human beings, we literally smell bad to them.
I've been able to chase off bears and a mountain lion by simply yelling, standing tall, throwing rocks and waving my arms around. I once had to play golf with an overzealous racoon after my food with a small log.
Supporters of guns in national parks are just goons looking to shot at anything they want.
POSTED BY: TAZMODIOUS | FEBRUARY 19, 2010 5:51 PM

There are well over a 100 documented fatalities from bear attacks. This along with many other animal attacks. So you can drop the king of the wilderness BS. You’ve watched one to many Discovery channel special. One day you may not be so lucky and may not survive. That would make you a fool since you had an opportunity to carry some thing to protect yourself with. Ignorance kills.

Posted by: askgees | February 21, 2010 12:54 AM

My 2nd Amendment rights aside, it's never a bad idea to be armed when out in the wild. You just never know. Furthermore,any time someone wants to limit gun rights,is a clarion call to stand up for common sense.

Posted by: carlbatey | February 21, 2010 1:08 AM

Sorry, drumbeater, but I trust nobody with guns, not you, . . nobody. I know how safe you feel when you are packing heat for "our" protection. But the fact that you pack it shows to me psychological imbalance, a need for power.

Come to my front door with your gun, and you'll eat it.

Posted by: gkam | February 21, 2010 1:27 AM

I've spent tons of times in the outdoors - even a little time with foraging grizzlies. I've spent much time in the inner cities - Tucson and San Diego - walking alone late nights.

I've never had any situation even remotely dangerous enough that a gun (or even a knife) would be of help or hindrance.

People with guns for "defense" are paranoid.

Posted by: cmecyclist | February 21, 2010 7:08 AM

People with guns for "defense" are paranoid... except in very RARE exceptions, of course.

Posted by: cmecyclist | February 21, 2010 7:10 AM

It is quite simple:
If anybody feels he(she) needs a gun in a National Park for self defence should stay away for the sake of normal people.

Posted by: mixedbreed | February 21, 2010 7:59 AM

Can you just see Dick Cheney or George Bush going to national parks and enjoying their day? Please, they go to "private" reserves. They don't want anyone to shoot them by accident! Oh wait.......

I realize I am just an average middle class American. When I have gone to state parks or national parks, I don't worry about toting a gun. We are blessed with nature's beauty and the forward thinking of our ancestors. Please let's keep thinking and try to evolve beyond the "gun" mentality!

Posted by: avahome | February 21, 2010 8:55 AM

I'm constantly astounded by the minds of people willing to sacrifice the rights, other americans, guaranteed in our constitution, but not willing to surrender thier own, like the right to speak untruths and desparagingly of those exercising thier rights. If we allow the government to continue to ban the lawful carriage of firearms in the National Park system (or anywhere else for that matter), thereby surrendering our 2nd amendment rights, then we should also force unwarranted searches and seizures of all vehicles and persons entering the parks. We should also forbid praying, or worshiping while in a National Park. Maybe all who enter should only be allow to speak well of the Profit Obama... Do you get the picture... They're our rights, they're your rights, embrace them and defend them or lose them.

For all who reel against the return of our rights, I contend that you are acting in unconstitutional and even criminal fashion. If you were to restrict a black man from entering a National Park, you'd have commited a race crime, but you believe you can deprive me of my right to defend myself while entering the same...

Hypocrites!

Posted by: scott_ashcraft | February 21, 2010 9:01 AM

At heart, the pro gun supporters and their politicians are cowards (or chickenhawks as the case may be) because they refuse to push the case for their right to conceal and carry into congressional office buildings and the Capitol.

Posted by: HillRat | February 21, 2010 9:55 AM

Exactly how many people have been killed in national parks by wild animals. If wild animals are on the rampage in national parks, I've never heard about it. I live in an area with lots of black bears and they run away as soon as they see humans. If a mountain lion is stalking you he'll be on you before you even have a chance to draw on gun on him. For those of you who don't like guns there is one place you can go to where no guns are allowed, the NRA headquarters in VA.

Posted by: rj2008 | February 21, 2010 11:22 AM

What happened to my rights? I don't want to go to a park and worry about which sociopath around me in the park has a loaded gun.

When crimes are committed investigators talk about motive and opportunity. Any time a gun is present half that checklist is already covered. And as the right-wingers whip the mob into a frenzy we have a convenient motive - because he was a fill-in-the-blank. The next step is what, targeting groups for elimination?

The country is looking more and more like 1933 Germany every day. When will the radical right cross the line again? Can't forget the doctors already assassinated by "patriotic" right-wing psychopaths.

Posted by: BigTrees | February 21, 2010 11:22 AM

I worked as a police officer for many years, and feel that law abiding citizens should be allowed to own and carry firearms. I feel that law abiding citizens who have concealed weapons permits should be allowed to carry firearms in National Parks. I am not alarmed by the presence of guns in America.

I still continue to carry a handgun on or about my person.

For those of you who are opposed to owning or carrying firearms, I will address this issue as I have seen the abortion issue addressed.

