Murder, manslaughter, and rape cases rose sharply the year after guns were allowed in national parks, though most violent crimes fell last year to about the same level as in 2009, say new data from the National Park Service reported by The Oklahoman. The park service numbers show 15 murder and manslaughter cases in 2010, up from four in 2009, the year Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) pushed through an amendment to allow loaded firearms in national parks located in states that had concealed carry laws.
Rapes also rose, from 34 in 2009 to 45 in 2010, as did kidnappings and aggravated assaults. Robberies dropped from 64 to 58. The issue of park crimes arose last week when Coburn sought unsuccessfully to amend a water projects bill with a proposal to allow firearms on land controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During that debate, Coburn said crime had fallen on National Park Service land because of his legislation to allow firearms in the parks. John Hart, a spokesman for Coburn, said the senator misspoke when he claimed crime rates had dropped 85 percent since the new policy took effect allowing loaded firearms. Hart said an evaluation of the new statistics shows the worst offenses tracked by the Park Service have dropped an average of 11 percent in the three years since the new firearms policy took effect, compared with the average of the three years before the new policy.