|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 30, 2008|
|Contact:||Sean Smith, Northwest Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association, 206.903.1444|
Washington and Oregon Officials Voice Opposition to Loaded Guns in National Parks
Letter to Interior Secretary Kempthorne Says Proposed Rule Change is Not Based on Facts or Reason
SEATTLE, Wash. – In a letter to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, public officials, business owners, and other leading citizens of Washington and Oregon expressed concern with the proposed change to the gun safety regulations that would allow concealed, loaded weapons in our national parks. Nine state representatives, two state senators, and Seattle’s Mayor and police chief are among the individuals and organizations, representing more than 500,000 people, which signed the letter.
Under intense political pressure orchestrated by the National Rifle Association, the Department of the Interior opened the current National Park Service regulations, which were last updated during the Reagan Administration to allow unloaded and safely stowed firearms in national parks. The public comment period ended on June 30.
“Our businesses, families, and communities are much dependent upon the National Park Service providing parks that are safe and family friendly,” the letter states. “Allowing loaded firearms will greatly undermine the current park atmosphere, threaten public safety, and damage wildlife.”
“Americans from across the northwest are voicing support for safe and peaceful national parks,” said Sean Smith, Northwest regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association and former park ranger. “A growing number of law makers, public health officials, business owners, and average citizens recognize the threat to visitors, area wildlife, natural wonders, local economies, and park atmosphere posed by this rule change.”
“The NRA and its allies are fanning hysteria by asserting that guns are ‘prohibited’ in national parks. That is not true,” the letter continues. “Rule changes built on emotion and misinformation will lead to bad decisions, ultimately harming the public good, our businesses, communities, and families.”
Read the Letters:
- WA and OR officials letter to Secretary Kempthorne, June 30, 2008 (PDF)
- Pacific Region Advisory Council of NPCA letter to Secretary Kempthorne, June 24, 2008 (PDF)
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.