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National Parks Gun Law Takes Effect in February

By Ed O'Keefe

A new law permitting concealed loaded firearms at National Parks will not take effect until February and the Interior Department will continue to enforce Reagan-era restrictions until then, a spokeswoman said today.

"Under the current regulation, firearms are generally prohibited, but citizens may transport unloaded and dismantled or cased firearms and carry firearms while participating in approved hunting programs and under certain other circumstances," Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said in a statement released minutes after President Obama signed the credit card holders' bill of rights, which includes an amendment allowing firearms at the nation's National Parks and wildlife refuges.

The department plans to work on implementing the new law in the meantime, focusing especially on public safety and the safety of National Park employees, Barkoff said. Permission to carry a firearm into a park and the actual restrictions on such possession will vary by state, since the new federal law is governed by each state's firearms laws.

This week both the House and Senate approved Sen. Tom Coburn's amendment to the credit card bill. The Oklahoma Republican and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has tried for years to get the measure approved, arguing that differences in state and federal firearms restrictions made it difficult for gun owners to travel between state and federal lands. Interior instituted new regulations in the waning weeks of the Bush administration, only to have them rejected by a federal judge in March. The Obama administration refused to appeal the decision and the president signed today's bill with no comment on the gun provisions. Approval of Coburn's bill is yet another of several recent setbacks for gun control advocates.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 22, 2009; 3:32 PM ET
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The NRA really pushes some ignorant stuff! As an owner of 5 guns and avid target shooter, I'd never join an organization like this.

Now, there's a reason to be careful and apprehensive in our National Parks.

A Viet Nam Vet

Posted by: aeaustin | May 22, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I think its a great idea.

Posted by: upgp46 | May 22, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Evil people with bad intentions will get their guns into national parks or most anywhere else, regardless of any laws.

At worst, the new rules may discourage some families from visiting the parks and wildlife refuges.

The bigger question is why there are so many people who believe in their "right" to carry a weapon on their person, as if they were living a century or two ago.

The validation of this new law is more of a sad commentary on the status of of our nation's collective maturity and intellect, not to forget the NRA and associated lobbies.

Posted by: dlkimura | May 22, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

to aeaustin:

This was not pursued by the NRA, since this "review" of the rules has been ongoing for the last 5 years. The NRA got in on the game AFTER the Judge put a hold on the regulation.

to dlkimura:

A victory for civil rights is not a "sad commentary". Civil rights are "RIGHTS" not "privileges" granted by the government. The real "sad commentary" is that people such as you think it is the governments RIGHT to restrict what we are guaranteed in writing so that some namby pamby's FEEL safe.

Posted by: mdsinc | May 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Very good; poaching, murder and additional camping mayhem in national parks simplified. This is unwelcome news for people who use national parks for nonviolent recreation such as hiking, biking, climbing, camping, sightseeing and ranger programs. What's next, NRA, the right to bear underwater scuba guns?

Posted by: lastcentury | May 22, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse


Well said. Instead of visiting National Parks, the whiny gun control freaks can camp out in the parks of Southeast DC where they will be protected by the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

Posted by: hisroc | May 22, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse


I have a news flash for you: "poaching, murder and additional camping mayhem" already exist in our National Parks. You can look it up. The crime rate in the Parks makes it 12 times more likely for a Park Ranger to be assaulted or killed than an FBI agent.

So, enjoy your nonviolent "hiking, biking, climbing, camping, sightseeing and ranger programs" while your head is blissfully buried in the sand--or perhaps in some other place.

Posted by: hisroc | May 22, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

mdsinc wrote:
A victory for civil rights is not a "sad commentary". Civil rights are "RIGHTS" not "privileges" granted by the government.

Posted by: kase | May 22, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

mdsinc wrote:
A victory for civil rights is not a "sad commentary". Civil rights are "RIGHTS" not "privileges" granted by the government.

Posted by: kase | May 22, 2009 6:16 PM



The logic of your argument is not very persuasive. You mother is calling you to come up out of the basement and wash your hands for dinner.

Posted by: hisroc | May 22, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

What a crock. The only way this could happen was to tack it on to a credit card bill that had to pass. Congress is a bad joke and Obama disappoints me on this one. I expect that the NPS will find a way to implement this that still makes it onerous for the gun toters to tote in the parks.

Guns in National Parks? WTF???

