Visiting national parks with his family, President Obama is trailed by criticism from gun opponents and parks advocates for allowing firearms into the areas, says the Associated Press. “There is still time for Congress and the president to take steps to keep loaded firearms away from the valleys of Yellowstone, the cliffs of Yosemite, and the Statue of Liberty – but they need to act quickly,” said Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. A bill that Obama signed permits licensed gun owners to bring firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges if state law allows it.
The law, which takes effect in February, will replace rules from the Reagan administration that generally require that guns in national parks be locked or stored in a glove compartment or trunk. “If they wanted to fight that, they could have,” said Jonathan Dorn of NationalParkTrips.com and editor-in-chief of Backpacker magazine. “That one just felt like a very political decision that was maybe more about politics than about maybe paying attention to the preferences of the vast majority of people who are frequent park users.”