This isn’t the first time people have been able to carry guns in national parks. They were allowed to do so for over two months last year, from January through March, and absolutely no problems were reported.
A two-decade-old ban on loaded guns in national parks ends today. Loaded guns will be allowed in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and other national parks. Guns will still be prohibited in some areas in the parks, federal facilities that are regularly staffed by National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees, but everywhere else they will be allowed.
“You're raising the level of risk in the parks, and the chance that people will use the parks less than they have in the past,” Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign gun control group warned during February 2009. As evidence for his claim, Helmke pointed to a New York school teacher who said that she would cancel school trips to national parks if guns were allowed. Helmke and others opponents have largely focused on permitted concealed handguns again being allowed in the parks.
Yet, despite the opposition of the Obama administration, the new federal law is hardly radical, as it simply defers to state law. It passed the Congress with about 2-to-1 majorities in both the House and Senate. If a state allows people to carry permitted concealed handguns, permit holders can carry their guns in the national parks in that state.
Opponents worry about the possibility that permit holders will accidentally shoot others or use their guns to commit crimes such as poaching. But this isn’t the first time people have been able to carry guns in national parks. They were allowed to do so for over two months last year, from January through March, and absolutely no problems were reported. Nor are the proponents of the ban pointing to any problems when guns were previously allowed in national parks during the 1980s and earlier.
When concealed-handgun laws were originally passed, gun control advocates then also warned that permit holders would lose their tempers and there would be blood in the streets.
Obviously that never happened. We now have a lot of experience with concealed-handgun permit holders. In 2007, about 5 million Americans were permitted to carry concealed handguns.
Take Florida, for example. Between Oct. 1, 1987, and January 31, 2010, Florida issued permits to 1,704,624 people, many of whom renewed their permits multiple times. Only 167 had their permits revoked for a firearms-related violation — about 0.01 percent. Over the last 14 months just one more permit has been revoked for firearms violations, a rate among active permit holders of 0.00014 percent. The pattern is similar in other states. Given the very low rate that permit holders commit any type of crime, it seems very doubtful that permit holders would engage in other crimes such as poaching.
Even though the adoption of right-to-carry laws was highly controversial in some states, the laws were so successful that no state has ever rescinded one. Indeed, no state has even held a legislative hearing to consider rescinding concealed-carry.
Everyone wants to keep guns away from criminals. The problem is that law-abiding citizens are the ones most likely to obey the gun control laws, leaving them disarmed and vulnerable and making it easier for criminals to commit crime.
Police are extremely important in deterring crime — according to my research, the most important factor. But the police almost always arrive after the crime has been committed. In national parks, with vast land areas and few roads, this problem is exacerbated. Even if one can quickly reach park rangers by using a cell phone, it can be hours before they can arrive at the crime scene.
Wild animals also sometimes do attack humans, and guns can come in handy. According to a study by Professor Gary Mauser at Simon Fraser University, guns were used about 36,000 times a year to stop animal attacks in Canada.
Here is a prediction. Just like the ruckus over passing concealed handgun laws, the fears about guns in national parks will soon be forgotten.
24 February 2010
15 February 2010
Remember, only the police should have guns to protect us....NOT.
Gun rights advocates have a California police detective in their crosshairs after he apparently posted comments on Facebook advocating that "open carry" supporters should be shot.
East Palo Alto Police Det. Rod Tuason apparently posted the remarks on his Facebook page in response to a friend's status update, which suggested that gun advocates who carry unloaded weapons openly — which is legal in California — should do so in places like "Oakland, Richmond and East Palo Alto" and not just in "hoity toity" cities.
"Haha we had one guy last week try to do it!" Tuason replied. "He got proned out [laid face-down on the ground] and reminded where he was at and that turds will jack him for his gun in a heartbeat!"
Several comments later, the detective suggested shooting the gun rights advocates, some of whom have carried firearms openly in recent weeks in California's Bay Area, particularly at Starbucks locations.
"Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night!" Tuason wrote. "Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them makes a furtive movement … 2 weeks off!!!" -- referring to the modified duty, commonly known as desk duty, that typically follows any instance in which an officer is investigated for firing his weapon.
Those comments caught the attention of a California attorney and blogger, as well as a Virginia man who started a Facebook group calling for Tuason's termination.
John Taylor, whose Facebook group had 54 members as of midday Friday, said the Facebook thread confirmed gun owners' worst fears.
"Any sworn officer who suggests shooting law-abiding citizens for exercising their most basic constitutional rights deserves the full wrath of America's gun owners," Taylor told FoxNews.com. "It's an affront."