Posted by: GaryJean | May 22, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

"owning" popguns doesn't count. Thanks so much Obammy. I never thought you would sign a pro-gun bill. I guess you couldn't alter your Friday schedule and had this as the pander-to-the-proletariat photo op of the week. Next you can chose a judge that supports the Second Amendment and have them incorporate the Second Amendment onto the states. Then Chicago's unconstitutional gun ban and registration scheme will get thrown out.

Posted by: Fiftycaltx1 | May 22, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the gun detractors on this board. Look guys, I live in Missouri. I'm a law abiding taxpayer and I hold a concealed carry permit. Someone please enlighten me.... I carry a handgun to WAL-MART for crying out loud! Thousands of concealed weapon holders do the same. Tell me how allowing a pistol in my belt in a national park is going to increase crime there... anyone? I've been to those very parks many times locked and loaded. The reason I wasn't discovered is because my pistol was... duh.... concealed. They don't hold strip searches at the entrance! Was I breaking the law? Yeah, I guess I was. I didn't even know it WAS illegal until this bill came around. I can't speak for Virginia or California but to go into the woods in Missouri WITHOUT a firearm would be judged STUPID by most Missourians.

Posted by: jcknight007 | May 22, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and for all of you folks bashing the NRA. Have you thought for a moment WHO constitutes the NRA? Is it some foreign organization? Headed up by aliens? NO! The NRA is an organization comprised of people. Those people are citizens of THIS COUNTRY. They pay their yearly $35 dues to the NRA so that they may have a voice in Washington to defend their constitutional rights! You all talk down the NRA but not one of you has offered any evidence of ANY NRA wrong doing or unethical conduct. God Bless The NRA. My membership has expired, but I'll soon remedy that! Thanks for reminding me that their are lunatics who would disarm good honest people who just want the ability to protect themselves from those who don't follow your idiotic laws in the first place!

Disgusted in Missouri

Posted by: jcknight007 | May 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

An astue letter writer proposed in today's NY Times that if people want to bring loaded, concealed guns into national parks then there should be a daily fee, per gun, with an accompanying window sticker attesting to having paid the fee. Seems fair to me, then we will all be able to identify the cars to avoid. I further propose a fee of $100/gun/day, and that the sticker be hunter orange, 12 " by 12" square. You gun nuts want to pack heat, fine, but the rest of us deserve to know who to avoid like the plague.

Posted by: pblotto | May 22, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

stuff like this is the reason why i didn't vote for this so called president. ha! everybody should have read up on him before they voted.

Posted by: tree68 | May 22, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I didn't vote for Obama, but I'm generally quite pleased with this bill (now law), the concealed carry amendment, and his raising of the CAFE standards. Hopefully, he'll continue to press important issues like combating climate change and leave us gunowners the heck alone.

Perhaps as an effort to infuriate some of you whack jobs out there, those of us in the 39 Right To Carry states will probably organize "Carry Ins" where a group of us will lawfully carry en masse into the National Parks come February.

You gun hating loons need to get a reality check. There's 4 million of us with a license to carry, and there's still no "blood in the streets" from us carrying guns for protection.

Posted by: kengrubb | May 22, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Without getting in the pros and cons of this, I'm very confused. What if I visit either Yellowstone, or even Cumberland Gap NPs? Both span state borders. Does that mean that they will have some chalk line or fence down the middle of the park saying, "Now entering Virginia, please do not cross this line if you have a concealed weapon"?

As for "Disgusted in Missouri", do you carry when you stop at the local post office?

Posted by: cyberfool | May 22, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I love the anti-gun comments. It is hard to imagine how people can be so stupid in this country.

Let me get this straight, someone who ALREADY HAS A STATE ISSUED CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT is somehow more dangerous with a gun than a drug dealing scumbag? We need to take the gun away from the person with the background check because why?

To all you who are now "afraid" to go to a park because "someone" may have a gun, you may not want to go to DC or any major city. Last I heard, criminals and drug dealers carry guns - and they have not had a background check.

Better also stay away from Virginia, lots of us DO carry guns - both concealed and otherwise. LIKE ME! That ain't no cell phone on my hip, its a GLOCK 21 (.45ACP) and its VERY LOADED!

Only a fool really thinks that just because I have a gun I'm somehow dangerous. Liberals love to lie to "prove" a point.

Posted by: SlideRule | May 22, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey lefties,
Its the God given right to self defense you are so eager to infringe on. I carry around you clowns every single day, you'd never know it, you don't faint, and you don't get shot....get used to it!
The same "gotta wear a bicycle helmet" crowd wants to tell me its safe here:
Go ahead, look, you may learn something.

