Armed (and dangerous?) in America’s national parks

February 22, 2010

One of the biggest expansions of U.S. gun rights in decades took affect on Monday — and it was signed into law by President Barack Obama, whom many conservative groups claim is plotting to disarm law-abiding Americans.

People can now take firearms into many of America’s national parks, provided they legally possess them under federal laws and laws that apply to the state where the park is located. You can see the National Park Service press release here. The usual prohibitions on hunting or discharging firearms within the parks still apply.


The new “guns in national parks” regulations were signed into law by Obama last May and were part of a new credit card act (yes, American law making is a mysterious thing) that also came into affect on Monday.

What is striking about this state of affairs is that it stands in sharp contrast to the constant mantra in some conservative circles that the Obama administration plans to attack America’s second amendment rights — the right to bear arms — which are regarded as sacred by many and were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008.

As a journalist and gun owner, my e-mail address has found its way to various lists and I get daily e-mail blasts from different groups telling me that Obama plans to take away my gun. 

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is one. Here is an example of one e-blast I got last Thursday:

STOP Obama-Napolitano Gun Harassment
Activate All Gun Owners NOW!

Alert: ABC News is reporting that Obama’s Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the comments and posts of conservative Americans and gun owners on web sites and within social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Obama You Can Keep the “Change” I Support the Second Amendment.
This raises very serious concerns. This is America NOT Iran!

The Department of Homeland Security, led by leftist anti-gun rights Secretary Janet Napolitano, has a history of trying to suppress gun owners and conservative opponents of the President …

This is quite typical. But given the fact that I can now take my 10-guage single-shot shotgun into Yellowstone National Park because of a law Obama signed, does this kind of alarmist commentary stand up to scrutiny. What do you think?

(Photo: Elizabeth Barmanti shoots a toy gun at a target range supplied by the National Rifle Association at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) during their annual meeting in Washington, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

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