If you don't like abortion, don't have one.

If you don't like guns, don't have one.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | February 21, 2010 1:15 PM

I live in Montana near Yellowstone Park. I have hiked and fished there for over 30 years and have never felt the need nor had the desire to carry a weapon. Yes, you need to be aware of your surroundings. I've had to back away from and walk around animals, especially bison which are probably the most likely and most dangerous animal you'll encounter. I will admit that every year there are cases where people are injured by animals, mostly through their own stupidity. The best defenses against animal attack are common sense and bear spray. If you're afraid of animals in the wild, go to a zoo, don't bring your gun to my Park.

Posted by: jonefoster49 | February 21, 2010 1:56 PM

The big difference in the comments and the unscientific poll results is that the NRA probably is encouraging it's loony members to vote Yes while many don't have the education or calm demeanor to write an intelligent comment.
Paranoia is used to pass many stupid laws, like the continuation and expansion of the second amendment. When it was passed, law enforcement and a national defense force were non-existent. Law enforcement, technology and people have changed in the past 200+ years, the first 2 for the better and sadly, the last for the worse.

Posted by: pjohn2 | February 21, 2010 2:12 PM

What happened to my rights? I don't want to go to a park and worry about which sociopath around me in the park has a loaded gun.
When crimes are committed investigators talk about motive and opportunity. Any time a gun is present half that checklist is already covered. And as the right-wingers whip the mob into a frenzy we have a convenient motive - because he was a fill-in-the-blank. The next step is what, targeting groups for elimination?
The country is looking more and more like 1933 Germany every day. When will the radical right cross the line again? Can't forget the doctors already assassinated by "patriotic" right-wing psychopaths.
***************************************************************************************************Interesting post. One of Hitler's early moves was to pass Gun Control legislation.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | February 21, 2010 3:14 PM

Montana123 wrote in part:

"Well, what about the rest of the country? What about the 40,000 or so gun deaths a year?"

Montana123, this is a gross exageration. I know it and you know it. I respectfully suggest that you and others similarily situated, stop with the labeling and exagerations and try using FACTS. There is no need to vilify those on the pro gun side of this issue.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | February 21, 2010 3:19 PM

Posted by: askgees: "There are well over a 100 documented fatalities from bear attacks. This along with many other animal attacks."

100 fatal bear attacks in the last 100 years. I saw the data. There are literally thousands of gun related deaths annually in the US. Other animal deaths include diseases from ticks, rodents, fleas etc. A lot of good a gun will do on a tick or flea.

"You’ve watched one to many Discovery channel special. One day you may not be so lucky and may not survive. That would make you a fool since you had an opportunity to carry some thing to protect yourself with."

All of the incidents with animals I described happened before the Discovery Channel came on the air. I am 38 and have been playing and hunting in the woods since I could walk. I know more about wildlife than you will ever lern in your entire life. The one who is ignorant is you, askgees.


Posted by: tazmodious | February 21, 2010 3:24 PM

Anyone who thinks they have the right to invade the territory of a known dangerous animal like a grizzly or polar bear deserve anything that animal does to them.

Posted by: tazmodious | February 21, 2010 3:40 PM

Posted by: SCOTSGUARDS
I can answer that. The three times in one night, last year, that black bears walked right through our camp, within a few feet of our tents, during the night at Shenandoah National Park. Had they attacked us, would've been nice to have more than just a machete to try and keep ourselves alive with.

----

Scotsguards – Please, please have someone videotaping this as you and your buddies grab for your guns in the dark, load them up and start blasting away as a pack of wild bears shreds their way into your tents. Wait – the guns are already loaded, by your side as you’re sleeping, ready for action? Even better.

I suspect the “cause of death” on the park police report will read “multiple gunshot wounds”. Meanwhile, the rangers will now have several wounded bears to deal with, which will be a real pain in the a-- and a real danger to everyone else in the park.

Do let us know where you are camping, though, so I can stay miles away. I’d like to avoid the stray rounds from your site.

Posted by: otrdtr | February 21, 2010 3:48 PM

Clearly the Post hasn't done a good job of explaining this since several commenters seem to think this has to do with hunting. It has nothing to do with hunting--which is not allowed and won't be with this law--but WILL make it easier for POACHERS to get away with stealing our national natural heritage. (Up to now, if they had a gun on them that was good evidence they were up to no good.) Also, people don't seem to understand that National Park Rangers are assaulted more often than any other police-type force, and allowing guns will just make that situation worse. And there will be more gun accidents--some idiot in a tent with a gun that goes off, accidentally shooting an innocent kid--maybe YOURS. If we haven't needed this for all these years, why change it now?

