Recent comments

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I wonder if there really is a need to have a weapon in a campground, let alone the backcountry?

    Would this question be asked of the right to hand out pamphlets on federal land, such as the National Mall? Is there a "need" for free speech? When it comes to constitutionally protected civil liberties, necessity is irrelevant. Inalienable rights should prevail.

    Poaching and spur-of-the-moment shooting of wildlife is a concern.

    It might be a concern for some, but I challenge anyone to produce any empirical study with even a slight correlation between CCW permit holders and poaching.

    Poaching and target practice are illegal and will remain illegal. Shouting "fire" in a theater has been listed by others as a concern, but does it follow that no one should be allowed the right to exercise speech because a small minority might abuse it?

    In responding to an altercation, how will a park ranger know whether someone brandishing a weapon is trying to protect themselves, or is a threat?

    How do law enforcement officers in non-NPS areas manage to deal with similar situations?

    Just as there are careful motorists, and those who aren't.

    So should we ban driving all together because there are some who are careless? Or should we err on the side of freedom and prosecute those who irresponsibly break the law?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    RAH, I think there are more concerns than "a fear that people can not be trusted with carrying a hand gun without going manic and attacking other people," and I'm not so sure that is a valid fear in this discussion.

    Some other concerns that come to mind:

    * Accidents happen no matter how careful folks think they are (this applies, of course, to more than just the gun issue)

    * In family settings such as campgrounds with lots of kids running around playing, guns are not a good ingredient to the setting. And while I'd agree that far and away the majority of gun owners are responsible, there are always some who aren't. Just as there are careful motorists, and those who aren't.

    * Alcohol and weapons don't mix, and in many campgrounds adults relax in the evening with a drink. Again, this is not to say responsible gun owners will mix these two, but irresponsible ones might.

    * In responding to an altercation, how will a park ranger know whether someone brandishing a weapon is trying to protect themselves, or is a threat?

    * Poaching and spur-of-the-moment shooting of wildlife is a concern.

    As has been pointed out many, many times before on the Traveler, crime is not a substantive issue in the national parks. I wonder if there really is a need to have a weapon in a campground, let alone the backcountry?

  • Endangered Species Day, What Have We Lost, What Might We Lose In the National Parks?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Kurt and Jim, I totally agree. Our national parks are safe havens for a wide variety of plants and animals. Unfortunately, sometimes these safe havens are not large enough and pristine enough to do a better job BUT they preserve more than most realize. Thank goodness we have them because a look around shows how development has destroyed so very much of our precious wild lands and their bounty !

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Urged to Protect Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Kurt that is the point. The goal of the gun rights activists is to eliminate the areas where lawful people can exercise their 2A rights. There is no real rational reason such as the limitation in courts to prevent carry in NPS especially as that is allowed under the prevailing state rules on other federal lands such as National Forests.

    Considering that this is a basic right under the constitution that has been restricted severely since the 1950’s many want to get rid of unnecessary restrictions. So why don’t we go back to pre 1968 laws on guns in this country then? Because what done is done and we have to deal with the existing laws and restrictions and request change through normal channels.

    The Supreme Court affirmed that the 2A is an individual right and that amendment includes “carry”. The decision was especially against the federal government and NPS is federal government land. So the right as argued in the Coburn amendment is being infringed by restrictions on carry in NPS lands.

    Many people still do not agree that it is a right and have not come to terms with that. They still have an animus against guns and focus their attention on restricting the ability of the law abiding since the criminals do not abide by the law. Underlying their animus is a fear that people can not be trusted with carrying a hand gun without going manic and attacking other people. That fear has an element of truth since there are violent people who do and have killed others with a gun. But the simple defense is with every bad man with a gun is stopped by a good person with a gun. The gun is just the tool. I would rather trust the public with the ability to carry in NPS as anywhere. The more people that carry for lawful purpose will be available to stop a crazy that attacks others.

    So the goal is to regain the ability to carry on the person a handgun, in this instance. That goal is not compatible with those who do not want people to have that ability. The location is the NPS but logically the location is irrelevant, If people have that right and per the Supreme Court they do, it is logical they can carry anywhere, NPS or not.

    So the argument by many who are commenting for compromise is that those who had their rights upheld should not be able to exercise that right. Those people do not agree that the public have the tight to own, keep and bear arms. There is not area of compromise and gun rights people have practically compromised their rights away in the past and will not do it easily any longer.

    The recent gun law past was to agree that mental instability issue on NICS checks could be added due to the tragedy at VT. The gun rights people were concerned about unintended consequences but agreed to the law. That was a compromise.

