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What Do Guns and Credit Cards Have in Common?

By Eva Rodriguez

Never underestimate the power and ingenuity of the gun lobby.

The latest example of the lobby's strength involves a fight over whether to allow concealed weapons in national parks and refuges. In its waning days, the Bush administration rushed through a regulation to allow just that. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees filed suit and convinced a D.C. federal judge earlier this year to put the rule on hold. The judge blasted as "astoundingly flawed" the process used by the Bush administration to push through the rule. After initially defending the rule, the Obama Interior Department in April decided not to appeal the judge's ruling, thus putting a formal end to the policy and restoring the law as it was during the Reagan administration. Game, set, match -- and an obvious victory for gun regulation advocates, right? Think again.

On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment to a credit card reform bill -- a credit card reform bill! -- that not only reinstates the Bush-era rule but actually broadens it to give gun owners even more leeway in carrying guns on public lands. The amendment was approved by a 67-29 vote. A House version of the credit card bill -- did I mention Coburn slapped the gun amendment on a credit card bill? -- does not carry the gun provision. This discrepancy now forces House and Senate negotiators to come to some sort of compromise. Here's a suggested resolution: Drop the gun amendment completely from the -- wait for it -- credit card bill.

I know this kind of stuff goes on all the time in Washington; what some people call legislative extortion others call good, old-fashioned politics. But that doesn't make it right. Lawmakers shouldn't be tacking on irrelevant provisions to bills they know will likely pass. (In this case, the president has said he wants to sign the credit card reform measures by Memorial Day.) It's a cheap way to sneak in provisions that should be fully and openly debated on their own merits. Plus, it makes no sense to allow concealed weapons in national parks and refuges that are among the safest and most pristine places in the country.

By Eva Rodriguez  | May 14, 2009; 3:37 PM ET
Categories:  Rodriguez  | Tags:  Eva Rodriguez  
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Comments

It's really quite simple. Let's say you go to Denali National Park in Alaska where the bears grow in excess of 1,200 lbs and wolf packs roam hungry looking for the remnants of depleted Caribou populations. Now, let's say you come across some of these critters and accidentally surprise them as they are feeding on a kill.

While you might calmly start to back away, this is no guarantee of your safety. Only a gun can do that, and even a gun is not an absolute guarantee, but certainly is a fighting chance and better than a PETA T-Shirt that reads 'I love amimals!". (Intentionally mispelled)

There is no reason folks cannot peacefully carry firearms for protection into wild areas; our history's pioneers had the sense to do that. There is no hunting or target-shooting allowed in these parks, so stray bullets are not really an issue.

This is about self-preservation, and about an overly powerful national government trying to tell individuals "how dare you take the responsibility of self-defense upon yourselves."

The vanity of government has no bounds.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 14, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

right on real texan. we can give the libs instant inflatable giant grizzly ballons. they can test them and see if they will fend off an animal attack.( hopefully nobody makes them smell like steak.)

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | May 14, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Where ever 'one' travails on this planet, whether 'packing' a gun, box cutter, scuba divers spear gun, machete, club, crow bar, hammer, etcetera... Ya' can't legislate core human behavior.... Psychology 101 much?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | May 14, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I would not go into a National Park or remote wildlife refuge without some protection. You are truly alone out there. Some places are so wild that state authorities caution even expert guides about venturing in.

Threats?

Wild animals (attacks are rare but can be devastating)
Rabid animals (this can be deadly)
Humans (you could wander onto a meth lab. Some strange, and sometimes dangerous, people live out in the woods.)
Starvation (yes, you could get lost, then the gun serves not only as protection but as a means for securing food)

Now a lot of this depends upon how deep into the wilderness you go, but still, peacefully carrying a concealed weapon harms no one. And if you are 20 miles from the nearest road in the wilds of Alaska, you would be very foolish not to have some kind of weapon.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 14, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

This is so ridiculous. Of course you should be able to carry guns on public, national park land. This is in fact one of the areas where it makes the most sense to carry a firearm (not that you shouldn't be able to carry a gun other places). The Brady Bill freedom haters won't be satisfied until they've deprived every American of their Second Amendment rights permanently. So what if the law was tucked into a credit card bill? The original legislation never should have been struck down in the first place. So much for Obama's promises to protect the Second Amendment, he won't even stand up for common sense measures such as the freedom to carry a firearm in a national park.

Posted by: j-rock642 | May 14, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

LOL! +1M to RealTexan!

"The Gun Lobby" includes a veto-proof majority of the Senate. Pres. Obama keeps most of the sensible Tiahrt Amendment intact in HIS budget bill. Anti-gunowners like Rodriguez are reaching for the Pepto. Gotta love it!!

Posted by: k_romulus | May 14, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"The amendment was approved by a 67-29 vote."

