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Concealed, loaded weapons not allowed in national parks after all

March 20, 2009 |  1:29 pm


Some will cheer the news, while others might view it as an infringement on their rights as U.S. citizens to arm and protect themselves, even in national parks and refuges.

How do you feel about a temporary injunction issued late Thursday by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., restoring rules that ban loaded, concealed firearms in our national parks?

The Bush administration, reversing a longstanding rule, issued the rule in December to allow concealed weapons in national parks for those with permits. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the National Parks Conservation Assn. sued Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, and U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kennedy granted the injunction.

She agreed that the Bush administration failed to follow federal environmental laws and also stated, "Brady has submitted declarations from several of its members indicating that they are now concerned for their personal safety in parks and refuges and cannot fully enjoy their visits to certain national parks or wildlife refuges because they feel less safe."

Said Brady Campaign president Paul Helmke, in a news release: "We are gratified that the court struck down the Bush Administration's parting gift to the gun lobby. Concealed weapons have no place in our national parks,which have always been safe places to enjoy our nation's magnificent natural and historical treasures."

The Bush rule went into effect Jan. 9, but the court's ruling reinstates the prior rule requiring that weapons in national parks be unloaded and safely secured. The government has until April 20 to state its "intended course of action" regarding the rule.

Don't expect much of a fight on this issue from the Obama administration.

-- Pete Thomas

Silhouetted wolf roams Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Joel Sartore/National Geographic