    The rule change to allow only CCW holders was a compromise but that was not acceptable to National Parks Conservation Association so they used the environmental study requirement to frustrate that compromise. Since they did not want to compromise, the Coburn amendment will prohibit the DOI any authority to regulate guns beyond the prevailing state law. Allowing the state laws to be in effect is a compromise since it could be no restriction on gun regulation on federal land at all.

    The red herring is poaching and that is not a valid reason to restrict a constitutional right. The underlying issue is do we trust our fellow Americans with guns or not? I do. I am not a fearful person as some have said here of those who wish to carry guns for precaution against the unexpected, rather those who argue against are fearful of there fellow Americans. I find that funny because there are always tools to use for violence and the gun is just a very effective tool. Cars kill others, but we do not assume that despite accidents and the rare crazy person that people will not want to harm another with their car. There is no difference with a gun; other that is will not be used as much as a car. Only for defense and sport shooting.

    So will those who argue against the ability to carry a gun in NPS accept that we have that right? Not apparently by the comments of these civil people on your blog.

  • Upon Further Review - Wacky Question of the Week   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I worked for a bit at the California State Capitol as a tour guide with California State Parks. Due to the high volume of people and the nature of politics, I got a lot of head scratcher questions. Some of my favorites: "What is this building anyway?" "Does the Governor live in the Basement?" "Where's the President's Office?" "Is this the White House?" (All questions asked by adults, mind you.) Then there were some that I got on a regular basis: "Do these stairs work?" "What time is the 3 o'clock tour?" "Can I go outside?" "How do I get out of the building?" People apparently leave their minds at home when they're on vacation.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Urged to Protect Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    In a nutshell, the objections revolve around where the complex is to be built -- on land with historic significance to the Continental Army. Plus, some years ago there was agreement between the NPS and the predecessors of ARC to locate a museum in another section of the park, one already developed, closer to a visitor center.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Urged to Protect Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    If the proposed development is a museum why is that bad? Is it just becasue it is done by a private owner or because they fail to get approval from NPS?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Anonymous, some would argue that the old rule, which allowed gun owners to transport firearms through the parks as long as they were dismantled and stowed out of reach, was a compromise.

    I'm not sure how doing away with that rule and allowing concealed carry or open carry is a compromise. What compromise are gun owners making under either of those approaches? That they agree to conceal a weapon versus strapping it onto their hip or thigh or slinging it over their shoulder?

    And, perhaps, that's the problem. What compromise can there be that will satisfy both sides of this issue? What one sees as reasonable, the other sees as outrageous.

  • Endangered Species Day, What Have We Lost, What Might We Lose In the National Parks?   5 years 28 weeks ago

    A good reminder about one of the important reasons we have national parks. Protected areas for a wide variety of plants and animals are increasingly valuable in today's world.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Rick Smith,

    I understand your desire not to further engage on this subject. But I wonder if your consensus view is just your view rather than people who want guns laws to be liberalized. Perhaps the compromise has to be done by the gun rights side.

    I often see that many people who try to get more laws to restrict abilities to own, buy and use guns are always saying the approach to just to compromise. But the compromise is always one sided.

    This time the gun rights people did compromise on gun carry in NPS by restricting it to CCW but that was not good enough to the anti gun groups and those that brought the suit.

    So now you have a new position that open and concealed carry to be allowed by any as long as it is allowable by the local state law. Coburn’s amendment prevents the NPS or the DOI from promulgating and enforcing any gun regulation as it infringes the 2A.
    After the entire vote were 67 to 29. It is the consensus of the Senate that this should be allowed so consensus was reached. So your objection has been satisfied.

    Now on this site I do not agree that consensus has been reached. It seems that those of us who want more liberal gun laws will not agree with those of you that want to increase or maintain gun restrictions. The comments are fairly balanced.

    I am willing to listen on what position you are willing to compromise to meet our goal of allowing visitors to carry guns in NPS. Perhaps you are not willing to compromise, if so why should the gun rights people compromise? We already compromised on the 1968 act and the NICS background check.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    This is a tough one, and I can fully understand both sides of the debate here. I spend most of my time in the Utah desert where I feel perfectly safe, some of that on NPS land, but most on BLM and state lands. I have never been threatened by people or animals there, have never felt threatened by unsavory characters in the bush, other than while I was searching for missing fugitives, who in the end had all committed suicide (that is, after the 1998 incident of the murder of a Cortez, Colorado police officer). I have never been worried about random people shooting at me in Parks, on BLM, or state lands. Consequently my sidearm does not leave the locked box in my truck.