This in a Democratic-controlled Senate. That should tell you something, Rodriguez. It tells you that Democrats who actually care about winning elections don't want to touch gun control with a 14-foot pole.

There has been a national conversation on gun control, and the fact is the gun-grabbers lost the debate. There is less interest in gun control now than at any time in the past 30 years. Only a minority of single-issue obsessives still harp on about it. But when they do, Republicans love it.

I hate gun control. You know why? Because I hate Republicans. And the gun control lobby are the one bunch who could let these reprobates get their hands on power again, by driving millions of independents and gun-owning Democrats into their camp.

Only one thing is going to give the GOP a free ticket back from the political wilderness: letting the gun-grabbers mouth off as if they represent Obama or the Democratic party's views. They don't.

Posted by: kevrobb | May 14, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the NPS concealed carry rule that was put on hold by the court for not having first conducted an "environmental impact study?"

The Obama Administration did not "put[] a formal end to the policy."

Instead, the Interior Department said that it would comply with the court ruling and go back to cross all their T's and dot their I's to be sure a proper impact study is in the records.

"Game, Set, and Match" indeed.
Fair play to the pro-rights movement, foul on the anti-gunowners.

Posted by: k_romulus | May 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

What is absurd is that the author thinks 2nd amendment right should be limited in national parks. She obviously is not an outdoors woman. She obviously thinks her opinion holds more weight than the majority of Americans who think otherwise. She is free to not carry a weapon into the parks; she is not free to impose her will on those of that do. She also needs to study our Constitution and realize that the process by which this rule was added is part of our American system of good government. If the good Senator from Oklahoma had added a ban on opposing same sex marriages or adding a national day of apology to other nations we have offended to our calender; I am sure she would be all for it. Ms. Rodriquez; You need to understand that the gun rights are as American as apple pie. Gun control is an unAmerican as North Korea or Iran or Venezuela or whatever country's ideology that you use to justify your senseless banter. Accept gun rights as a pillar of American society or go back to whatever country you or your parents or grandparents or great grandparents emigrated from.

Posted by: civilrightist | May 14, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I hike all the time in wilderness areas. I do not want some redneck carrying a weapon, concealed or other wise, in the areas that I hike. The Senate and the first posters are completely out of line.

What the heck is it about Conservatives and guns? Maybe I do not really understand the logic because I am a real man and do not need some kind of firearm to prove it to anyone. As far as I am concerned all you gunowners out there are just a bunch of chicken wusses. The only people who need guns are hunters and they only need them during hunting season. The rest is just misplaced vanity. What a bunch of losers you gunowners are.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | May 14, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

OMG! All those miles I hiked in Shenandoah and Rock Creek National Parks and now I find that the whole time I was in the presence of grizzlies and packs of ravenous wild wolves! How did I manage to survive without a gun? Worse, I've lived in Washington, DC, for 35 years - without a gun! - and I'm still alive.

Yes, there are lots of people it seems who are so timid that they feel they must have a gun with them wherever they go to help them make it through the day, so we must expect this kind of legislative crap, but I sure wish these people would grow a few.

I'm more at risk in America from gun owners (yes, people who own guns and commit crimes are gun owners!), than in 95% of the national parks. If it can be proven that hikers in the remaining 5% need to have a gun in the backcountry then it would only make sense to make it legal to carry a gun in those specific cases. Making it legal for people to bring guns to Rock Creek Park and Great Falls is stupid.

Posted by: Trakker | May 14, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

So the debate on a gun carry bill in the National Park requires full and open debate, but a debate on nationallizing 1/6 of the GNP (health care), must absolutely be rushed by june.... and the stimulus package had to be rushed or the world would collaps---- and the banking bill had to be rushed or the sun would supernova....

____
!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
--
!
!

Pinnochio's nose is growing longer, and longer....

Posted by: Paladin7b | May 14, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

RealTexan1 writes
"Let's say you go to Denali National Park in Alaska where the bears grow in excess of 1,200 lbs and wolf packs roam hungry looking for the remnants of depleted Caribou populations. Now, let's say you come across some of these critters and accidentally surprise them as they are feeding on a kill."


Perhaps you would be better served by carrying your sidearm openly & available for use, rather than concealed. What are you going to do, ask the bears and wolves to wait a moment while you dig your piece out of your pack or your underpants?

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 14, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Is this rule about CONCEALED weapons? I think you can tote a big Colt 45 on your hip to scare the griz right now. Is that incorrect?

Does the state of Oklahoma have the worst pair of Senators or is it Alabama or Kentucky or my state of Connecticut?

Does the circus that is the Congress not give us reason enough to vote the bums out. I am talking to YOU. I won't ever vote for Dodd or Lieberman and I am a flaming liberal.

Posted by: LHO39 | May 14, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with allowing people to carry firearms in National Parks. Being in the wilderness, as many of you have stated, does present certain dangers that might call for the use of a weapon. But why does that weapon need to be concealed?

