Senators push to allow guns in national parks

Almost half the Senate pushes to allow firearms into national parks.

Senators push to allow guns in national parks
BY PETE ZIMOWSY of the Idaho Statesman

Here’s the editorial in the New York Times (registeration required) :

Keeping Guns Out of the Parks

It looks like a political move more than anything ~ or pulling a cartridge out of a weapon is an undue infringement on the principle of it.






  1. Alan Sachanowski Avatar
    Alan Sachanowski

    This is insane. Why do you need a loaded weapon in a National Park? What are you going to shoot? Or who? I can see the headlines now: “PARK VISITOR KILLED IN DISPUTE OVER CAMP SITE”. Our park rangers have enough to worry about. You can already transport a gun through a National Park. It simply has to be un-loaded and cased in a not easily accessible place (trunk, storage area of an RV etc.). No one’s rights are being infringed, except criminals and poachers.
    This would put families, rangers and wildlife at risk.

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    I can think of one valid reason to carry a gun in a park, and that’s to put down a badly injured horse. However, I know that in Yellowstone the regulations already allow horse packers to carry weapons by permit for that purpose.

  3. ghost grizzly Avatar
    ghost grizzly

    Park Visitor Killed in Dispute Over Campsite…Skull Caved in by Baseball Bat!

  4. Cowboy the Cat Avatar

    I really don’t have a problem with this. Although I can think of many many many better things for 48 congressmen to be doing on my dollar.

  5. Ronnie Avatar

    I agree with Cowboy,

    Congress could be doing better things, but if someone is going to do something illegal, I don’t think that being able to legally have a weapon in the park will make a difference.

  6. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    With Bighorn Sheep permits selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars and bear gall bladders bringing big bucks on the black market, being able to carry weapons in National Parks increases the risk of poaching.
    One poacher in British Columbia this year was found to have over 30 bear gall bladders in his freezer.
    I own guns and sometimes have one with me when I go to Yellowstone, but I follow park rules and put it away. I don’t find it terribly inconvenient to comply with the present rules.
    I carry bear spray when photographing anywhere I might encounter grizzlies and feel secure without a gun.
    Ive seen shouting matches between over-controlling wolf watchers and over- zealous photographers, and I don’t want to be dodging bullets if both parties are carrying weapons.

  7. Bill_Kaiser Avatar

    Here’s the problem. Montana has almost no laws for purchasing a gun. No waiting period, nothing, nada. Incompetent? No problem. (thank you NRA)

    Do you really want to be camping next to the tourist who just bought a gun in West Yellowstone this morning? Perhaps you can go over to their campfire as they pass it around and explain what the “safety” is? Maybe you don’t camp. How about dodging the bullet that comes through the cabin wall next door?

    Guns will be the new bear spray if this passes. I’m quite embarrassed that Baucus and Tester are supporting this.

  8. Monte Avatar

    This is a common sense bill that will allow gun owners to defend themselves with firearms against people or animals that intend them harm. It is bunk that more poaching will occur if firearms are permitted in the park. It’s another version of the invalid theory that more guns = more crime, when actually the opposite has proven true. People who don’t intend to poach animals inside a national park will not suddenly do so because they are armed. Montana, by the way, requires the same FBI instant criminal background check that all other states do. Firearms possession and ownership is a right we all enjoy, and that right should not be denied when one enters a national park. I too, often visit Yellowstone with a firearm and store it properly. While it is only a minor inconvenience, I don’t think it should be necessary for law abiding citizens to be required to do so.

  9. Dan Stebbins Avatar

    I agree with the idea that Congress should be doing something worthwhile instead of this. It’s similar to a flag burning amendment for me …it’s a passionate issue for some folks, but does it improve my life? No.

    I would be a little hesitant because of the idea that folks could be carrying while hiking as a personal protection against animals (bear spray is a better option). Granted the vast majority of people carry responsibly, but there are folks that feel like carrying a gun in the backcountry is necessary for their own protection. Honestly those people worry me. If you can’t hike comfortably without a firearm in a place like YNP, then you probably shouldn’t leave the road.

    By the way I had my rifle with me for most of the time I worked in the park. It was stored correctly & people knew I had it. Many park personnel also own guns, so I honestly don’t think it’s a major issue.