Posted by: tjschul1 | May 22, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey "aeaustin", you sound nothing like a gun owner, nor a Second Amendment appreciating Vet for that matter. Nice try.

"dlkimura", you are representative of the individual idiocy which all too often has a lop-sided voice within this Nation. If you do not like our Second Amendment, then leave this country. Otherwise, just continue to sit inside your safe, imaginary world on a daily basis, continuously producing ignorant fodder for the Constitutionally naive citizenry of these United States.

For anyone complaining about "More Guns in our Parks", how about you travel to the bush areas of Yosemite Park, which have an increasing rate of Wolf and Grizzly attacks, or go ahead and plan a visitation to Denali National Park in Alaska, which happens to be roughly 10,000 sq. miles of Pure Wilderness, where no help exists if a two or four-legged Predator decides to attack you. People are FORCED to already sneak firearms into these parks, as no SANE person in ANY logical state of mind would EVER visit such areas without a likewise form of protection. Get out of your cozy little idealist world, and take note of the reality around you for once in your life.

Posted by: TheAnalyst | May 22, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

The left wingers bashing the NRA here in the Post are the mirror image of the right wingers who bash the ACLU in the Times.

Both organizations defend constitutional rights you'd like to deny to others, and you hate them for it.

Posted by: GDHP | May 23, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

I take no side on this issue, but PLEASE stop bashing D.C. I am a female in my 60s and in my many years living in D.C. have never encountered any problem involving a firearm. Every city has it's bad neighborhoods and drug dealers, so why is Washington, D.C. always bashed?

Posted by: Poppy-Red | May 23, 2009 5:55 AM | Report abuse

I like to read the paper everyday just to enlighten myself a bit. Often I see items that are questionable. This article was one that got to me. I personally do not have a problem with the firearms being in national parks. No one said they were allowed to shoot them. My problem with all this is what does a credit card referendum have to do with firearms in the first place in fact what are these law makers thinking. It is laws written with good intent tarnished by some random amendment out of left field that are destroying the American peoples trust in our government. Why have we let these politicians rule us. We as a people have been wearing blinders long enough. Time we take control of our law makers and stop letting them have control of us. I believe there should be laws on how we write and ratify laws.
Law Making Rules
1. Every law must be written in modern English and understandable by the American populous with at least a 10th grade education.(basically the main issue is that we as people do not understand the laws as they are because they are written with 30 paragraphs of trash wording that does not have any meaning then, the we can not do this or that, followed by an amendment and exceptions making the law pointless and in all consisting of 900 to 1000 pages so by the time we are half way through with it we give up on it or have no idea what it says.)
2. All laws and amendments must be published to the public and voted on in a democratic fashion much like the election system by the populous.(popular vote wins) In todays modern age with computers and internet at our figure tips there is no reason we can not do this.
3. All laws and Amendments must have 100% to do with the bills they are on or be in a separate bill.(basically write one law and vote on one law at a time do not stack laws and amendments that have absolutely nothing to do with each other.)
4. If a law has no basis in the modern world remove it.

Posted by: TheCommonMan | May 23, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Rather than stay away from us (carriers) in National Parks, you anti-gun idiots should know you'd be avoiding the safest place to be. Yes, I'll protect YOU also if the need arises even if you don't want me to.
I have no problem with YOU and flowers in your hair singing kumba-ya but please do NOT impose your naivete on me.

Posted by: mapko333 | May 23, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

President Obama and the Congressional Leadership--you promised an end to politics as usual, and then you let this one be pulled under your noses. Your rush to show some action has led to unintended consequences. Our national parks are a model for the world. Wouldn't a week in Conference Committee to flush this kind of nonsense out of the bill have been worth it? Those that voted for you think so. Now repeal this insane introduction of danger into our treasures.

Posted by: jvibora | May 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Our National Parks will be no more dangerous than they already are. There have been 16 murders in our National Parks and why don't you ask the families of those 16 how they felt about their family members not having any protection. I don't know the exact number of concealed carry permits in the U. S. but I am sure that they rarely commit crimes with their "legal concealed carry weapons" afforeded to them by the Second Amendent after going through State and Federal background checks and training that is mandatory. This law will not allow the open carry of rifles and AK-47's as most of the uninformed people leaving their comments because the local state law does not allow that in most states except maybe , Alaska. Do you carry first aid kits, road flares, extra food , clothing, and a spare tire for your car to protect your family? A handgun owner that is carrying a concealed carry weapon is using that just like the other provisions that he/she is taking to protect his/her family. If you choose not to be able to protect you or youer family that is your right! It is not very smart but still your right. Most people that carry concealed persons do not take that lightly and I know that I hope that I never have to use it but I will if my life or my families life is threatened. Police and Park Rangers are usually too far away to be of help and usually just clean up the mess they could not prevent.