Even if there is some reason to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in National Parks as opposed to carrying weapons openly, should such a law really be included in a bill related to credit cards? If there is such a strong case for allowing concealed weapons in National Parks, shouldn't such a law stand on its own? The fact that in order for it to pass such a provision needs to be attached to a politically popular but unrelated bill seems a bit undemocratic, doncha think? Whatever happened to the "marketplace of ideas"?

Posted by: DM_Inf | May 14, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Could someone please explain why the amendment included language that would allow people to carry AK-47's (semi-automatic assault weapons) in national parks? There are a lot of posters on this topic who feel that this legislation is necessary--I'm just wondering why it's necessary to carry a weapon designed for military battlefields and used by armies and terrorists worldwide and meant to be part of "massed infantry fire. I'm not saying I'm against someone being allowed to arm herself in a national park--I'm just wondering why semiautomatic weapons were included. Is this common-sense legislation?

Also, just shameful that senators are allowed to tack on an amendment to legislation that is needed and has nothing to do with the amendment. Let's have an honest debate out in the open, shall we? Please be comfortable enough with your position to bring it to the floor.

Posted by: kjanes741 | May 14, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

RealTexan1:

I have traveled by canoe and foot over thousands of miles of the precambian shield and rocky mountains in Canada. I have never carried a gun. Your post about needing one for survival is the silly prattling of someone with lots of hat and no cows.

I feel far more threatened by people with unnecessary guns than I do by any wild animal on this continent.

Ban guns in the park and let mother nature cull the herd of people stupid enough to hand feed bears.

Posted by: dehall | May 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The problem is: Credit cards don't kill, People do, If people misuse credit cards they are killing themselves and others involved with them. Credit cards are also a way to steal peoples' identities and in doing so the slate is full of more people who owe than people who pay for what they put on credit cards. Giving someone who is irresponsible a $5,000 credit limit is like giving an untrained person a gun. What do you do with it- blow it to the max!!Killing me softly with your song,,,,,"

Posted by: dekonblue | May 14, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

If you ban legal guns in Yellowstone, that will reduce gang violence in Detroit.

The liberal thought process is shaped by many years of drug abuse.

Posted by: pkhenry | May 14, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Gun advocates and U.S. Senators share a common fear. For gun advocates, an angry person or animal is a potential threat. For U.S. Senators, an angry NRA is a potential threat. The bill would enables both gun advocates and senators to defend themselves against their threats.

Posted by: ad9inaz | May 14, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, seems there are a lot of "Timothy Treadwells" on this forum who think because they beat the odds while being vulnerable that their risks never really existed.

Bottom line: Out in the wilderness, and I mean the deep wild wilderness anything can happen and help is hours or days away. So why put yourself at unnecessary risk? Unless you think you are so mentally unstable as to not be able to responsibly handle a firearm.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 14, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The current law was enacted during the Reagan administation, which allows cased, unloaded firearms to be brought into national parks if they're declared. Previous law dating from the 1930s banned firearms in an effort to minimize poaching. Poaching has been a problem around here, probably like it is everywhere there is game and secluded areas. Allowing more firearms into secluded areas will also result in more shot up signs, piles of broken glass, and sometimes worse.

At one time one could order a machinegun thru the mail, no questions asked. Gun laws get passed because people do stupid thngs with guns.

Posted by: PortlandAreaWA | May 14, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

It certainly is a scurvy trick, but really: enough with the whining. Every one of you knows perfectly well that you would be APPLAUDING a move like this if it was for legislation YOU like.

Posted by: EnjoyEverySandwich | May 14, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly liberals are outraged that someone else plays their legislative game.
Hypocrites.

Posted by: combat18 | May 14, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I doubt most of the supporters of this bill even spend time in national parks. I spend much of my time in them, and I can assure you that guns are unnecessary AT BEST. You have a better chance of being killed in a plane crash than of being attacked by wild animals. Do you suggest we carry concealed guns on planes to protect us from dangerous crashes? Guns don't guarantee safety.

Whats funny about this debate is the world "concealed". If the use of the gun is for protection from wild animals, why should you need to conceal it? Frankly, the only things out there that requires a gun to be safe from is other paranoid gun-toting wannabe cowboys. Real men use the bow-and-arrow.

Posted by: rgodwin | May 14, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I've lived in a state that has had "shall issue" concealed carry for almost 15 years. And yet I've survived. All of the apocalyptic talk from the gun control folks about the rivers of blood running in the streets has all been proved to be nonsense. And yet they keep it up: now it's rivers of blood in the parks. Now, in my state those who hold concealed carry permits can exercise them in state parks...and there has been no trouble with that either.

How many times being wrong will it take for you guys to get it?