  10. Alan Sachanowski Avatar

    That is an excellent point, Bill. Just like (many) hunters outside the park, all of a sudden we are going to start hearing that bear spray isn’t good enough….you need a loaded gun to protect yourself from grizzlies.
    Of course criminals are always going to break the law. Right now they can be arrested for just possessing a loaded gun, they don’t have to shoot someone first. But this is more about the average guy who maybe had one too many beers around the campfire; or, as Larry pointed out above, something that normally would just be a shouting match. I too have seen many of these, especially in a bear jam before the rangers show up. Usually it’s a well meaning regular admonishing a tourist about getting too close.
    It’s a funny thing about (some) people on vacation: they just don’t feel that laws apply to them. They ignore the speed limit, they ignore legal (and safe) wildlife viewing distances, they park in the middle of the road, they hike where they are not supposed to hike, they ignore laws against feeding the wildlife. The last thing we need is to embolden them by allowing them to pack a gun.
    There is nothing that you can legally shoot in most National Parks (except what Robert pointed out above). Not even target shooting. You can pack the gun through, on your way to wherever you are going that you can use it. There is NO REASON to have a loaded and unpacked gun in the park.
    I too am embarrassed and disappointed that Baucus and Tester support this.
    Does anyone want to compare how many people are killed by guns every year as opposed to baseball bats? Plus, if anyone wants to go after a grizzly with a baseball bat let me know. I’d love to photograph it (from 100 yards of course!!)

  11. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    I predict we’ll have a dead kid within a year!

  12. Chuck Avatar

    I’m sorry but I need better reasons then they provide to pack guns in yellowstone. If its protection from the big bad wolf or a grizzly bear, then please give me a break. There are very few people out there that when presented with a charging bear at 10 feet that could hit it. Now give me a can of bear spray and thats a different story. Am sure deep within this story some where there lies the real reason for this.

  13. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    I think Chuck that you hit the nail on the head. . there is another reason for this somewhere. It is a background for something they want to do next. It will be a nightmare for rangers because now they have an excuse for disarming people before things get out of hand. With this new rule they would have to wait for bullets to fly first.

  14. vicki Avatar

    I hate to say it, but this is a huge waste of time. I own many guns, and have had them, broken down and stored as required. But I can honestly say I have nevr had my gun or vehicle checked. So if a poacher wants to use a gun, they could.
    My personal felling is that bear spray is more effective and more likely to keep you alive.Very few people actually have the ability to remain calm enough to shoot straight at a charging animal. Bear spray just requires you to push a button…no scope or sights needed.
    This is a gun control fight, and jst an excuse to bring it to the forefront. It has little to do with conservation.

  15. vicki Avatar

    I meant to say I have had them in YNP

  16. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    Get real, people. Poachers that are breaking the laws in the first place will carry guns illegally, anyway. Law-abiding citizens like myself aren’t going to begin poaching now if able to carry a gun legally in a Park. And if you actually think allowing guns will turn Park campgrounds into the O.K. corral, you are so rabidly anti-gun that a rational debate with you isn’t possible regarding firearms.

    There are valid reasons to carry a legal firearm anywhere in the U.S. in 2008. Assaults, kidnapping, and murder take place in National Parks every year. As crimes in National Parks rise, isn’t self-defense a valid reason?

    If you don’t wish to exercise the right to self-defense for yourself and family, don’t. However, stopping those of that do want to exercise that right is not the right thing.

  17. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I had the entire Hayden Wolf Pack run toward and past me this fall, at a distance of about ten feet. I knew they were going to chase a coyote, but someone armed and without any experience with wild animals could have opened up on the wolves.
    Are we going to start shooting elk in Mammoth when they approach or charge cars like they do every fall?
    I agree with Chuck. There is some other reason for this push to allow weapons in our parks.

  18. Cowboy the Cat Avatar

    I thought the advocates of this were talking about protection from other people. I wasn’t talking about openly carrying high-powered rifles. I don’t think that that should be allowed. It makes it too easy to shoot an animal and claim self defense. Also, I agree with other people that this is probably a set up for later moves, as most things with the NRA are.

    Sidearms, I have no problem with.

  19. Monte Avatar

    Smokymtman is right. Everytime some state debates a concealed carry or other defensive firearm law you hear the same people claim that routine disputes will turn into shootouts etc… It has never happened. Both Idaho and Montana have such laws and you don’t see it happening there. I agree about the greater effectiveness of bear spray by the way as it applies to bear encounters.

  20. Chuck Avatar

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for gun ownership, I own guns and am a big game hunter. But this just causes me to wonder what their real motives are???? I ran into one photographer who admitted he packed a pistol in the park for protection against the animals. I have been camped out in locations here in Idaho where people had guns int he camp grounds and were discharging them all night long….was no fun. Of course there were also letting their dogs run at large. Your going to find idiots everywhere.

  21. Mike Avatar

    I’m totally against this idea. People get plain stupid with guns in open country. That might not be too troublesome for seldom visited national forest and BLM land, but in highly populated national parks IMHO it’s trouble for people and animals(which are also used to people).

  22. Jay Avatar

    I can see it now: a nervous camper(s) armed with their .44 mag that hears a sound outside their tent in the middle of the night and knows its a bear, and unloads a few round into the “bear”. The bullets fly past the skunk or coyote and into the tent of the family in the next camp site, killing a few folks. Or how ’bout the inexperienced hiker that decides that grizzly bear that’s looking at him/her over there 100 feet or so away has bad intentions, and blasts away because an attack is “imminent”. Only the bear gets gut-shot, runs off injured, and goes on rampage in a campground. I’ll bet $500 to any of you that are for this that one of these types of scenarios happens looooooooooonnnng before anybody actually, legitimately defends their safety with the use of a gun.

