Photo from iStockphoto
Back in June we had a bit of a discussion here on Sierra Club Trails about how Congress had just passed a bill to allow folks to carry concealed weapons into national parks. We set up a poll in our virtual campfire ring -- our discussion forums -- and let community members weigh in with their thoughts about that development.
Well, on Monday the new law went into effect. Anyone who has a concealed weapons permit may now pack a pistol into national parks, monuments, seashores, and wildlife refuges. You still can't hunt in these places, nor can you take a weapon into facilities such as visitor centers and ranger stations.
But yeah, the guy in the campsite next to you could have a handgun in his hammock, and there might be a Smith & Wesson in that Windstar minivan at the scenic overlook.
The Washington Post provides this helpful historical perspective:
Congress lifted the gun ban last spring, after years of efforts by a bipartisan
coalition that said differences in state and federal firearms laws made
it difficult for gun owners to travel between state and federal lands.
The Bush administration had lifted the ban on concealed weapons in
its final months, after pressure from gun rights groups, including the
National Rifle Association. But a federal judge blocked the move last
year. The Obama administration declined to appeal the ruling, and
Congress passed the law. President Obama signed the measure without comment as part of a credit card reform package.
Now that the law is actually in effect, we'd like to know what you all here in the Trails community think. Will this change the national park experience for you at all? Does it worry you, or make you feel safer?
Share your comments on this blog post, and be sure to pop over and check out the poll.