Posted by: EnjoyEverySandwich | May 14, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the author doesn't follow the crime trends in the National Parks... You're more likely to be assaulted by a pot grower or drug dealer than a hungry bear. Most rangers spend their time being policemen vice the "friends of nature". If you think police response time in an urban area is bad, just try calling for help in the wilderness without cell coverage, streets, or house numbers. Hopefully someone will find your bones and bring them back to decide how you met your demise. Plus, if I have gone through the hoops to carry a firearm legally amongst the great masses in the concrete jungle, why would it be more dangerous to carry it legally in the great outdoors??? You've likely been standing in line behind a person legally carrying a concealed firearm at McDonald's more often than you know. Did they ever try to take your super-sized big Mac away from you by force? Thought not.....

Try worrying about that non-permit holding pot rancher in the park than the law-abiding folks who stick to the letter of the law, fill out the forms, take the training, and in many cases handled firearms as a defender of this nation.

Remember, when seconds count, police are only minutes away.

Posted by: Spitfires | May 14, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, you're right, this makes no sense at all....except that Republicans and Democrats alike do it ALL THE TIME!! It's so routine, I don't even understand how this is newsworthy? Eva?? Why is this different and newsworthy?

Perhaps your last sentence is the most revealing: "Plus, it makes no sense to allow concealed weapons in national parks and refuges that are among the safest and most pristine places in the country."

Do you have any kind of statistics to back up the statement that our national parks are among the safest places in the country? Personally, if I'm camping in the backwoods, with no help immediately available, and no place to run, I would be damn scared...especially if I was with my wife and kids. Ever hear about the atrocities that regularly happen on the Appalachian Trail???

Posted by: sw11231 | May 14, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the statement that our national parks are among the safest places in the country:

"The probability of becoming a victim of a violent crime in a national park is 1 in more than 708,000 — less likely than being struck by lightning." Source:Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

Posted by: kjanes741 | May 14, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen a most disjointed and doctrinaire debate in my life. OK I don't mind people carrying shotguns and rifles, heck even hunting animals within a controlled hunting season (and mind-you I'm a city slicker through and through). But what does carrying a CONCEALED weapon ensure that you won't be attacked by a ravenous bear, pack of wolves or an madman bent on world domination hiding in Yellowstone?

Additionally don't bears and wolves have better sense of smell than sight and cats (read cougars/mountain lions) while good at seeing at night and distinguish shapes are terrible at details? So wouldn't it be easier for you to have a rifle or gun easily available in case you need it.


Wouldn't it be the same thing about criminals using National Parks for their nefarious deeds running into an innocent hiker? Isn't the reason for their actions is to hide them, so they'd probably avoid someone who is clearly armed. And if you're going to point out that they could fire from cover, that would probably happen whether you show or hide your weapon.

Granted tacking unrelated bills is common practice in Congress, but like in other cases which I've seen in this newspaper before when strange amendments are tacked to a bill people raise their eyebrows. This is a credit card bill for God's sake, and I thikn Sen. Coburn added the amendment maliciously as I think he's on the record against the measure.

If he'd added it on the Spending Bill for Interior, at least I would have shrugged about it, but hey, he gets some headlines.

Therefore

Posted by: Kruhn1 | May 14, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

RealTexan1:

I love "the deep wild wilderness" and have spent as much time in it as I could over the years. I don't carry a gun because it is heavy when you are wilderness trecking and every pound counts.

You need a gun when you are hunting in the bush. And that is never in the "the deep wild wilderness" because it is too bloody hard to haul the meat out.

I repeat my assertion that there is no need for guns in parks, except for the therapeutic benefit to people who need to pretend they are big strong tough guys. And honestly, those are the last folks I would ever go hunting with.

Now common sense is always useful in the backwoods. Unfortunately you can't even give that stuff away.

Posted by: dehall | May 14, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I am okay with attaching a gun bill to a credit card bill because it shows just how redneck this Oklahoma legislator is. The National Parks are for recreation and family outings, not for NRA looney tunes to practice shoot their AK47's.

Posted by: paris1969 | May 14, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing is, we all have bigger problems than this witless barrel stroking stupidity.

Posted by: timscanlon | May 14, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Would someone please make a note of this first in government action? Yes, the first time in US or any gummet that someone attached DARE I SAY IT, YES, AN UNRELATED BILL TO ANOTHER BILL. Nuff said. Everyone note this day. Probably never happen again. At least not by a demoncrat!

Posted by: dino22 | May 14, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's all have guns and shoot things. Come on. please?

Posted by: swatkins1 | May 14, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda funny how, when the subject is guns, some people fancy themselves as Freudian psychologists.

Posted by: EnjoyEverySandwich | May 14, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

The wilderness is, and ought to be, the last refuge away from the urban, socialist, nanny-state, B.S. that has taken over our larger cities, and therefore should be free from that nonsense.