  23. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    Jay, you can’t be serious?

    You actually think allowing American citizens to carry firearms in National Parks will lead to the scenarios you describe? That campers will discharge firearms in a public campground, next to other campers, against a target they don’t see, for such a weak reason as them hearing a sound that ‘could’ be a bear?

    Some of these posts are simply the same irrational propaganda anti-gun zealots use whenever the gun debate pops up. They are very extreme examples, lacking logic or any basis in reality.

    I am with Monte on this one; these absurd claims commonly pop up whenever gun control is discussed, but are NEVER realized.

    Cowboy, I also support only sidearms. I cannot imagine a justification for high-powered rifles.

  24. Jay Avatar

    Smoky, are you freaking serious? This crap happens daily! You really have that much faith in the general public to cram 2 million-plus visitors into a dozen or so campgrounds over the course of the summer, as many of them armed that want to be, and find this kind of thing unheard of? I’m honestly flabergasted…for cripes sakes, how many people kill themselves just cleaning their “unloaded” gun? And this happens to supposedly experienced gun owners! And you’re ok with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and kids out from Yonkers, New York, camping for the first time in grizzly country and nervous as hell about it, and sleeping with six-shooter under their pillow? You truly can’t be that naive, are you?

  25. Jay Avatar

    Looks like we have a bet Smoky.

  26. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    Where I live people go into the National Forest with guns all the time . . whether they are allowed or not. The result is shot up signs, shot up junk left on the ground, shots coming up the trail when you least expect them, shots scaring away wildlife when you are trying to watch something, shot up tires, and although I haven’t seen anyone shot yet, it has been close, real close. Guns are just another toy to some and they can’t resist squeezing off a shot or two at whatever moves. You have to be a good tracker here to know where you can go and get some peace and quiet. Hunting season is actually a little saner at times because most of the guys don’t want to scare the game and they at least wear orange. People doing dangerous “sound shots” are everywhere in the summer camping season. I have seen dead shot frogs, dead shot racoons, dead shot up squirrels and even a dead chicken from “target practice” Pepper spray makes a lot less noise and leaves a lot less ruined stuff around.

  27. JB Avatar

    Cowboy says: “I really don’t have a problem with this. Although I can think of many many many better things for 48 congressmen to be doing on my dollar.”

    You took the words right out of my mouth. Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, a floundering economy, health care, social security…need I go on? There are plenty of things that need fixing in this country–guns in parks ain’t one of them. This bullshit debate is done at our expense for their political gain.

  28. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    That bet is as good as won for me. I mean, I still insist that there is no realistic chance anyone can actually believe the campgrounds will turn into shooting ranges.

    Why aren’t the National Forest campgrounds full of dead campers, then? Why don’t hunting camps have a high incidence of shooting accidents if they are as inevitable as you say?

    Campers feel secure in Park campgrounds because of the relatively strong presence of Federal Rangers present. Why would that change to the point campers will blast at anything that moves in the dark outside their tent?

    Good grief, Jay, you sound like having a firearm nearby turns you into a wild, homicidal, irresponsible maniac that will shoot at anything that moves in the campground!

    The American public may not consist entirely of all certified geniuses, but they aren’t as crazy or as reckless as you accuse them of being.

    If they were, today’s society would resemble something out of that Mel Gibson film “The Road Warrior”!!

  29. Jay Avatar

    I’ll expect my check in the mail as soon as the Park allows this to happen. Here’s little factoid for you Smoky: the CDC published accidental gun death statistics for the U.S., and there’s an average of .26 deaths per 100,000 people (avereged from ’99-’04; 760 accidental deaths each year). At this rate, with roughly 3 million visitors, the expected gun death for purely accidental reasons in the park would be about 8 per year–divide it by 1/3 or so to adjust for the fact that most of the visitation occurs in the summer. How many accidental gun deaths have there been in the park Smoky? A big fat zero. I’ll tell you another little story. I went down to sight my rifle in before elk season, and had shot off three rounds. At the time, there were 3 other parties at the range–2 older gentlemen directly on either side of me, and then a couple younger guys on the far end (maybe 6-7 benches down from me, or 75′ or so). I signaled I needed to go down range to the two older guys, who signaled ok, but the other two guys at the end were behind their vehicle messing with their gun. With no one lined up, I walked down range to check my shots. I’d gotten 100′ or so down range, and through my earplugs I heard some shouting. I turned around to see what was going on, and saw that one of the guys next to me was yelling at the two guys at the end, and I just glanced over to see the other guy pulling his rifle down from the firing position. Apparently he felt I was far enough away that there wasn’t anything wrong with taking his shot. Your gun-safety, conscientious gun owner in all his glory.