California's Penal Code makes it illegal to carry concealed weapons without a county-issued license. But it is legal to carry an unloaded weapon in plain view in a holster. In most cases, it is illegal for an unconcealed weapon to be loaded.
Taylor, of Arlington, Va., who has a concealed weapons permit in his home state, said he planned to write a letter to the East Palo Alto Police Department demanding that Tuason be fired.
"The targeting, harassment and intimidation of law-abiding citizens who are peacefully agitating for their rights by a police officer is an abomination to the Constitution, and is in fact the exact reason our Founding Fathers created the Second Amendment," Taylor said. "Police officers who think they are going to get between law-abiding Americans and their Second Amendment rights are going to find themselves in the line of fire."
Tuason's comments were first noticed by California attorney Kevin Thomason, who posted a screen grab of the detective's remarks on his Web site on Sunday.
"[Tuason] didn't realize that actual PRO-GUN people also read Facebook," Thomason wrote. "Amazingly, he posted the following comment about law abiding gun owners on a friend's page. Basically, he's saying 'prone them out' (face down on the ground), and if anyone moves, kill them. I don't make this crap up."
Thomason, a member of the National Rifle Association, wrote that Tuason's comments were "worth a call" to the East Palo Alto City Council, as well as to his superior officers.
Tuason, who has since removed his Facebook profile, did not return messages seeking comment on Friday. He is reportedly being investigated by the police department's professional standards division regarding the Facebook remarks.
East Palo Alto Police Sgt. Rod Norris said he was unable to comment on the matter, but Capt. Carl Estelle told the San Jose Mercury News that police officials must be careful not to violate Tuason's First Amendment rights, since the comments appeared on his personal Web site.
"In no way are his personal comments reflective of any policies or procedures here at the department nor does he speak for the police department," Estelle told the newspaper.
Remember, only the police should have guns to protect us....NOT.
12 February 2010
On February 22, a new law on guns in national parks takes effect. The new law repeals a National Park Service rule that has long prohibited Americans from possessing firearms in national parks for self-defense.
The Coburn amendment, passed last spring by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate, will allow people to possess, carry and transport firearms in national parks, in accordance with state law.
However, many details remain to be worked out. Reports indicate that National Park Service officials are debating issues such as the definition of “federal facilities,” where firearms will remain prohibited under a different federal law.
NPS officials are expected to issue further information as February 22 approaches, and some parks have already published information on their new policies. Because state laws vary greatly, before you visit a national park, you should check the park’s website or call the park headquarters for more information. NRA will also provide updates as they become available.
09 February 2010
Mystery Solved? Ad Firm Says 'Anonymous' Business Owners Behind Bush Billboard
A Minneapolis-based advertising firm has cleared the air, sort of, surrounding a mysterious billboard that went up in Minnesota featuring a picture of former President George W. Bush with the words "Miss Me Yet?"
Bev Master, office manager with Schubert & Hoey Outdoor Advertising, said the billboard -- which the firm owns -- was rented out by a "group of small business owners and individuals who just felt like Washington was against them."
"They thought it was a funny way to get out their message," she added.
However, Master told FoxNews.com the ad buyers wish to "remain anonymous."
The billboard, which Master said has been up since December, stirred an online frenzy in recent days as it started to attract more attention.
With nobody initially claiming ownership, local newspapers and blogs wondered aloud whether pictures of the billboard were real, who put it there and whether the message was meant as a slap at President Obama's performance to date or a dig at Bush's unpopularity.
Minnesota Public Radio answered the first question on Monday. Reporter Bob Collins wrote that he saw the billboard on I-35 in Wyoming, Minn., last week, and posted a giant picture of it online.
"It's real," he wrote. Wyoming is about 40 miles north of the Twin Cities.
And all indications are the billboard was a slap at Obama.
"My personal feeling is it's probably anti-Obama," Mark Drake, a spokesman for the Minnesota Republican Party, told FoxNews.com. Drake said he first caught word of the mystery-board a couple weeks ago and has "no idea" who designed and paid for it.
Wyoming Mayor Sheldon Anderson said he's gotten lots of "positive" responses about the sign from people in the community, which he said generally leans "right" on political issues.
"I've had people willing to make donations to keep the billboard up longer," Anderson told Fox News. "They're free to send any message they want, and I think it's very creative."
In another sign that the billboard was not intended as an Obama compliment, a company that bills itself as "The Mother of all Anti-Obama Superstores" has started selling bumper stickers featuring the "Miss Me Yet?" caption and the same photo of Bush -- only one showing him facing in a different direction.
A spokesman for the company, Megatudes, told FoxNews.com that the company had nothing to do with the billboard.
No, I do not miss Bush, but he is nowhere as bad as Obama.