Keep parks free of firearms

Keep parks free of firearms

USA Today Editorial

Effort to change long-standing rules would ‘solve’ non-existent problems.

Suppose you bring the kids to Grand Teton National Park for a vacation and set out on a hike around Jenny Lake. Halfway around, you encounter an unfriendly hiker carrying a loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

Still feeling like you’re in an oasis of tranquility? Welcome to the national parks as envisioned by the National Rifle Association and its friends in Washington.

From its inception, the National Park Service has required that guns be unloaded and kept out of sight. This helps park rangers control poaching and makes parks a place of refuge for both people and animals.

But the NRA has other ideas. It helped persuade half the U.S. Senate to sign a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne asking for a review of the ban on loaded weapons. The NRA and the senators want national park rules to match the rules in each state. So loaded guns could be carried openly at Grand Teton because that is Wyoming’s rule for its state parks.

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