  30. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I have CWP and own lots of guns, but Yellowstone draws 3 million visitors a year and the way they act around bears and other animals, I don’t want them all armed.
    You can bring a weapon to Yellowstone today, but it has to be unloaded and stored in the trunk or in your camper. You have plenty of time to get it out if there is a real emergency.
    This isn’t about gun control, it’s about common sense.

  31. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I am somewhat on the fence here. Several years ago I worked at a company where another guy had shot and killed a person in a FS campground. It was ruled self defense. On the other hand where you have the amount of people that is in Yellowstone, or Glacier, or Yosemite, or Grand Canyon, or…………. I find it difficult to believe that there will not be gun related incidents due to any number of causes. It should not be a knee jerk decision. I do wonder what the driving force behind this is though???

  32. Alan Sachanowski Avatar
    Alan Sachanowski

    I just have to wonder how the millions of Americans who have never owned a gun have survived. How have I survived hiking and packing hundreds of miles on trail and off, in parks and forests and deserts. Camping in tents, in my car and camper and just under the stars….never once “packing”?
    Compare the number of murders, rapes, aggravated assaults etc. in Yellowstone last year to any city of 3.5 million (number of visitors). No one is suggesting that the campgrounds are going to turn into the “OK coral”, simply that the chances of an incident happening would increase. Especially with so many children running around National Park campgrounds.
    Most campgrounds do NOT have a heavy presence of rangers, only a campground host who is often a senior citizen. Hunters shoot each other all the time. What about that guy in Paradise Valley who shot his outfitter because he “mistook him for wolves coming to get him”? That was a hunter! I can just imagine the guy from Yonkers Jay is talking about.
    Even if this passes, I doubt that it will be legal to “fire” a gun in a park, so what’s the point? Self defense? Doesn’t fly. First, National Parks have never been hotbeds of crime. Probably the number one crime is cars being broken into, and a gun isn’t going to stop that. In fact, a gun left in the vehicle might be stolen. Second, in the event of an assault etc. I can guarantee you that bear spray will stop a two legged predator even faster than a four legged one.
    I’m not anti-gun. There is a place for them (defending one’s home for example, or hunting). A National Park isn’t it.

  33. Jim Rosenberg Avatar
    Jim Rosenberg

    Can’t we keep some place in this country where we can go and not have to worry about getting hit by a stray bullet?

    The biggest problem with guns is that they go off!!

    Self Defense?……
    Years ago “Archie Bunker” had a theory to stop plane hijackings – “just give everyone on the plane a gun. That will solve the problem.” … Just like it stops crime, murders and accidental shootings in our major cities and elsewhere -right!… How about Martin Luther King, The Kennedys, John Lennon and many others who were shot by idiots with guns. If they had a gun on their side – do you think the people woudn’t have shot them?… Ah, ignorance!!

    Guns don’t kill people – People with guns kill people!!
    Anyone with a gun is a potential killer – on purpose or by accident – so, stay the hell away from me in my National Park!!! All guns should be banned from entering all National Parks whether they are dismantled or not!!

  34. JB Avatar

    Not all National Parks are created equally. Given the number of visitors (and knuckleheads), in parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, these places should stick firmly with the current policy–if not an all out ban. However, if I were in Lake Clark National Park (in Alaska), I imagine I wouldn’t mind having a firearm. The park is extremely remote (access only by boat or plane), gets very few visitors, and is full of Alaskan brown bears (I counted 15 in a large field at one time). I can also imagine that carrying a gun in Yellowstone in the winter wouldn’t be a big problem (no crowds), though I can’t imagine why you would need one?

    The problem with “common sense” is that its situation specific–allowing guns in every park during every season is not common sense, but neither is banning all guns from all parks everywhere. The current policy actually seems quite a reasonable compromise to me.

  35. Jeff Avatar

    Why is it that thousands of recreationalists camp, hunt, fish, and hike on Forest Service and BLM lands without incident, yet many of you believe if the same people are on Park Service land all of sudden they will inevitalbly shoot someone accidnetally or intentionally? How frequent do these possibilities play out on the other millions of acres of public land? Why should the NPS policy be any different? I hunt, carry pepper spray, don’t own a usable pistol, but if I want to carry one in the Bridger Teton National Forest it is perfectly legal, what’s the difference being in Yellowstone or Grand Teton? If all of you anti-gun folks logic holds true there isn’t any gun crime in Chicago or D.C. where hand guns are banned…Needless to say I think all of the sky is falling comments are not based in reality. I’ve rafted, camped, hiked, and hunted on all sorts of public lands for years and miraculously I’m still alive. I’m not even one who carries a gun, besides my rifle during elk season, but I don’t think this policy would effect hardly anyone and those it might effect it could be for the better…

  36. JB Avatar

    Jeff: I agree. I don’t have a problem with the policy either way, guns, no guns, or the current situation (which seems reasonable). The sky–at least with respect to this issue–is not falling. But that isn’t the point. The point is, given all of the problems (multi-front wars, economy, housing, health care, etc.), why in the world are our over-paid representatives working on this particular issue? Forty-two million Americans still don’t have health care, but by God, we got guns in our National Parks! Great. Job well done. That’s why we elected you. This debate is an utter waste of their time and our money. In fact, its a waste of my time, which is why I’ll not say another word on the subject!