    I have carried it in the mountains in Colorado, but only in areas where I had been confronted (nearly attacked) by a pack of wild dogs that had been in the area for years. I felt comfortable having it there.

    Those are my experiences.

    Final comments- to paraphrase the obvious cliche- the problem is not the guns, but the people. I would never consider bringing my rifle to an evening campfire talk. I am sure there are folks out there who would, and those are are the ones I would worry about. There is my "con".

    "Pro"- did anyone hear the report this week on NPR regarding Mexican drug organisations/ Cartels using our National Parks for marijuana growing operations? The part about the grad student doing research in the Sierras who ran for his life from a gun-toting drug garden tender who may have been planning to kill him?? I think this worries me more than the guy at the campfire.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Jim C., I agree that is it your choice not to carry while in the backcountry however it should be everyone’s choice to make.

    I take exception to you making rule breakers of a stupid rule as essentially the same as a murderer or rapist. There is a big difference between a person who break some rule like traffic speeds and a murderer. If our laws were more targeted at the real threats rather than people who are not a threat to others then these issues would not arise. It is time to stop targeting people who are basically law abiding and have no felonious intentions toward others. It is easy to make criminals just make so many laws that it is impossible not to break them.

    Do you really want to say that a CCW person who never exposes their gun is as bad as a murderer?

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Having read the various emails about this issue it comes down to the fact that Colburn put the amendment into the Credit Card bill and worded the amendment to include any and all firearms, not just CCW or CCP. In my opinion the amendment will not stand on its own to public debate and Colburn did not want to wait for the Environmental Impact Study to be completed because I think it will come back as being against this position of loaded firearms in the NPS where they are mostly disallowed. Some firearms are allowed in certain NPS area's in Alaska that have high concentration of grizzly bears. Ruth stated she was afraid to go off the beaten path at the Grand Canyon because she didn't feel safe and was afraid of being a victim. Thank you for obeying the laws as they currently are and leaving your firearm/weapon outside of the park. The others who thumb their noses at the laws they disagree with and "carry anyway" are no different then the other rule breakers they are afraid of because "those" rule breakers are "rapists, murderers and robbers". You, the person carrying in the park because you disagree with the law are a rule breaker as well and if caught and convicted will be just as guilty as any other criminal. You broke the law and now you are lumped into the same category as other law breakers. I am not sure what level of crime this would be categorized as but it is still breaking the law.

    The law was inacted not to take away someones second amendment, but to protect the wildlife in the NP's from poachers, and people carring firearms/weapons who don't respect the wildlife for what they are; wild. Is the fact that you can not carry in or around a state or federal court houses, state or federal congressional buildings, I think Post offices, airports and other areas and buildings that our Legislatures have found that those utilizing these places are too at risk for CCW, CCP or any other form of carry; I think the Second Amendment is being trampled on by this legislation but I don't here the NRA, ACLU, or anybody else screaming that it is so unfair that these places should be excluded from the Second Amendment. I think it is reasonable that certain places can be excluded and the NPS is one of them.

    I have hiked and backpacked most of the NP's in the western US located in the lower 48 and have never felt threatened by anybody on the beaten path or off it. I have been down wind of grizzly bears in Yellowstone and Glacier NP's and surpised them and could not get my pepper spray out quick enough. The idea that I could get my sidearm out, aim it at a charging bear and take it down is foreign to me. The pepper spray works wonderfully, and you don't have to be a Marksman 1st Class, Sharpshooter, Expert or have recent military training and be used to something charging at you or shooting at you to be effective. Shooting at targets is far different then shooting at something with its ears back, low to the ground and approaching at 30 mph.

    I have more problems in the back country hiking and backpacking in the NFS areas with dogs not being leashed and charging me then anything else. Some hae been really big dogs that because certain breeds have certain reputations have scared the #^&* out of me. But, I choose to leave my firearm/weapon at home in Las Vegas because it just weighs more then what I care to have to carry in the backcountry.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Mr. Smith:

    I agree that the name calling is unfortunate and even unnecessary. It's a huge turn off to see those phrases, and as a Second Amendment supporter (as the Founders framed it and understood it), I feel it detracts from the main point.

    However, when an individual feels cornered, he sometimes resorts to attacking rather than debating. When I feel my civil liberties are threatened, my first instinct is to attack or condemn the threat to my civil liberty. It is out of a defense of freedom that these ill-advised attacks are made.

    I also limit my discussion on this thread (which generates tons of comments) because of its vituperative nature.

    We could completely end the discussion and constitutionally ban firearms in national parks if we'd only remove them from the federal government's ownership and management. I'm sure the Nature Conservancy has no problems banning should it so desire.