Posted by: utahexplorer | May 23, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Correction to last posting. sorry! Most people that carry concealed weapons do not take that lightly and I know that I hope that I never have to use it but I will if my life or my families life is threatened. Police and Park Rangers are usually too far away to be of help and usually just clean up the mess they could not prevent.

Posted by: utahexplorer | May 23, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

If Congress is so afraid of the firearm fondlers who run the National Rifle Association, why don't they go all the way and allow guns in the hall of Congress and the White House.

Posted by: gvkelly | May 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Our National Parks will now be much safer. I carry my gun on me in all my state parks and feel much safer. I was robbed twice before getting my ccw while walking. People with ccws dont go around shooting things and people. Only the criminals without ccws do. Our country will be much safer when law abiding citizens with ccws can carry there pistols anywhere in the country.

Posted by: mk3509 | May 24, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Strange, I camp, hike, boat, interact with the public while armed all the time. I've never had an incident. I have a right to protect myself and a responsibility to protect my family. There are rapes and assaults all the time in national parks...look it up! Get armed and protect yourself.

Posted by: jsh431 | May 24, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Besides state laws that might have at least some sensible rules, perhaps the Park Service can require trigger guards or other means to prevent gun owners from shooting their own kids accidentally. Or someone elses. Carrying around a loaded weapon, apart from combat, goes against everything I learned when I got my first gun license. One hopes these folks are smarter than a 15-year old. The NRA is just bizarre, their thinking is so far off the 21st century.

Posted by: BobinAZ | May 24, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

An astue letter writer proposed in today's NY Times that if people want to bring loaded, concealed guns into national parks then there should be a daily fee, per gun, with an accompanying window sticker attesting to having paid the fee. Seems fair to me, then we will all be able to identify the cars to avoid. I further propose a fee of $100/gun/day, and that the sticker be hunter orange, 12 " by 12" square. You gun nuts want to pack heat, fine, but the rest of us deserve to know who to avoid like the plague.

Wow, think about this.
#1. All of the thieves would now know which cars to target to steal guns from their law abiding owners.
#2. How many rangers are available to help you in in emergency? Like when being attacked by someone who just stole a gun from a car.
#3. When hiking in the wilderness there are wild animals. They are cute on TV but in real life they believe in survival of the fittest. That means they can attack anything they view as a threat, or as a "treat". Want to wait for a ranger to help?

These anti-gun crybabies just don't get it. Law abiding citizens who carry firearms legally would be on your side if you needed help in a deadly situation. I know I want my gun when I'm at Walmart or in Yellowstone. I have had a permit for over 8 years and thankfully I have never had to use my weapon. But I have the ability to defend myself if need be.

Maybe we should disarm our military too. A completely defenseless nation would be left alone right?

Posted by: xmidwest | May 25, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey dont blame the NRA dems, it was your boy Obama who signed the bill! Signs of the times my friends. Even Pelosi, Reid and others are seeing that battling the Gun Lobby is a losing battle. Perhaps that's because the SUPREME COURT DETERMINED THAT IT IS AN AMERICAN'S RIGHT to bear arms!!!

Posted by: crkosel | May 25, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

You know,there is something so very oxymoron about the comments made against carrying a firearm in US Parks. We have a lot of Great people in the service right now that are carrying guns to protect our freedoms. As a WWII vet, we all carried guns,it was mandatory,as well as necessary.
By the way, we WON that war!

Posted by: jnardo1 | May 25, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Instead of placing "markers" on the vehicles of people who are legally armed (this idea seems familiar...a yellow star perhaps?)let's encourage those people who are proud of the fact that they are NOT able to defend themselves don the "Sucker" I.D.'s on their vehicles!
One poster stated that perhaps people with families may stop going to Nat'l Parks because some scum sucking, law-abiding citizens have the unmittigated gall to actually exercise their US Constitutional rights by carrying a concealed (OMG)GUN!
If this is their thinking, then perhaps they should also consider staying away because there's surely going to be a lot of potential rapist's there, as about half of all the park visitors are male.

The thing that amazes me, is the fact that crime does take place in Nat'l Parks and some of these folks are willing to accept that, but at the same time wanting to deny everyone the means to defend themselves.