  37. Monte Avatar

    Boy oh Boy. Jay, I’ll take some of that bet with Smoky. You are just flat wrong. Jim, I’m a gun toting NRA endowment member and Yellowstone is mine as much as it is yours. I love Yellowstone and refuse to believe that it is the sole possession of people such as you. Your position on firearms and the park is as arrogant as it is wrong. See you on the trail. Don’t worry, I’ll share.

  38. Mike Avatar

    Jeff says:

    “Why is it that thousands of recreationalists camp, hunt, fish, and hike on Forest Service and BLM lands without incident, yet many of you believe if the same people are on Park Service land all of sudden they will inevitalbly shoot someone accidnetally or intentionally? ”

    Are you actually comparing a NF campground with the millions of visitors that a place like Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite get?

  39. Cowboy the Cat Avatar

    As an earlier commenter said I think the knee jerk reaction here is paranoia and dead wrong. I hold some odd views, I guess, as I vehemently disagee with right wingers on almost everything, but when it comes to guns, I usually agree. Seriously, if someone were to murder someone in Yellowstone, there would be an investigation as there is anywhere. You know your license plates are photographed or written down in many different places in the park right? You can’t just anonymously walk in, murder someone, and walk out. And if you want to shoot a wolf or a bear or a buffalo or an elk with a pistol, you’ll get just what you deserve from them, likely. I think they call that the Darwin effect.

    All in all, I think there is too much attention paid to this subject on both sides. Honestly, I think having a gun packed away should be plenty for a gun owner. It takes no more than 30 seconds to get it out and loaded if you pack it right, but I also am tired of my every move being regulated by the federal government. regulate those bastards putting up wells on my land and leave me the hell alone.

  40. Jim Rosenberg Avatar
    Jim Rosenberg

    Monte, I just meant “my” National Park as in I am a taxpayer and I am part of the “ours” as in OUR NPs – we need a place where people can go without worrying about a piece of hot lead whizzing by one’s head! I’ll share, too. But I don’t want to risk my life when I go there because of a bunch of fools with guns!

  41. Concerned Avatar

    Bill Kaiser said “Montana has no checks, nada”

    Well I beg to differ, I have to go through a full background check that is run by the Feds every single time I purchase a firearm, it is the same check that every other state has, if I check out ok, then I can walk out with a gun, if they flag something, then I can’t and they run a more stringent background check.

    No, you are correct, we don’t have a waiting period..

    Now, that said, I have been visiting the park for years, and have never felt the need to carry within the park, and even if passed, I will not and I do have a concealed carry permit.

  42. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I own several guns and have had a hunting license since 1953. Most of my guns are those I accumulated as a hunter since I was twelve. I support hunting and the right to carry, but National Parks are not the place to carry loaded weapons.
    Are we going to let wildlife photographers carry pistol grip twelve gauges or have a backup carrying a high powered rifle? I’ve met a few of them that are a few cards short of a full deck. Show me photographers carrying twelve gauges or a .357 and I’ll show you some of them trying to get photos of the underside of a bear’s chin.
    Today, displaying a loaded rifle in our parks will get you arrested. It makes it harder to poach. If everyone is allowed to carry weapons, the poachers will just blend in with rest.
    Allowing weapons in our parks will result in finding dead bighorns and other trophy animals minus their heads and dead bears minus their gall bladders. The present rules don’t prevent poaching, but at least they slow it down.

  43. Jeff Avatar

    Mike, Yes I am comparing NPS campgrounds with other public land campgrounds. Many Forest Service campgrounds near metropolitan areas in the West (and the East and South for that matter) are just as crowded if not more so than many NPS campgrounds. Likewise there are many NPS administered campgrounds (including monuments) that are extremely remote. Afterall there are campgrounds besides Colter Bay and Old Faithful that this policy would apply to.
    JB-I agree, again I don’t even carry a gun, and being in agreement with Idaho’s Senators is something that makes me real nervous and yes there certainly are other more important issues for them to address, but there is something to say about keeping gun policies consistent. I see no one touched the handgun ban in Chicago or D.C. Whether one likes it or not, guns are part of America, when you ban them you can safely count on only those bent on doing bad are carrying them. Does this not put others at risk?