    Food for thought.

  • Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery   5 years 28 weeks ago

    He cared about his country and did something about it ,God Bless Him

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Frank C--

    There are certain issues about which rational people disagree. The interpretation of the 2nd amendment is one such issue. I think that one can disagree with your interpretation of that amendment and still not be accused of "ignoring the constitutional amendments that you don't like..."

    It's been extraordinarily difficult to have rational discussions about the guns-in-parks on this blog because people are so polarized about the issue. The flame throwers on the right and left drown out the voices who are seeking a consensus opinion. If you just look at the last two posts, you will see phrases like "knee-jerk liberals" and the dreaded "city folk." That's not a way to carry on a discussion.

    I am not inclined to do much more posting on this subject.

    Rick Smith

  • Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I wonder, despite RoadRanger's comment, if Brian and his situation was so extraordinary, he and his partnership conservancy are so unique, they are not even a national model. They devised the marvelous funding strategy for the conservancy, using the money from the Alcatraz tours to be the foundation for all its other fundraising and activities. Even the second-best funded partnership comparable to Brian's is at Acadia, and it in fact is many orders of magnitude smaller than the scale of what is going on at Golden Gate.

    There are actually many splendid people doing splendid partnership work in other parts of the country as well. But those models are designed to fit the local circumstances and the local resources. That is the real genius of the partnership movement and Brian. They are local, developing local solutions and local constituencies. That is the way they have resisted the sort of centralized control that had moved to undermine the traditional national park service programs -- they were easy to attack from the top. But not with local partnerships. That is why Brian is one of a kind, because what he has done only really works where he did it.

  • Interior Secretary Salazar Urged to Protect Valley Forge National Historical Park   5 years 28 weeks ago

    No, Kurt. The land involved is not "bordered on 3 sides by the park."

    The land IS ENTIRELY INSIDE THE PARK. It is part of the park. That is the main thing about this land.

    It is just not owned by the park. But when Congress enacts a park boundary, it does not require that the NPS acquire all the land, assuming that the private land uses are not changing and not doing damage to the park. But when the new uses do threaten the reasons the park was created. the NPS is supposed to do something about it.

    This project was developed without the cooperation or approval by the National Park Service, making it different from most other comparable developments on private lands inside other parks. But the NPS has done nothing about it.

    If the development were actually outside the park, it would be a whole different thing. But this development would be INSIDE the park. If Secretary Salazar, the CNPSR, the NPCA or anybody else wants to protect the Integrity of the National Parks, protecting the land inside a park boundary is the very least they can do, and an essential place to start.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    I regularly visit Yellowstone and fish remote areas like Slough Creek, where grizzley bears are common. Having my .45 long colt revolver is a practical backup for when the critter is determined to get me.

    It just amazes me that the city people who visit the national parks think the animals are all cute and tame, while any person who carries a sidearm is some kind of homicidal maniac.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Oh you bleeding heart liberal look at the facts.

    You really don't believe that criminals are going to let a law stop them from carrying guns do you ? Of course not, so the only people who have not carried were those who were law abiding. Seems kind of backwards doesn't it.

    Keep an open mind, but don't open it so much that your brain has fallen out.

    Lets see... Bill of Rights #1 Freedom of Speech... lets take that one away too. Oh, it is already underway by the current administration.

  • Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Well that sucks. He was a very cool guy, great for the NPS and all land management agencies.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Way to go, Mr. Smith. Ignore the constitutional amendments you don't like and support the ones you do.

  • Updated: Brian O'Neill, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Superintendent, Dies Following Heart Surgery   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Brian O'Neill's passing is a tragic loss for the National Park Service. He was an exemplary leader who valued his team, a positive force for innovation and a futurist in integrating communities and park missions through effective partnerships. In the past twenty years, the Service could have used a hundred Brians to address issues arising from its aging model, but it had only one. Thankfully, he was in a position to influence national policy and leave behind, with the help of his team, scores of guidelines, models, and references for use by future policy makers and field managers, We'll no longer see him in the traces, but many people he touched will follow in his footsteps and his influence will be around for a long, long time.

  • Senate Loads Credit Card Bill With Amendment to Allow Loaded Weapons in National Parks   5 years 28 weeks ago

    Ruth--

    I feel badly for you if you don't feel safe any place without your weapon. How do you survive in airports, federal buildings, and other places where you cannot carry? I do admire one thing, however, that you said. You left your weapon at home because you knew it was not legal to carry in Grand Canyon. Good for you! Most other CCW licensees who post on this blog, while claiming they are law-abiding, break the law by at least claiming they carry in parks.

    Rick Smith