Let people carry a gun if they like into the wilderness; no harm with that. And leave the control freak stuff in the urban areas.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 14, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I have traveled in State and Federal parks many times. I have always carried a firearm in my automobile and no one ever knew. My thought on the matter is that anyone here that does not want to carry is not forced to. The present laws simply require that I do not go to a park or I carry a firearm in my car illegally. When my safety and the well being of my family is at stake, I simply do not abide by the rules. If that makes me a tough man, redneck, Hill Billy or what ever names you enjoy calling those that do not depend on others to protect themselves, have at it. Your opinion is of no real value to me. Those that have no preparation for protection may wind up a statistic. I hope and pray I never have to use it but the difference is, I have it if I need it, and I know how to use it well.

You avid hikers and canoers have sat and talked with many people that carry conceled and never knew they were armed. Who are the smart ones in the wilderness.

Posted by: longbow65 | May 14, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"You avid hikers and canoers have sat and talked with many people that carry conceled and never knew they were armed. Who are the smart ones in the wilderness."


The ones that don't tote around several extra pounds of 'protection' buried in inaccessible regions of their packs.

Firearms are legal on most public lands - Nat'l forests, wilderness areas, BLM land, etc. The bill is talking about national parks, the majority of which are surrounded by national forests and/or wilderness areas for the folks that feel the need to pack heat in the backcountry. The vast majority of visitors to national parks - 99% if my memory serves - never get more than 1/2 mile from a parking lot or paved road (though this may be a yellowstone-only statistic). So for that 99%, why do you need a concealed weapon to defend yourself against these wild beasts? If you want the wilderness experience skip the national parks which are typically crowded & cost money to enter. And nobody will hassle you about packing heat.

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 14, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Eva for bringing this travesty to public attention. This isn't about hunting or self protection from grizzlies. CONCEALED weapons? If you are hunting, you should be dressed all in orange with your guns and your intentions blazing for all to see. Otherwise we are going to have campers simply shooting each other accidentally or shooting each other deliberately, over important issues like parking spaces for their SUV's. (Hey, they shoot people in the city for that, why not in a national park?) The thing that the prior comments overlooks is that yes, there is plenty of wildlife and wide open space in some parts of some national parks, but many of them, especially in the summer are just plain crowded with people. Unarmed women and children people who shouldn't have to worry about who is packing heat.

Posted by: fmjk | May 14, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

TAX THE BULLETS!

Posted by: MajorMelFunkshion | May 14, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Lobbies have for ages "backdoored" legislation as add-ons to other, larger measures, sort of like "pork", rather than to push for changes as issues on their own.

What I don't understand is how can anyone in America can be shocked at any one of the regular stream of news items about someone going berzerk at a school, university, fast food joint, workplace, their own homes (and coming soon, our national parks), in a country that seemingly wants gun vending machines at every corner. Sensibility needs to sink in soon, folks.

Posted by: jfern03 | May 14, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I remember that a long time ago (last October) the lengthy weeks long debate in the Congress about the $2 Trillion Bailout. WOW!!! Those were the days.

But, more on topic:

"In its waning days, the Bush administration rushed through a regulation to allow just that."

Concealed Carry in National Parks has been in progress for over 5 years. It took that long to get to a point that someone needed to make a decision. The fact that Bush (finally) enacted a regulation is mostly incidental. It has been open to public comment many times (if you had visited the NPS web site in the last five years).

So now it is another political hockey puck being kicked around not because it is a good or bad idea but because Liberals want a victory (no matter how small) to point to in next years mid terms.

Funny that it was attached to the Credit Card bill because that sack of excrement will sail through because it doesn't do a darned thing for any citizen. The best kind of legislation - Sounds good (unless you read it, and no one does) and does nothing.

Posted by: mdsinc | May 14, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

The more I read the comments on issues like these, the more I realize there are no solutions to these problems. The debates are all hateful and lacking of any logic. Ignorant Congressmen will always place stupid backdoor amendments. Right or wrong, wimpy Congressmen will kowtow to the deepest pockets. Gun nuts (that includes both sides, mind you) will always try to maximize their goals. Banks will maximize profits on their credit cards. Irresponsible consumers will default on their debts. These fights will continue long after I am gone. I am losing hope for humanity. If we can't solve simple problems, we are not going to solve the complex problems that threaten our existence. Solutions require real debate and an open minded populace not vitriol and blind ideology.

Posted by: mraymond10 | May 15, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I seem to recall a few recent cases where campers in National Parks were raped tortured, and murdered by gun toting criminals. Allowing law abiding citizens to protect themselves in the wild is a prudent idea. Why is it that libs always assume that the mere possession of a gun means either a) you are a criminal, or b) you are a mentally unstable gun nut. There are at least 100 million guns in this country, yet many more people are killed riding in their cars than are killed by guns. The guns equal evil mantra is dead, killed by citizens watching police cower behind cars while real criminals continue to kill.