  44. kim kaiser Avatar

    heres an article from my home newspaper, so much for the need to protect ones family from intruders!!!!
    ,bet this man wishes he didnt have a gun!!!!oh yeah, there will be some that say well what if it was a burglar, he would have had him, guess what, fact its, it wasnt, and this man will live his life know ing he shot his wife to death,,is it really worth it, really,,,just to have the right to,

    ,,the signes will be shot with bullit holes, and as some one else said, some one will hear shuffling outside his tent and some one will get killed, its inevitable, in the backcountry along the park borders, bull elk are hunted and poached and having a weapon will only embolden the ones already doing it, and may give the impetus for the one thinking about it,, It always seems interesting to me, that the ones that say, oh, they would never poach or have an accident or what ever, seem to want to disregard the fact that there are a LOT of people who do, poach, shoot signs at night, and because they dont or say they dont, think then its ok to let anyone carry loaded weapons in the park, are you balls that small that you can t go into a couple parts of land in our country and not have your crutch of manliness with you,, and with limited park personel to patrol, a couple of beers and a wolf or bear in the road an night, yahoos are not going to get nuts big enough to shoot a bear or a wolf just out of meaness,, if you dont, you are simple ignoring human nature, and being foolish and nieve, it happens on private land, wild life refuges where hunting is legal in some places and times of the year. the signs are shot up, poaching and over limits are taken,,, why is it so important to carry your crutch in a park,,, fact is, it takes no more time to fill your ice chest, ckeck your supplies, at the store before you go into a park for a week than it does to break down your little weapon and put it up, hardly a hassle for a day ride or a weekend,,

  45. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I just returned from a gun show in Boise ,Idaho

    The sign at the entrance: NO LOADED WEAPONS ALLOWED!

    The organizers of the gun show think it is too dangerous to allow loaded weapons at their show. Isn’t that violating everyone’s rights? The NRA had a booth there. I didn’t see them protesting.
    I stopped at the local BLM office to buy some maps yesterday. The sign said “No Weapons Allowed-Including Knives of any Kind”. Senator Crapo is asking Secretary Kempthorne to allow guns in National Parks, but Kempthorne’s Boise BLM office doesn’t allow guns or knives?
    The Gods must be Crazy.

  46. Lynn Avatar

    Having been practically raised in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons by incredibly “green” parents for the day (50’s & 60’s) and a host of park ranger friends, I can see not one reason to carry a gun in a National Park. These are the last places in our world that allow us the comfort of peace and wonder. But, I also am one of the lucky ones that explore the 95% of these parks that most of the folks do not see. I almost want to laugh (when I am not sick to my stomach about this) when I think of entrances with the TSA staff……please not in MY PARKS!!!!!!!

  47. nellie of oklahoma Avatar
    nellie of oklahoma

    Wake up America!!!!! Under no circumstances do guns belong in our national parks. This is where we take our children to see what is left of God’s creation. Will we destroy everything that is sacred and free!!! We should not have to worry about someone pulling out a gun in front of our children, if a bear is getting too close, or a wolf might pass in front of you on the road. I think some people will just get too trigger happy!!!! Let’s keep our parks wild with no guns present!!!!

  48. Bill_Kaiser Avatar

    Just to be clear. I am fine with the rules for Yellowstone staying the way they are.

    As for background checks, phooey. I was at a gun show in Helena, Montana last year and my friend bought a “Saturday night special”, no questions asked, cash on the barrel head.

    I am questioning the wisdom of telling the average tourist, who has never handled a gun, it is a good idea to walk around with a loaded gun.

    Check out this picture link.
    Which one of these tourist would you want as your “backup”?

  49. Cowboy the Cat Avatar

    There’s too much fear mongering on both sides of this issue… On one hand every yahoo is packing like dirty harry, and will accidentally shoot you or himself, and on the other you need “protection” from all the thugs running around Yellowstone… I have to bow out. The rules are fine the way they are, and I won’t lose much sleep if they change.

  50. Concerned Avatar

    You can buy a gun in just about any state, at a gun show without any questions asked, so that is not just a Montana problem…

    As I said, I do have a concealed carry permit, but still won’t carry in the national parks..

  51. Jay Avatar

    As far as the bet goes, you’re on: someone will be shot accidentally before anybody defends their life and liberty form the hordes of murderous thieves and marauding, vicious grizzly bears. I have no problem with gun ownership, but YNP isn’t an appropriate place for them.

  52. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    Bill Kaiser .. nice picture. It looks to me like a young black bear who has discovered that he can walk towards people and make them scatter. . what fun for a bear who is just at the age of trying discover how much personal power he or she has.

  53. kt Avatar

    Notice how Mike Crapo is being Larry Craig for all things related to gun nuttery these days? These guys are such a disgrace. All the problems we face now – and the Idaho Boys go for air time on the most idiotic proposal anyone could gin up.

