Monday, January 2, 2012

Our First Fatalities from Gun Violence after Allowing Gun Carry in National Parks

There is no need, no useful benefit, to having people bringing their firearms into national parks, any more than they belong in libraries, county courthouses, or any other public location, with the exception of firing ranges intended for the use of practicing with firearms.  It is uncivil in concept.

We have our first gun lunatic firearm death of a law enforcement, less than 24 hours into 2012.

Guns kill people; people with guns kill people. They are not spoons or screwdrivers.  They are weapons.

So unnecessary, so damned unnecessary; this is one more person - the shooter - who should never have had a firearm  More children denied a parent, another spouse who has to bury the person they loved.

ALL of it, avoidable; all of it preventable, in so far as firearms are so much more lethal than other possible weapons for those bent on violence.

Mount Rainer National Park Shooting: National Park Service Ranger Shot, Killed

Mount Rainier National Park Shooting
MIKE BAKER   01/ 1/12 09:06 PM ET   AP
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, Wash. — A Mount Rainier National Park ranger was fatally shot following a New Year's Day traffic stop, and the 368-square-mile park in Washington state was closed as dozens of officers searched for the armed gunman over snowy and rugged terrain.
Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said late Sunday afternoon Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24-year-old believed to have military experience and survivalist skills, was a "strong person of interest" in the slaying of Margaret Anderson. Authorities recovered Barnes' vehicle, which had weapons and body armor inside, Troyer said.
Authorities believed the gunman was still in the woods with an assault rifle. They asked people to stay away from the park, and for those already inside to leave.
Troyer said there were about 100 people hunkered down in lodges and cabins on the mountain. They were told to stay put because they could be in the line of fire. Armored vehicles were being brought in to ferry them safely out of the park.
"We do have a very hot and dangerous situation," he said.
At around 10:20 a.m. Sunday, a park service employee had unsuccessfully tried to pull a man over during a routine traffic stop.
Anderson set up a road block with her vehicle in the middle of the road, said park spokeswoman Lee Taylor. The man pulled up to Anderson about 11 a.m., jumped out, fired and ran off, she said.
Troyer said when authorities arrived they were also shot at, but no one else was hit. About 150 officers, including officials from the Washington State Patrol, U.S. Forest Service and FBI, were on the mountain. They had not made contact with the gunman and did not know where he was, Troyer said.
A military-style, armored vehicle was seen as police deployed resources into the evening.
Authorities said earlier that Anderson's body had been removed from the park, but Troyer said police have been unable to get to her because of concern over potentially being in the line of fire.
Park superintendent Randy King said Anderson is a mother of two young daughters who has served as a park ranger for about four years. King said Anderson's husband also was working as a ranger elsewhere in the park at the time of the shooting.
"It's just a huge tragedy – for the family, the park and the park service," he said.
Adam Norton, a neighbor of Anderson's in the small town of Eatonville, Wash., said the ranger's family moved in about a year ago. He said they were not around much, but when they were Norton would see Anderson outside with her girls.
"They just seemed like the perfect family," he said.
The town of about 3,000 residents, which is a logging community overlooking Mount Rainier, is very close knit, he said.
"It's really sad right now," Norton said. "We take care of each other."
It has been legal for people to take loaded firearms into Mount Rainier since 2010, when a controversial federal law went into effect that made possession of firearms in national parks subject to state gun laws.
The shooting occurred on an unseasonably sunny and mild day. The park, which offers miles of wooded trails and spectacular vistas from which to see 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, draws between 1.5 million and 2 million visitors each year.
The Longmire station served as headquarters when the national park was established in 1899. Park headquarters have moved but the site still contains a museum, a hotel, restaurant and gift shop, which are open year-round.
Associated Press writer Donna Gordon Blankinship contributed from Seattle.


  1. Why would a person carry a firearm into a national park? Oh, perhaps for protection against wild animals. How about protection against wild humans who know that law enforcement is far away out in the wilderness? Of course, I'd still like to know if you carried your handgun into a park while you were being stalked.

  2. So what does allowing a concealed handgun license holder to continue carrying a handgun in a national park like they do everywhere else have to do with a criminal killing a cop with an assault rifle?

    So is it really your position that if President Obama had not signed the National Park carry legislation that this would not have happened? Do you really believe that criminals did not commit acts of violence in National Parks before Obama signed the law?

    Next thing you know, this blog will run a story about how doubling CCW permits in one state affected crime in a city in another state. Oh wait....

  3. Why do you think a loose cannon like this who had just shot up a new years eve party, flew through a security checkpoint, and shot the pursuing officer, would give a s*** about a law such as allowing a gun inside a park? Are you that naive? If you can't think of five shootings that have happened in your lifetime in places where guns aren't supposed to be you should just throw your keyboard away for filling the internet with your useless banter. Are you suggesting that prior to the new law passing, that rangers thoroughly searched vehicles for firearms before allowing people to enter a park? Have you ever left your basement? Are you suggesting that this man, if "hypothetically" turned away at this security checkpoint, would have just turned around and turned himself in? Are you a loon?

  4. When something goes wrong with a gun, you cannot work backwards and ask what whould have prevented it. Nothing would ensure that a single particular event would not have happened. What you can ask is would these incidents happen less frequently if we had proper laws in place.

  5. Mikeb302000,

    What proper laws? This isn't a case of a legal and licensed concealed handgun carrier who committed murder. The law in question in this article is the one that allows concealed carry by licensees in national parks, but that's irrelevant to what happened.

  6. GC wrote
    The law in question in this article is the one that allows concealed carry by licensees in national parks

    Actually the new law was about legal OPEN carry, and only incidentally about concealed carry.

    Quoting from the National Parks Guide to Firearm Regulation:

    Congress approved a new law that allows
    possession of loaded firearms in national parks
    starting Feb. 22, 2010. That means people can
    openly carry legal handguns, rifles, shotguns
    and other firearms and concealed guns if allowed
    under state statutes and permits.
    Although this law changes gun regulations in national parks, there are still many important restrictions on the transportation and use of guns
    under state and federal laws:
    • Although it is now legal to carry loaded guns
    in national parks, the new federal law does not change existing laws and regulations that prohibit the use of firearms in national parks.
    Hunting is illegal in most national parks except under special permits. Target practice also is

    I believe it was YOU Greg who made the comment that national parks were GREAT places for target practice?

    You don't know your gun laws nearly as well as you think you do.

    There is a handy little pdf download, i case you ever decide to do your homework before you venture an incorrect and ill informed opinion.

    You have a habit of being chronically factually inaccurate Greg.

  7. Dog Gone,

    Target shooting on Federal land is under review right now, so that's where I mixed those two up. But it isn't a big deal to me, since I have a good range not too far away. The important point in all of this is that the shooter here obviously wasn't worried about obeying laws. Those of us who have carry licenses aren't like him.

  8. Greg, You've been reading here for how long? and you ask what I mean by proper laws?

    Gun control according to my liking would disqualify a lot of folks who now own guns legally and would make it a lot harder for criminals to arm up.

    You always exaggerate what I actually say because the suggestions I make are pretty reasonable and you'd be hard-pressed to argue against them.

  9. Mikeb302000,

    It's that "disqualify a lot of folks" line that smells like last week's fish. You want to deny firearms to many on the basis of the actions of a few. I'm suspicious of your desire, and I don't agree that half of current gun owners are a problem. My claim is that people in general are decent, both in their personal lives and as citizens. I also claim that you can't identify the ones who will go wrong as easily as you think.

  10. You're right, it won't be easy and it might not be quite 50%.