Ted Kerasote, author, avid hunter and resident of Grand Teton National Park says the bill will increase poaching.
Ever since Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, was created in 1872, parks and wildlife refuges have been the de facto hunting grounds of armed people tempted by animals who have lost their wariness. Living within Grand Teton National Park, I see this all the time: a deer gunned down by the side of the road, its antlers chopped off; a moose waylaid just inside the park boundary; a coyote shot as it watches a car go by. These killings are perennial, often remove spectacular, genetically fit individuals, and create one more enforcement burden for park rangers.
Allowing visitors to carry loaded firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges, as legislation just passed by Congress does, will only make such poaching worse while making a ranger’s job more risky.
The reason it will make the Park Rangers' job more difficult was well summed up by Paula Dinerstein, senior counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Currently, a ranger can in effect assume that a loaded weapon will be used for poaching and prevent its use, without having to catch someone in the act in a remote place.
John R. Lott Jr., senior research scientist at the University of Maryland and the author of “More Guns, Less Crime” and “The Bias Against Guns,” highlighted the success of concealed carry laws in general and in the State of Florida in particular.
Here is a prediction. Just like the ruckus over passing concealed handgun laws, the fears about guns in national parks will soon be forgotten.
Given the size of the National Parks and the relatively low population density, even in tourist season, this legislation is unlikely to have much impact on crime one way or another. So, Prof. Lott's prediction is probably a good one, at least in part. I'd say concealed carry laws may very well continue to be a topic of discussion long after the National parks issue is forgotten.
What's your opinion? Is this "much ado about nothing?" Why did Sen. Coburn introduce the amendment the way he did, by attaching it to another unrelated piece of legislation? Isn't that the way the Tiarht Amendments were done? Is there some advantage in doing it that way? This method doesn't seem to avoid the spotlight, but does it facilitate passage in some way?
Is this another victory for the gun lobby? Do you think they could be successfully accomplishing exactly what they fear from the anti-gun folks, a gradual and incremental movement towards their ultimate goal? What do you think that goal is?
I'm afraid the overall direction is a deceptively dangerous one for America. Pro gun folks want more guns and less restrictions, on college campuses, in churches, in national parks, everywhere. Often these changes are extremely controversial, actually going against the wishes of those most directly involved, most of the students in colleges, most of the pastors in churches and most of the Park Rangers in national parks. Yet, the gun crowd keeps getting its way.
As the restrictions are lessened, more guns need to be produced. Record sales have been reported over the last year. Huge increased in the total number of guns will inevitably result in proportionally huge increases in gun flow into criminal hands. As this increases, law enforcement won't be able to keep up with the increases in gun violence. That's my prediction.
Professor Lott and his fellow gun lovers always seem to disassociate themselves from the misuse of guns, they are after all, law abiding citizens. Unfortunately, such a disassociation is impossible. As we have seen, almost all guns in America which are in the hands of criminals today started out as legitimately owned firearms. Gun flow is inexorable and whether the pro gun crowd want to admit it or not, they are involved. It all starts with them. It is an unavoidable result of the policies they fight for.
What's your opinion?