    I think it is part of an incremental effort to allow hunting in parks. Next step: Issuing off a Trophy Bear Hunt to pay for Park Upkeep. Just watch …

  54. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    I think the word is PRIVITIZATION. Cut funding to the bone, allow guns in the parks and make the Park Service look like they can’t handle the job of running the parks. Then turn park operations over to Disney or some other large corporation.(Blackwater Security?)
    They have been doing the same thing to our public schools.
    The right wing press would have you believe that every teacher is incompetent and that public schools should be turned over to a for-profit corporation.

    Forest service and Park Service campgrounds, prisons and our military are all being turned over to companies like Haliburton or Blackwater. They in turn contribute(or kick back) to Craig and Crapo and others like them.

  55. JB Avatar

    “The right wing press would have you believe that every teacher is incompetent and that public schools should be turned over to a for-profit corporation.”

    Don’t even get me started. The way the right has manipulated the education “issue” absolutely sickens me. I’ll never forget watching some Republican senator run off at the mouth about how we need more accountability for teachers who were the true cause of the failing system. At that same time, teachers in public schools in California had to find apartments together because they could not afford to rent on their own on a teacher’s salary.

    Most teachers I’ve met teach because they love the job, but when they aren’t even paid a living wage…well, smart people get out.

  56. vicki Avatar

    Maybe we should remember that there are many countris whre people don’t have the right to free militia, or bear arms…Iraq, Bosnia, etc. It doesn’t keep fanatics from getting them. It won’t keep criminals out of national parks, or from having guns in them, if we say no way- no how.
    As far as the articles go, bad things happen under the best of circumstances… to the most well intentioned people. Perhaps having guns isn’t the problem, and maybe not enough rangers to police the behvior of those who break laws is the problem?
    This is not about what is right for our Nat’l Parks. This is a debate brought about to bring gun control into the political mumbo jumbo going on right now. This is just a PR stunt.
    Why, I wonder, did this even get brought up? Why now? Who actually said, “hey Mr. Legislator… the other day I was in YNP and was charged by a buffalo, if I’d only had a gun I could have spared myself this gaping hole in my chest. Do you think we could change that rule about guns in the parks?” Come on people, unless you are Billy The Kid, your chances of pulling a gun out of proper storage by park standards, then putting the rounds in, and successfully firing at any animal you’re on a collision course with, before being eaten or trampled to death…zilch.
    Your chances of killing a 500 pound bear, or 2000 pound bison while they are charging you, by firing a gun, I’d guess still pretty slim.
    I read a lot about women being raped and killed while hiking or jogging, or camping. National Parks aren’t that safe, because of criminals, not because of the animals.
    So, if you carry a gun to defend yourself against an animal, you won’t likely need it. If you carry one to defend yourself against humns, well…In order to protect yourself you must be willing to kill anyone who is intending you harm. If you aren’t ready to snuff thelife out of anyone who would do tat, don’t carry a gun. Don’t own one, don’t! If you hesiate to pull the trigger, a criminal can and will take that gun away from you and shoot your a@! with it. They can’t shoot you with pepper spray. Your chances of defending yourself against more than one person or animal at a time with ppper spray are much better too.
    I have guns, I shoot guns… but I still prefer bear spray for personal safety.

  57. vicki Avatar

    Teachers should be treated as well as royalty, they are the architects of the future. The are sadly under- paid, under- appreciated, and as much of a hero as any policeman or soldier.

  58. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Vicki you’re right.

    The guns in the national parks thing, is obviously an election year gimmick, an attempt to change the subject from the economy, war, lack of health insurance

  59. vicki Avatar

    Sadly, they didn’t need a gimmick. Election years place focus on what sells, and manure is a huge market. I wish more people could see the logic in voting for something, instead of against someONE.
    I work in the health care. In fact, I manage a clinic. The amount of peple who walk through life with their eyes closed is phenominal. I see parents in denial, not wanting teir daughters to have shots or contraception because that “might make them think having sex is okay.” If they ask about it, they are already doing it, or will be soon. So let’s let them get pregnant, or worse, get AIDS.
    If the CEO of United Health Care donated his excessive 90+million dollar bonus to health care, every child in America could have routine immunizations. But I am sure when he sees his check, that isn’t what he plans to use it on.
    We are plummiting into a recession, no one has job stability. But people still buy houses that they can’t afford, instead of a home that they could find comfort in and still pay for.
    We need to create jobs in “Green Industry.” Oil is beginning to fade into history. Maybe we could afford insurance if we stopped paying so much for gas! Maybe fewer people would suffer from asthma if we didn’t have huge brown clouds to breathe through!
    People are asking for change, yet they don’t change themselves. We need to learn to accept that we can’t make everyone see things our way, and perhaps learn to meet half way. If we just did that, America wouldn’t be so despised abroad.
    Maybe we should all be writing our congressman about increasing spending on environmental issues, and less on lobbying and legislating for this pointless change.
    Sorry for being all preachy, but it never ceases to amaze me how we fight so hard for the little things, and fail to make the big fights count.