Posted by: hdc77494 | May 15, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line argument I see here from libs, is that they feel "threatened" by other law abiding people carrying guns. Why in the world would people automatically assume they were in danger because someone has a gun?? Do you cower in fear at Benihana because the chef has a razor sharp knife? Do you flee from cars on the road (the number one killer in the US.) There are many things more dangerous to you than guns, you might want to learn what they are

Posted by: hdc77494 | May 15, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Just amazed at the posters that feel compelled to list their outdoor credentials as support for their hoplophobic attitudes.

Get over it. Carrying a firearm is no big deal. A firearm isn't going to jump out of a holster and start shooting under its own free will just because it crosses the border to a National Park or Refuge from private, state, local, tribal, or other federal natural resources(including wilderness). At least I never saw it happen in all the years I spent working as Ranger..

Posted by: xcsg | May 15, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

On guns, no one or any argument will change any minds on either side. However I assume the first time a person who is packing in a park kills an unarmed person, it will be logical to bring the ban back since not having the ban is being sold based on a one bear incident justification (guess what side I am on).

Posted by: docallen001 | May 15, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rodriguez and Those Thinking Like Her
I carry a loaded handgun 24/7 - in the house and out of the house. I have permits that allow me to carry in 30 states. If I happen to run across you when a violent criminal is attempting to kill you and your loved ones, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to use my gun to save your lives or should I stand aside and watch your murders? This is not an idle question; I carried a gun when I helped save an African-American gentleman’s life during the Rodney King riots in South Central Los Angeles where I used to live. And do answer; I wouldn’t want you upset with me for saving your lives because you are against firearms and self defense.

Posted by: OnTheChuckatuckinVirginia | May 15, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

It's almost laughable how uninformed people are on this issue.

No one is trying to ban "all guns" from national parks. Therefore, any talk of that needs to be discarded.

You just have to open carry, as opposed to concealed. If you're truly worried about bears and such, wouldn't you rather have a more easily accessible open-carried arm at your disposal.

What advantages does concealed carry provide in a National Park?

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 15, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Many people here talk about that which they don't know.

This isn't a "conservative" or "Redneck" issue, as my lifelong (dark)brown-skinned Democratic self shows, this is an AMERICAN issue.

I've carried concealed in VA national forest land many times and encountered many fellow packpackers - and at no time was my firearm "buried in a pack."

The NPS safety stats lump in visitors to high-traffic sites like The Mall, Independence Hall, Statue of Liberty, Yosemite and Denali visitor centers, Golden Gate Park, etc. What about THE REST of the NPS locations? How about stats on the remote park areas? There is a reason why NPS park rangers are the most assaulted of all law enforcement officers, and those assaults DO NOT take place in those high-traffic sites I named.

Open carry of any uncased firearm (loaded or unloaded) is presently BANNED on NPS land, so the "just open carry" argument is fraudulent.

As far as being a "chicken wussie/wannabe tough guy" because I would rather choose to proactively protect my family rather than rely on the good will of the criminal element to keep them safe: I'll let my five years as an enlisted Marine and current training in Muay Thai speak for itself, rather than have the nattering metrosexuals define my masculinity.

Posted by: k_romulus | May 15, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

myrunner101 said "I hike all the time in wilderness areas. I do not want some redneck carrying a weapon, concealed or other wise, in the areas that I hike."

Well, I do carry concealed all the time. And I like to hike in parks. If we met on the trail I'm sure we would have a nice conversation about the trails, the beauty of the park, how gorgeous the day is... then wish each other a beautiful day and continue on our way. All the while, my gun was concealed so you could feel at ease. And look!! I didn't even shoot you!! Amazing that someone who carries a concealed gun didn't go nuts and shoot some stranger he met while hiking in the woods.

My point is, I am not a threat to the "good" people out there. I am just like you, I'm hiking to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. But, if my wife and I encounter a group of "bad" people who might wish to do us harm, it is nice to know I have the ability to protect us. And if a rabid animal comes at us it's nice to know I can protect us. (this has never happened to me. But I do remember a story about a mountain lion attacking a bicycler in Calif. http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/01/09/mountain.lion/index.html ) And if I meet you on the trails, relax and know that I am out there enjoying the trails just like you. If I come upon a group of "bad guys" doing bad things to you... well, I might just step in to help you out.

Either way, you miss the point. Those that have permits to carry concealed are responsible people. We are not a threat to you. We are much more likely to be an asset to you.

It always amazes me how people think another law will make the "bad guy" suddenly obey the law. Yep... the laws they break now aren't enough. Let's add another law! Maybe they'll read the new law and obey it!! BRILLIANT!!!

Posted by: woolval | May 15, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse


Why not just make unconcealed weapons okay in parks where the wildlife may threaten campers?

Not every park has Alaskan bears.

What's wrong with telling the park ranger you've got a legally registered gun? Are you trying to hide something?

