National Park gun ban ends on Monday
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.
Depending on state gun laws, visitors will be able to carry concealed and loaded guns into parks, the Park Service said.
The District bans people from carrying firearms; Maryland law allows gun owners with permits to carry handguns and rifles. Virginia allows for open and concealed carrying with proper permits and has reciprocity agreements with 30 states.
West Virginia, home to Harpers Ferry National Historical Site, allows for open carrying but requires a state permit for concealed firearms.
The Park Service has spent months preparing for the new law, holding conference calls in recent days with park supervisors to review the changes and ensure they prepare signage and talking points for visitors, spokesman David Barna said.
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| February 19, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
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