  60. Layton Avatar

    Just two questions:

    Do you folks REALLY think that folks that normally “carry” are NOT doing it in National Parks today??

    Do you REALLY think that – because it would now be legal – it will cause a majority of visitors to the parks to START carrying??

    Seems to me that a little bit of common sense should apply here.


  61. vicki Avatar

    I know I don’t think it would change the number of people carrying a weapon.
    I also know it is legal to have a gun in the park now, just not to have it fireable, ammunition needs stored seperately…and I believe it is supposed to be disassembled.
    Poeple who don’t have a gun, and are visiting YNP, aren’t likely to go buy a gun just for that trip..
    It is just political posturing, we shouldn’t get too upset about this either way, pro and con, it is just maneuvering and will have little or no effect on the current state of the parks.

  62. Linda Hunter Avatar
    Linda Hunter

    Vickie are you sure that people who don’t have a gun now are not likely to go buy one just for that trip . . that what scares me not the people who carry already, but the father who thinks that to protect his family from other campers or animals he should go out and get his first gun of his life. My friends who carry guns regularly are on the whole trustworthy, cool heads who know what they are doing. I don’t mind being around them and their guns at all even though I prefer tracking and pepper spray. I believe that the current law wouldn’t hurt their gun effectiveness. It’s just that a change like that brings out some foolishness. Unfortunately there are people in the United States who no longer really think for themselves as TV has done the thinking for them for a long time. . they have what I call “common conciousness” . .in other words their opinions and reasoniing has been formed by the same newscasters and programs and hence they all have a tendancy to have the same opinion, which they accepted on face value. They never question much. At the same time there are growing numbers of Americans who have rejected the media making their decisions and are thinking active people who are interesting and fun to be around. Those are the people on this forum, for instance. The two groups have grown far apart, hence the emotional debates regarding animals you read on other blogs. Generalizations like that are always somewhat wrong, but I can’t help but observe this one. In particular it is obvious in an election year.

  63. vicki Avatar

    Hi Linda,
    There will always be that person who is the exception to the rule. I will definitely conceed that. I would think that there should come some education mandated to carry a gun in the parks, and perhaps a requirement to carry bear spray.
    I still seriously doubt that there will be a huge number of people who flock to stores to buy a gun to go camping in natn’l parks though.
    I tend to agree with you on most things, and you seem to have knowledge and guenuine concern… I admire that.
    However, I still doubt there will be any major signifigance to this particular issue.
    I also think that the vast majority (I could be wrong) of people who visit natn’l parks are middle income type people. Since it’s going to cost them four dollars a gallon for gas soon, maybe they won’t have the funds to go buy guns. Pepper spray is far cheaper.
    One can only hope that common sense prevails. I just believe that people who already have guns in their possesion will be the most common group to take one into a natn’l park. Those who aren’t comfortable enough to already own a gun will doubtfully be comfortable buying one just for a trip once a summer to a natn’l park.
    Again, there may easily be exceptions. I hope not. But there are exceptions to every rule. If I thought even 10% of people visiting the park would run out and buy a gun just for that reason, I would worry. But I just see that as extremely unlikely.
    They can already take bear spray, but I rarely see anyone with it. They can already take guns in,and I don’t see the crime rate soaring in the park. This would just allow folks who have a gun, to have it on their person. Many people take guns in, and no problems arise. Those people could just as easily conceal it in their person now. I take mine, and I have never been asked to show it to rangers. In fact, I go to YNP regularly and have only been asked once in the last 11 years if I have one with me.
    At this point, I don’t see this as a major issue. So, I will invest my political attention into larger issues…healthcare, war, environment, economy.

  64. jimbob Avatar

    I am a gun owner and have a concealed weapon permit. I do not want or need to carry a gun in a National Park and there is no good reason to. The main reason I have to carry a weapon in many cases is to be armed where other people are carrying weapons. I do not want or need a weapon as protection from animals. I do not want to share space with any gun-toting nuts in Yellowstone or any other place where they are banned. It is nice to be able to go there, especially with my family without the fear of weapons-toting goofballs. Watch the number of goofballs in Yellowstone sometime that don’t follow safety rules. Think about those people carrying weapons!

  65. AllAmerican Avatar

    Wake up ! If you are a Legal gun carry permit holder you should have the right to carry in YOUR national forset. If you think You are safe in the Parks becase its illegal to have a gun in the park you are WRONG and not living in reality. If you think just because a sign reads” no guns allowed” that criminals are going to say “ohh no, I better not take my wepon in there,I’ll just use a knife or a screw driver or this box cutter” and your all safe with your family in the park? NO your an IDIOT ! signs do not stop criminals. so for the people who do want to protect their family and are trained to carry and are responsible good. If you think the police are going to pop out of the bushes and save you from harm out there in the park your dead wrong. learn to protect your self and family, your better off.


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Brian Ertz