Working Out Details of Guns in Parks

"ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. -- Guns tend to bring out a black-or-white, yes-or-no stridency in American policy debate. Guns are bad. Guns are good. Guns are dangerous. Guns keep you safe.

The National Parks evoke equally deep emotional feelings -- about place. Setting aside specific spots for the celebration of nature, or history, or spirituality, is an old tradition -- as old as the Second Amendment.

Now those emotions are colliding.

A new law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last week will allow guns in the parks and national wildlife refuges. Attached as an amendment to an overhaul of credit card rules, the law will take effect next year. Fine-print rules, allowing both concealed and openly carried weapons, are now being written at the Department of the Interior, which runs the parks system.

How gun owners and weekend warrior hikers can find accommodation on this new trail is only part of the story. Parks officials are also scratching their heads about how the new rules will affect enforcement of laws on things like gun permits, which vary widely and will still hold sway even on federal park lands, and wildlife poaching. Some people believe that the change will be immense, others that it will not be noticeable at all."

Kirk Johnson reports for the New York Times May 26, 2009.


Source: NYTimes, 05/27/2009