I'm more irritated by the lack of debate over issues like this, having them tagged on to bills that are completely irrelevent.

Both political parties are guilty of that.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | May 15, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Well first of all, is it legal to kill animals in a public park? If not, then there goes your arguments for defending yourself against wolves and bears. Facts on gun use show overwhelmingly guns are used for illegal homicides (30,000 in one year) vs self defense (154 in one year), so that self defense argument is not real: guns are clearly used to kill other human beings, not defense against wolves, bears, or bigfoot. When is the last time you even heard of someone shooting an animal in self defense?

And of course we need to conceal those guns in public parks...if those bears and wolves see those guns, then they would be really pissed off!

If you want to kill animals, go hunting in an appropriate location, with an appropriate weapon, not a concealed gun in a public park.

Posted by: jabbate7 | May 15, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Yawn - again with the apples and oranges comparison.

The measure of the benefit of self-defense firearms is the lives SAVED, not the body count racked up by the criminal element. Do we measure police effectiveness by the body count they generate? NO.

The Clinton-era USDOJ commissioned a study to "debunk" the contemporaneous research findings that firearms are used 2.5 MILLION times per year in self defense. The "accurate" figure turned out to be 1.5 MILLION times per year. http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/165476.txt Oh, well.

And just because the Post chooses not to report them, firearm self defense happens every day in the US. Peruse/Google the "Firearms Self Defense Blog" sometime for thousands of reports that DO make into the MSM on defense against people AND animals.

And last, defense of life is an exception to otherwise illegal conduct. People are sacrificing themselves because they can't hurt a hair on a "protected" bear? Oh, well, (again).

Posted by: k_romulus | May 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/165476.txt"

LOL I took a look at your link about defenseive handgun uses. The number you cite is extrapolated from a tiny survey. It's worthless. It most certainly was not "accepted" or endorsed by the DOJ. Stop lying.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 15, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who point out you might be approached by a grizzly in Denali NP. And having a large caliber rifle with you could come in handy. However the stupid amendment allows for CONCEALED weapons in national parks. Why do you need to hide your gun from a grizzly?

Posted by: Orion838 | May 15, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

If guns are so fargin important to American life, let's mandate guns-for-all. Every citizen is to be armed and dangerous. Even convicted felons and the mentally unstable. Holsters for men. Purse-sized weapons for the ladies. Anybody caught without a weapon will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. You can charge that next gun purchase, no questions asked.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | May 16, 2009 3:59 AM | Report abuse

The point here is why does this controversial amendment get added to a credit card bill that will benefit all of us.

Also, I'll give those folks who want to carry guns to ward off marauding bears a point but why is it necessary that those guns be concealed? What's the point with that? To surprise the bears?

Posted by: FauxReal | May 16, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Support your right to arm bears!

Posted by: thrh | May 16, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Eva, where was your vitriolic editorial when Frank Lautenberg stuck his misdemeanor disarmament amendment onto an omnibus appropriations bill? We all must have missed it.

The Lautenberg Amendment was never subjected to debate in the House, and many members of Congress who voted for the bill didn't even know it had been inserted.

You liberals love to dish it out, then whine foul when somebody dishes it back. Hypocrite.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | May 16, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Concealed Carry permit holders are trained, responsibly men and women who aren't going to hurt you. NRA, animals, bears or statistics are just fluff.

You can be afraid of the unknown (gun rights) if you want to be so ignorant, but mind you, law abiding citizens with handguns are the least of your worry.

P.S. Concealed handguns aren't for hiding from animals. They're to give a smart individual equal ground against a criminal who is hiding a weapon. And to keep them from your judgmental eyes.

Posted by: mistertaco | May 16, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I hike and overnight in the parks at least as much as the next "outdoorsman". If you think it safe read this:

www.hkshooter.net

This site documents crime reports where you lefties think its so safe. Get your head out of the sand.
I don't care what people who don't want to be responsible for their own safety do.
I will continue to carry my firearm and you'll never know as you pass me on the trail.

Posted by: tjschul1 | May 17, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Our Founders knew the right to self defense was so basic and important that they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution. What is so difficult about "shall not be infringed" that some idiots can't understand? We, the people, have the right to protect ourselves, our loved ones and even strangers if we so desire. Sometimes you can't do it without resorting to weapons.

Posted by: eldergent | May 17, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Yourself. The 1.5 million defensive use stat is 100% valid, as the report explained, if you truly bothered to read it.

But what is truly funny about the ant-gun-owner hyperventilating about "rednecks and bears" is that the bill simply says that state law will control firearms policy on the park land. Don't want to be somewhere gun-friendly? Camp in NJ or California or on The Mall. No one is forcing you to go to North Dakota, Utah, or the other 40+ states that are concealed handgun friendly. The reaction to this simple policy is truly LOL-able.