The issue over guns, in general, is about two things; fear and trust.
Some folks actually have a fear of guns and they obviously don't trust anyone (especially us) with them.
The sheep fears both the sheepdog and the wolf because both have teeth and the sheep have no idea as to who to fear the most.
In this scenario, the sheepdog is of course the police (sorry LEO's) and the wolf is the bad guy. Since we're not the police it's a logical conclusion for the "sheep" to see us as the bad guy(s).
Even though most of us have legally carried a firearm (safely and responsibly) in stores, restaurants, and other public places for many years, while standing right next to them and their families this does little to convince some folks that we are not a threat to them or their families.
Allowing legally concealed pistols to be carried in a park poses no threat to anyone except perhaps the criminals who choose to prey on innocent, vulnerable victims.
People who have concealed pistol licenses are statistically one of, if not the most law-abiding demographic groups in the country. With 48 states now issuing these licenses, we have currently have about 5 MILLION of us who are licensed to do so and that number is increasing rapidly.

Deny a U.S. citizens access to our Nat'l Parks should not be restricted simply because we choose to legally exercise our Second Amendment rights.

Posted by: Notawolf | May 26, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

LOL great pro-freedom comments, I can't add anything to what has already been said. Great job, guys!!! Keep it up, especially whenever anti-gunowner bigots spout ridiculous blather.

Posted by: k_romulus | May 26, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration has been a complete disappointment in regards to gun control. He has broken just about all of his campaign promises concerning guns (no assault weapon ban, made the Tiahrt Amendment worse, no gun show loophole law, and now guns in parks).

I voted for him in large part because i wanted to see someone stand up to the gun lobby and pass some common sense gun laws and try to slow the 32 gun deaths in this country every single day. 12 people have died of the swine flu in the past few weeks and it was non-stop coverage. Several hundred people have died from guns, and yet there is not even a blip about it on the news. It is shameful that this country has become immune to the shocking number of people, including dozens of school age children in Chicago alone, that are killed every year. 32,000 people a year die from gun in the US. 32,000. This is a problem, and this administration for all their promises has made things worse. Shame on the White House.

Posted by: roteki | May 26, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"32000 people a year die from guns in the US."

But 19000 of those 32000 deaths are suicides, so how would banning guns from national parks stop suicide by car exhaust, hanging, OD'g, etc? When I went to the NPS exhibit at the folklife festival a few years back, the rangers had photos of suicide scenes in NP lands, mainly using the car-exhaust-piped-to-the-passenger-compartment trick. Lets have a discussion with an apples-apples comparison please.

Posted by: k_romulus | May 26, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest here, the ultimate goal of anti-gunners like yourself is to eventually eliminate all civilian gun ownership in our country.
IF that should happen do you honestly believe that the criminals and gang bangers are going to run down to the police station and surrender their guns?

You folks speak of the "gun lobby" as if it was some huge entity that had nothing but evil on it's mind.
The "gun lobby" groups, such as the NRA, GOA, SAF, and others, are made up of members who are supporting a cause that we believe in, which is the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
BTW, this is the same Constitution that contains the 1st Amendment, which guarantees you and I the right to Free Speech and to openly discuss issues as were are now on this forum.
How would you like it if someone was trying to take away your rights to free speech, or the right to choose your religion?

Now think about this.
Have you ever heard any pro Second Amendment organization advocating violence?
Have you ever heard ONE of these organizations suggest that someone who has commited a crime with a firearm should NOT be prosecuted?

The Second Amendment guarantees us "the right to keep and bear arms", and as long as this country stands, we'll be here fighting to protect our rights.

Sadly, some of our political leaders, who take an oath to "protect, preserve, and defend" our Constitution sometimes fall short when it comes to this all important part of that document.

Posted by: Notawolf | May 27, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I've read all the postings here and I've come to the conclusion that I only respect the opinion of the respectful, irregardless of their stand on the issue. The name calling only weakens the position of the person making the posting. I have also concluded that many post an opinion based on emotion and not fact. If we actually knew and understood the FACTS of the issue that Congress voted on and President Obama signed into law we, collectively, might have a better understanding as to WHY the law was submitted, passed and signed in the first place. Being a conservative and in favor of protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of all US citizens, I still respect the right of all to express their opinion. But I suggest that if you really want to be heard as having a believable position on the issue, pro or con, be respectful and don't resort to name calling or using blanket degradation terminology (idiot, stupid, bizarre, etc.).

Posted by: rmorton | May 29, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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