Monday, June 30, 2008

Right-to-Carry in National Parks

The NRA-ILA has an article about today (June 30th) being the last day for public comment on the proposed lifting of the ban on carrying firearms in National Parks.

So go here and leave a comment if you so choose.

I did...
Given that the US Supreme Court found just last week that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms-and that the underlying purpose of the enumeration of that right is to preserve the right of self-defense-it seems extremely odd that part of the Executive Branch would deign to infringe that same right in the areas where it may be most immediately needed.

There are few law enforcement personnel on patrol in our National Parks when compared to urban and other built up areas. There is spotty coverage by cellular phone networks in some of the Parks also. In some areas the boundries of the Parks are not well marked and an otherwise law-abiding resident of a state that allows the carriage of a firearm may inadvertantly cross a National Park, thereby running afoul of this regulation. All of these are reasons why US citizens should be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights in our National Parks.

It is time that all of our laws and regulations reflect the common sense principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights--rights, mind you, that Justice Scalia emphasized issue not from the government, but that are intrinsic to every free citizen. To put it another way, we have the right to defend ourselves wherever we may need to and we have the right to bear arms to that end. Granted, schools and government buildings may be off limits (although that may change in time as well), but certainly our National Parks will not be harmed by law-abiding, conscientious citizens going about armed on the chance that they may meet those who would do them harm. Indeed, there is nothing in place right now to prevent the unlawful possession of firearms in the National Parks and woe be the lawful citizen who currently meets an armed offender within the confines of a Park without being equal to the task.

It may help to preserve the peace if the rule is changed to allow carry in a Park, but to prohibit the discharge of a firearm within the Park without such discharge occurring in the earnest attempt to defend oneself or another from attack. That is to say, to discourage target shooting or hunting activities while allowing for the actual self-defense priniciple of the Second Amendment to guide the use of any such allowed firearm.

I have faith that the Secretary will see fit to protect that which an oath was taken to uphold and that whatever changes are wrought, that they shall be done considering the best interests of the American people and their National Parks.