Posted by: k_romulus | May 17, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"Lawmakers shouldn't be tacking on irrelevant provisions to bills they know will likely pass."

The hypocrisy of this little commie pig squealing like this, over a practice her kind INVENTED and uses DAILY is breathtaking.

Posted by: LiberalismEquals911 | May 18, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

There was no reason for the Obama Administration to try to circumvent the Bush Administration action to extend concealed carry of firearms in national parks and forests. For years, people were allowed to carry unloaded and packed weapons, but what good are they if they are not accessible. According to the National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, criminal activity is drawn to federal and state public lands where there is little or no likelihood of an armed counter-response. That is the same rule that applies everywhere else; why not public lands too? Finally, there was an argument by the anti-gun federal employees’ union that had influence over the parks that an environmental impact study needed to be completed first. We all know where that would have led; it would have led to viable study, and no further action. Let the concealed carry rights of armed citizens stand and further extend that practice to all areas of society with the possible exception of areas that are already heavily secure such as courthouses, police stations, and military bases. The ongoing NIJ studies have proven that where there are legally armed law abiding citizens, the rate of violent crime drops.

Posted by: OIFVet06 | May 20, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: hdc77494: I seem to recall a few recent cases where campers in National Parks were raped tortured, and murdered by gun toting criminals. Allowing law abiding citizens to protect themselves in the wild is a prudent idea. Why is it that libs always assume that the mere possession of a gun means either a) you are a criminal, or b) you are a mentally unstable gun nut. There are at least 100 million guns in this country, yet many more people are killed riding in their cars than are killed by guns. The guns equal evil mantra is dead, killed by citizens watching police cower behind cars while real criminals continue to kill.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well stated. Seventeen years in law enforcement is proof positive to me that an armed law abiding citizen is far greater deterrence to violent crime than police ever were. This national forest argument is the same that was thrown at us during the 20 year long concealed weapons debate. The final verdict is that where there are armed law abiding citizens, there is less violent crime. Likewise, my wife and I frequent and hike national forest trails that allow arms; we wouldn't go where we are forbidden to be armed. If the shrinking anti-Second Amendment crowd does not want to carry concealed weapons; they are certainly free to do so without me trying to stomp on their beliefs. See you on the trail.

Posted by: OIFVet06 | May 20, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I realize I'm late to the party, but I just need to correct RealTexan1's idiocy in the first post here: "Let's say you go to Denali National Park in Alaska where the bears grow in excess of 1,200 lbs and wolf packs roam hungry looking for the remnants of depleted Caribou populations. Now, let's say you come across some of these critters and accidentally surprise them as they are feeding on a kill."

I'm a real Alaskan. I lived in Denali when I was a kid. There are NO bears there that weigh in excess of 1,200 pounds. Try more like 300-600 pounds, Sparky. A 1,200-pound bear is not very common even in the coastal areas, largely because trophy-hunting idiots are slowly but steadily altering the gene pool. Nobody has EVER been killed by a bear in Denali. Everyone who has been injured by a bear there did something stupid. I've read every report. I know. Unlike people, bears are not vicious animals, and neither are wolves.

I realize that doesn't have anything to do with gun rights, except this: I have guns. But I'm not such a chickensh*t that I feel like I have to carry one everywhere I go. They're not a substitute for brains. I don't pretend I'm going to shoot my way out of every bad situation.

If I take a gun into a national park, it will be because now there will be loads of testicularly-challenged people like RealTexan wrecking the place. People who depend on fear-based rhetoric AND guns scare me lots more than bears or wolves.


Posted by: BlueDog1 | May 20, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I realize I'm late to the party, but I just need to correct RealTexan1's idiocy in the first post here: "Let's say you go to Denali National Park in Alaska where the bears grow in excess of 1,200 lbs and wolf packs roam hungry looking for the remnants of depleted Caribou populations. Now, let's say you come across some of these critters and accidentally surprise them as they are feeding on a kill."

I'm a real Alaskan. I lived in Denali when I was a kid. There are NO bears there that weigh in excess of 1,200 pounds. Try more like 300-600 pounds, Sparky. A 1,200-pound bear is not very common even in the coastal areas, largely because trophy-hunting idiots are slowly but steadily altering the gene pool. Nobody has EVER been killed by a bear in Denali. Everyone who has been injured by a bear there did something stupid. I've read every report. I know. Unlike people, bears are not vicious animals, and neither are wolves.

I realize that doesn't have anything to do with gun rights, except this: I have guns. But I'm not such a chickensh*t that I feel like I have to carry one everywhere I go. They're not a substitute for brains. I don't pretend I'm going to shoot my way out of every bad situation.

If I take a gun into a national park, it will be because now there will be loads of testicularly-challenged people like RealTexan wrecking the place. People who depend on fear-based rhetoric AND guns scare me lots more than bears or wolves.


Posted by: BlueDog1 | May 20, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

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