Saturday, December 6, 2008


Yesterday, the Bush administration announced that they are overturning a 25 year old ban on carrying loaded, concealed guns in our nation's national parks and wildlife refuges.   I realize that it's a tradition for outgoing presidents to push pet projects at the end of their terms while no one is paying much attention, but can anyone other than the NRA actually think this is a good idea?  The new rule, which goes into effect in January, will allow concealed weapons even in parks that are located in states that have their own bans on concealed weapons.  The administration stresses that you still will need to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and you will have to leave it in the car when you enter the visitor centers in the parks.  Also, gun are still banned from national treasures like Independence Hall and the Statue of Liberty.  Oh well then, I feel much better now.   I spend a lot of time every year in our national parks.  When we go on vacation there is rarely a trip that doesn't involve a national park.  I know that some of the parks have had problems with crime, mostly theft related offenses.  I have been to most of the parks in the western U.S., and I can honestly say that I have never felt unsafe.  I do not understand the rational here.  How is carrying a gun into our country's most sacred of places an essential right?  If you really feel so unsafe, why not just stay home?  I wonder how long it will take before a couple of over-stressed campers at Yosemite, one of the most overcrowded parks in the system, shoot each other in a dispute over a parking space?  Why overturn a rule that has stood and worked well for 25 years?  So that gun owners can exercise there rights?  What about my right to enjoy the parks without worrying about what some fool has hidden in his pocket?  I'm sure that I've offended some people, and that is really not my intention.  I simply feel that there are so few places in this country that are so essentially American and that truly belong to us all.  Why make them less safe for all of us?

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