NRA, Critics Spar Over Proposal On Guns In National Parks


The pending proposal to allow loaded, concealed weapons in some national parks, wildlife refuges, and monuments would keep crime down and protect visitors from potentially dangerous wildlife, says the National Rifle Association. “You read stories about people attacked by animals or who stumble upon meth labs or women who are raped in a national park,” NRA lobbyist Chris Cox, told the New York Times. “We don't believe law-abiding citizens should be kept from protecting themselves and their families in national wildlife refuges or in national parks.”

Opponents, including several former National Park Service officials, say current rules are effective – there is little crime in national parks – and that the change would threaten visitors' safety and could easily ruin the family-friendly atmosphere of the parks and other attractions. Now, people traveling in national parks and wildlife refuges are required to keep weapons “inoperable or packed, cased or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use.” “A gun will give people a false sense of security that they can approach a bear or a bison,” said Doug Morris, former chief ranger and superintendent at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California. “A person with a gun will pull out that weapon and fire away if they feel threatened, even if that fear is illogical.” He called the proposal “an appalling pander to a powerful special interest group, the NRA.”


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