|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 25, 2008|
|Contact:||Bryan Faehner,National Parks Conservation Association, 202.419.3700|
Last Shot to Comment on Regulations That Would Allow Loaded Guns in National Parks
Public Comment Period on the Proposed Changes to National Park Gun Regulations Ends June 30
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation’s leading voice for the national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), today encouraged citizens concerned about the Administration’s proposal to allow loaded, concealed firearms in our national parks to submit their comments prior to the June 30 deadline.
The Department of the Interior, under intense political pressure from the National Rifle Association, is proposing a change in the Reagan-era regulations that allow guns in national parks as long as they are unloaded and properly stowed. The new regulation would mandate that national parks allow loaded and concealed firearms if the state where that park is located allows the same practice in its state parks.
“Mandating that our national parks abide by state park gun laws will be confusing to both visitors and park rangers, and would force the creation of a new, complex, and costly enforcement bureaucracy,” said Bryan Faehner, NPCA legislative representative. “We have received almost 20,000 comments from our members against this regulation change and we encourage all Americans to voice their opinions on this important issue.”
“Our national parks are some of the safest places in the world and there is no need to change regulations that are already working,” said Bill Wade, chair of the executive council of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees. “Our organization, along with the Association of National Park Rangers, the Ranger Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, and all seven surviving former Directors of the National Park Service strongly oppose any changes to the existing regulations.”
In a letter sent to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne , seven former directors of the National Park Service stated that there is no need to change the regulations. “In all our years with the National Park Service, we experienced very few instances in which this limited regulation created confusion or resistance,” the letter stated. “There is no evidence that any potential problems that one can imagine arising from the existing regulations might overwhelm the good they are known to do.”
Members of the public are urged to learn more and submit their comments prior to June 30 via NPCA’s user-friendly web site at www.npca.org/keep_parks_safe
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its 340,000 members, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.