Posted by: Outside_Beltway | February 21, 2010 4:11 PM

"do all you think you are protected all the time when you are in a national park...
can you fight a bear off with your hands...
can you fight off a lunatic thats looking to skin you...
if unarmed are your safe...
Posted by: DwightCollins | February 19, 2010 11:19 AM
Dwight, if dumb was ammo, you'd be heavily armed.
Posted by: Attucks | February 21, 2010 10:59 AM "

are you stupid enough to say that what I wrote hasn't happened at least once...
I don't think I am the dumb one here, you are...
you live in some sort of lala land...
pathetic...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 21, 2010 4:40 PM

NO guns in parks, as it has been for over 100 years! I suppose this was yet another NRA move to bolster their membership but what is the point? You still can't hunt in nearly all parks. So I guess that leaves self defense. But most everyone I have met in about 50 years of visiting and working in National Parks has been friendly and helpful. I will be more afraid visiting parks in the future knowing there are people packing heat. Let's hope there aren't to many "accidental" shootings because of this unnecessary and inappropriate law.

Posted by: raleighwood1 | February 21, 2010 4:49 PM

I strongly oppose guns in N.Parks, state and local parks, shopping malls, public gathering places in general, particularly churches. I own about 8 guns. Haven't shot one in years and no longer hunt. Don't want to take away your guns, just don't want them waved in my face wherever I go. National Parks are very special places, like "national Shrines", with lots of foreign visitors who greatly fear guns in public places. You can't hunt in a national park, and you are probably safer in one, than in your home town. I know lots of people down here in the south who have permits. Most of them are racial bigots and hot-heads, in spite of their claims that they are so well screened and trained--not in my experience!. I challenge ANYONE to argue, rationally, that the world will be a safer place with more guns. (Didn't we try that back in the dark ages and old west)? That just doesn't make sense. I know the proponents argue that they need the protection from bears and 'lunitics', well most National parks don't have bears, and a handgun is worse than useless with a Grizzly anyway. (the only bear even remotely likely to present a threat) The 'nuts' are much less likely to cause a problem than the 'hot-headed' right-wing gun-proponents who, on purpose or by accident, would discharge a gun in a public place. You can't hunt in the park but I'll bet the cases of poaching explode now that it's so easy to have the gun at the ready. I see that mine is a minority view but I hold it is the more thoughtful, considered and responsible position. I was once a law-enforcement officer and I've yet to see a case where someone saved themselves by whipping out a piston. Just doesn't happen. But I DO know lots of cases where guns were dropped and discharged, or used in a road-rage incident or a child is killed, playing with a gun. 'fewer guns equal MORE public safety' YOU MUST know, deep down, that's true.

Posted by: donca32 | February 21, 2010 5:43 PM

Oh, by all means. And don't forget:
What good is your right to bear arms if you can't shoot someone with them.

Posted by: coloradodog | February 21, 2010 6:49 PM

Finally, to be legal again. For the Coasters, guns have been carried in National Parks for years, just not according to federal law. Vacationers traveling with weapons do not check them in at the park entrance. Most people don't carry weapons around park public areas, but when traveling deep into the wilds (try the Denali wilds without a weapon, not a peashooter pistol but a WEAPON like a 12 ga, or 450 Marlin) most sensible people carry. At least now it will be more or less legal.

Posted by: dodavatar | February 21, 2010 9:29 PM

No one is sanctioning hunting, shooting or plinking in National Parks. They are just allowing folks to carry a revolver or something with them when they go back into the woods where help is far, far away.

Makes perfect sense.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | February 22, 2010 1:30 AM

Welcome to the most violent nation in the world. Gun laws, like most other US laws are intended to keep our society more violent. Our rich masters want to keep it that way, so they can claim to be needed for our protection. Guns don't poach, gun-users do. Guns don't kill, gun-users do. Gun-users feel that they must carry a gun to feel secure. The problem is that allowing gun-users the irresponsibility to carry and use their guns in public places make all the non-violent who frequent those places less secure. This ain't the wild west any more, and the only thing tat made the west wild was the introduction of guns.

Posted by: halifar59 | February 22, 2010 8:17 AM

The gun control folks just never seem to get it. Laws are for law abiding people. The bad guys will not obey laws forbidding guns whether it is in National parks or any other place. I'm more worried about the bad guys than a bear when I'm camping in a National Park. Don't tell me to stay home behind locked doors if I'm "so afraid". I have a right to enjoy this land as much as the next person. Being armed is my defense against the bad guys. I'm vigilant and hope I never have to use my weapons, but don't try me. I will shoot if I have to.

Posted by: veebus52 | February 22, 2010 8:43 AM

A good friend of mine and his brother and their wives were at a park when a group of inbred low lives with knives came by and threatened to rape their wives and cut them up. My friend's brother pulled a gun from his car and told them leave or be shot. The bad guys didn't know the gun wasn't loaded but weren't brave enough press the subject. In this case just the presence of a gun defused the situation.

I've had a carry permit for 20 years I've never had to use my gun and I hope I never do but I want to have the option just in case. Carry permit holders are the most law abiding people in society if they weren't they wouldn't pass the back ground checks. I'm very comfortable with other people as well as myself carrying weapons.

Posted by: deputyave | February 24, 2010 6:15 PM

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