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Senators Try to Restore Gun Rights in National Parks

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FAIRFAX, Va. --- Today, U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Max Baucus (D-MT), Bob Bennett (R-UT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced legislation to restore the Second Amendment rights of visitors in national parks and wildlife refuges. The current Department of the Interior (DOI) regulations were amended by the Bush Administration in 2008, allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by carrying a concealed firearm in national parks and wildlife refuges.

However, early this year, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. granted anti-gun plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against implementation of the new rule. The NRA has been working for the past several years in the regulatory, legal, and legislative arenas to achieve this policy change.

“NRA would like to thank this bi-partisan group of Senators for leading the legislative effort to strengthen right-to-carry laws on federal park lands. Sen. Crapo has been at the forefront of this fight from the very beginning, along with Sen. Baucus,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “NRA is committed to changing the old, outdated rule, and will continue to work aggressively with Congress to pass this critical legislation. NRA will continue to pursue every avenue to defend the American people’s right of self-defense.”

This bill would provide uniformity across our nation’s federal lands and put an end to the patchwork of regulations that governed different lands managed by different federal agencies. In the past, only Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands allowed the carrying of firearms, while National Parks and Wildlife Refuges did not.

In 1982, only six states allowed citizens to carry handguns for self-defense. Currently, 48 states have some process in place for issuing licenses or permits to allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry firearms for self-defense. Two states do not require permits, 38 states have a “shall-issue” permit process, and eight have a discretionary process for issuing permits. The NRA has long held that amendments to those regulations were needed to reflect the changed legal situations with respect to state laws governing the carrying firearms.

This move will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, and will make federal law consistent with the state law in which these lands are located.

“This is a common-sense measure. Senators Crapo, Baucus, Bennett, Tester and Lincoln should be commended for their efforts to allow law-abiding gun owners the option of protecting themselves in our federal parks and refuges. This legislation will amend out-of-date regulations and restore the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners,” concluded Cox.


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