Interior Department would allow concealed guns in national parks
The Department of the Interior has proposed a rule change that would allow people to carry a concealed firearm in a national park or wildlife refuge.
The new rule says park visitors would need a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and the state where the park is located must allow guns in its own parks.
Current regulations require weapons to be temporarily inoperable or stowed so they are not easily accessible.
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the proposed change. The announcement begins a 60-day public comment period. Written comments will be accepted through June 30, 2008.
In releasing the proposal, Interior Department officials wrote: Existing federal regulations governing firearms in national parks and national wildlife refuges, promulgated before many of these state laws were in effect, properly limit poaching and target practice, but unnecessarily disable or limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to possess, carry, and transport a concealed firearm.
Under the proposed amendment, visitors must have authority to possess loaded and concealed firearms on analogous state lands before they will be allowed to carry firearms in federal park areas and refuges.
Law-abiding citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves and their families while enjoying Americas national parks and wildlife refuges, said Chris Cox, the NRAs chief lobbyist.