Loaded guns now allowed in national parks
February 22, 2010
A new law takes effect today, allowing loaded guns in major national parks and wildlife refuges, including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. [Los Angeles Times]
The law lets licensed gun owners bring in firearms as long as they are allowed by state law. Guns will be allowed in all but 20 of the park service’s 392 locations, including Yosemite National Park. However, guns will not be allowed in visitor centers or ranger offices because guns are banned in federal buildings.
The decision to allow guns in national parks comes as a result of intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association. Observers also suggest that the political climate regarding the issue has shifted dramatically since a 2008 Supreme Court decision reinforcing the right of the individual to possess firearms for self-defense.
Bill Wade, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, calls the decision a sad chapter in the evolution of the park system.
“People go to national parks to get away from things that they face in everyday living, where they live and work. Now I think that social dynamic is really going to change.”